What is Peaberry Coffee?

Flat bean versus peaberry bean

Surrounded in mystery, peaberry coffee is one of the most highly debated coffees. Garnering attention worldwide, peaberry coffee is a naturally occurring, coffee phenomenon. Because of this, it's often twice as expensive as your average coffee beans.

But what makes peaberry coffee beans this special? And are they worth the hype? Keep reading to have all of your peaberry coffee questions answered.

What Is Peaberry Coffee?

Called “caracol” for snail in Spanish, peaberry coffee is a natural mutation that occurs inside the coffee cherry. Rather uncommon, this mutation only occurs in 5-10% of the world’s coffee beans.

The rarity of these beans makes them more expensive. If they're actually worth the higher price point is a highly debated topic.

So, what sets peaberry beans apart from other coffee beans? Instead of developing with two halves, they develop into one whole bean. Because of this, they’re generally smaller, denser, and a rounder shape than average coffee beans.

How and why this mutation happens is still a mystery. All we have, currently, are theories. A couple of popular ones involve specific environmental conditions or insufficient pollination. But, so far, no one's been able to replicate the mutation.

It’s important to note that peaberry describes the actual coffee bean itself, not where it’s grown. This mutation can occur anywhere in the world.

Holding coffee cherries

Harvesting Peaberry Coffee Beans

Sorting peaberry coffee beans takes a lot of extra work. From the outside, you can't tell if a coffee cherry is hiding a regular coffee bean or a peaberry.

Once the coffee cherries are harvested and dried, coffee farmers hand sort them. The additional labor required to sort out peaberry coffee beans, along with their scarcity, doubles the price of the beans. But the real question is, are they worth the extra money?

Is Peaberry Coffee Worth The Hype?

People go back and forth about this question, and there’s no easy yes or no. By itself, a peaberry coffee bean isn’t superior to your average coffee bean. Like normal, the growing conditions, altitude, processing method, and variety (i.e. Arabica or Robusta) play a huge role in the flavor and quality of the bean. However, some say that peaberry beans taste sweeter and richer than other coffee beans.

Because peaberry coffee beans are rounder and denser, it can also be harder to get a consistent roast. So it’s a lot harder to dial your roast in. But once you do, many say it’s worth the extra effort.

If you want to try peaberry coffee but aren’t sure if its for you or not, check out our Peaberry green coffee bean sample. You’ll be able to try five different beans from five different growing regions.

Peaberry Flavor Profile

Many believe, because there’s only one coffee bean produced, it gets all the nutrients that would’ve been split between the two coffee beans. They claim this gives the bean a little more caffeine, richer flavors, and a sweeter taste. The jury’s still out on this, so you’ll have to let us know what you think.

Mainly, peaberry coffee beans grab their flavor from their growing region. The altitudes, soil quality, and processing methods affect them just as much as any other varietal.

One type of peaberry coffee you must try is the Tanzania Peaberry. It’s a rare African coffee varietal that has a distinct aroma, fruity flavor, medium acidity, and clean finish. The bean is best known for it’s rich flavors with notes of lemon, peach, and black tea. It’s best as a light roast. You’ll fully enjoy the smooth, full-bodied cup of coffee the Tanzanian peaberry beans make.


Is the peaberry worth it? You’ll have to try it yourself to answer that question. But it’s definitely a fun challenge to tackle when roasting, while bringing something new and interesting to the table.