Coffee Education

Coffee Education: The Peaberry


If there is one thing people desire from their coffee, it’s kick. It seems that the modern coffee drinker has found that in dark roast coffee. Its bold and bitter taste has long held allure for the masses, but despite the demand, specialty coffee producers have been shifting away from this trend. As people’s interest in third wave coffee has risen, more and more is expected of coffee. Coffee enthusiasts are beginning to find that a lighter roast creates a more rich flavor profile while preserving more of coffee’s naturally occurring caffeine content. But what is there on the market for someone who still wants the kick of dark roast without the sacrifice?

Recently, new interest has arisen in a special kind of coffee previously overlooked — the peaberry. Peaberry coffee beans are characterized by a significantly smaller and rounder shape than the typical coffee bean, but this difference in stature has not stopped them from outshining their more conventional friends. This slight variation in shape is caused by a naturally occurring genetic anomaly in the coffee plant. Green coffee beans are harvested from the center of a rich red fruit known as a coffee cherry. Generally, these cherries contain two beans nestled against each causing each bean to have one flat side, but a small number of fruits contain only a single bean. These loner beans grow up with no other bean to push them to a flatter shape or distract them from being their most flavorful selves. During the bean sorting process, peaberries are hand picked for their unique shape and size, then set aside for their own special artisanal coffee destiny. When brewed, peaberries’ solitary growing conditions gives them a noticeably sweeter and bolder taste than their ordinary, codependent counterparts. Besides its taste and appearance, perhaps the most interesting aspect of this bean type is its rarity. Only 5 to 7% of coffee beans are peaberries, and this quirk of nature is yet to be reproduced by man. So peaberry coffee is, and will always be, a specialty coffee in the truest sense.

Try Peaberry for yourself! A renowned roaster in Boston currently carrying a peaberry is Gracenote Coffee, roasting out of Berlin, Massachusetts. Their Kenya Gatuya Peaberry is described on as having a “syrupy body” with tropical fruit notes such as mango, grapefruit, and toasted coconut. Gracenote coffee is one of Boston’s major leaders of third wave coffee, their cafe is known for its very knowledgable baristas, detail oriented brewing standards, and unique and delicious coffee offerings. Get their goods online or at their Boston cafe on 108 Lincoln Street.

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