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The unique nature of peaberries
Peaberries are fascinating. Their name alone is inviting. They are also considered particularly tasty compared to normal coffee beans.
What are peaberries?
Inside a normal coffee fruit are two seeds, with the flat front facing inwards and the round back facing outwards.
Peaberries are created by a natural mutation or defect in the coffee fruit where one bean cannot be pollinated. This creates extra space for the developing single seed. A larger and rounder seed grows in this space. This is a peaberry.
It is estimated that peaberry coffee fruit make up about 5-10% of a harvest.
At harvest, the peaberries are sorted and separated after drying, using a special machine that can sort quickly by weight and size.
Sorting plant in Guaxupé
Should peaberries be considered high quality?
That the berries are interesting cannot be denied. But whether they are superior to normal beans is debatable.
It is believed that the single bean of a peaberry has a better flavour profile because it does not have to divide the nutrients between two separate beans.
It is generally said that peaberries can offer bright acidity, sweetness and concentrated and complex flavours in a cup. Roasters report a higher intensity from peaberries.
Our peaberries are grown under high quality conditions. This results in the overall quality of the crop, not just the peaberries.
The quality of a peaberry is influenced by the same factors as a normal coffee bean, such as variety, processing method and altitude. Guilherme Rosa, our agronomist at Fazenda Ipiranga explains that they need to ensure that their farming methods are of high quality overall - which in turn will result in high quality peaberries. This should be the priority and growers should strive to be consistent throughout the process to ensure this quality.