What Is A Peaberry And Why Is It Rare?

There are many fascinating things ingrained into the world of coffee. Going through each one of them is a journey that could lead one into a rabbit hole of exciting things (and tastes.) One interesting facet of this industry is peaberries.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A PEABERRY?

Peaberry is a naturally occurring mutation of single seeds found within the coffee cherry. Peaberry mutations occur in about 1 in every 25 to 30 cherries harvested. Local farmers refer to them as a "gift from nature" because they account for only about 2 to 5% of the total harvest. There is no way to predict or identify which coffee cherries will produce peaberries, which are only identified and separated when farmers sort their green coffee. 

Normally, a coffee cherry contains two seeds but occasionally, one single seed grows inside these cherries known as a “peaberry.” Due to its superior cup profile, these peaberries are separated from the rest of the lot and sold as a special kind of coffee.

HOW IS IT ANY DIFFERENT FROM A REGULAR COFFEE BEAN?

Peaberry is higher in oil concentration than a normal bean by about 30%. Albeit being smaller in size, this is why the mouthfeel is a lot heavier compared to its regular counterpart. This natural mutation occurs in Arabica and Robusta cultivars and species.

Peaberries, in our experience, yield a higher quality acidity, a more pronounced sweetness, a thicker body, and a more complex flavor profile. This is due to the higher concentration of peaberry pulp and mucilage with higher contents of organic acids and sugars that metabolically affect the coffee as it grows, and these higher levels of compounds also aid these beans during processing to develop more aromatic compounds and a better sensory profile.

Good Cup Coffee Co’s Peaberry Collection

In a limited collection release, we’ve launched a peaberry collection featuring coffee beans by three outstanding Philippine farmers from the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA) in Davao del Sur.  Get to know Marifel dela Cerna, Cherry Cabanday, and Marivic Dubria and their contributions to this special coffee collection:

 

MARIFEL DELA CERNA

The winner of this year's Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC). The peaberry featured in this collection is from the winning lot of the said event. Like the other two featured farmers in the Peaberry Box, Marifel is a member of the BACOFA Cooperative.

 

CHERRY CABANDAY

The 2nd placer of this year’s PCQC. She is also a member of the BACOFA Cooperative. Cherry’s farm is right in front of the BACOFA Coop’s Office. BACOFA Cherry, a lot that Cherry has processed, is featured on our May roster of monthly coffees.

 

A household name in the Philippine coffee industry. She has introduced innovative methods in processing coffee with yeast in BACOFA Marivic and also produced the BACOFA Honey. The different beans featured in the peaberry bag are both from her yeast fermentation and natural lot.

 

While peaberries are inherently more pronounced in flavor than the regular bean, the quality of a coffee still boils down to the production of these lots. Beyond a peaberry’s natural advantage in terms of taste, it is essential to consider the process, the farmers that grew these beans, and its roast profile—only then can a peaberry live up to its hype.

We’ve cupped each batch of coffee featured in this collection and handpicked some of the best-tasting lots from our roster. These peaberry beans produced by dela Cerna, Cabanday, and Dubria not only taste good but are game-changers in the Philippine coffee scene.

 A box of this limited edition peaberry collection is available here.

 


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