As the saying goes: you can’t bake a pie with these ‘berries, but you can brew yourself a delicious cup of coffee! If you’ve heard the saying before, perhaps you’re wondering: what are peaberries, and what makes them so special?
A peaberry (also called caracol or snail in Spanish) is a natural mutation of the coffee bean inside its cherry. Normally coffee beans grow two to a fruit, flat against each other like halves of a peanut, but a funny thing happens in about 5% of the world’s coffee, and a bean is born an only child.
And, perhaps just like that only child, the peaberry beans get kind of spoiled by not having to share with anybody else. They tend to be smaller, denser, and, maybe just a little bit cuter than their flat cousins. Fans think they taste noticeably sweeter and more flavourful than standard-issue beans; naysayers insist they can’t tell the difference.
Because there’s no way to tell from looking at the cherry itself whether there’s a single- or double-header inside, these need to be hand-sorted after picking and processing in order to be sold separately. As a result, in many cases the peaberries are sold for roasting right alongside their normal counterparts. Occasionally, growers will hand-select the tiny mutants for special sale, sometimes at a premium-not only because of their taste, but also because of the amount of labour involved, as well as their relative rarity.
Want to try Some?