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The peaberry coffee from Tanzania is well-known in the US, though perhaps partly due to marketing forces here, the corresponding flattened beans are not easy to come by.

Are there other varieties/regional coffees that feature a peaberry collection? I'd be interested in trying some of these, esp. if one can compare the peaberry taste to that of the normal "twin" beans.

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My findings are that it's actually exactly the same. Peaberry beans occur in almost all coffee in some percentage. They aren't grown separate, they are the exact same coffee that's been sorted out of the processed beans so that the lot looks more homogeneous and sells better. I've actually been lucky enough to at one time have peaberry, oversized and "regular" beans all from the same lot. The coffees all tasted exactly the same to me. I have a friend that claimed he tasted some difference in in the larger beans, owing perhaps to not having been roasted as thoroughly.

The beans I had were Sumatran Toba Batak, sold in sorted lots of 17+, peaberry and regular. I am sure that almost any processing station you went to in the world could do such processing if they chose, although it's probably labor intensive and would add some cost to the beans. If Tanzania is doing it regularly, they have probably found it's financially worth it. On occasion when I look closely at the beans I am roasting, I'll usually find a few peaberries in the mix.

  • Thanks, it gives me the idea of going through a new bag and sorting by hand, to see what percentage of peaberries I find. A colleague once told me they suspected the coffee plants in Tanzania had acquired a mutation that made the peaberries more frequent, and hence more practical to sort. – hardmath Jan 30 '15 at 21:35
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This Spanish article explains that the peaberry originates in an irregular development of the 2 halfs of the coffee beans, but may happen more often in some African varieties. This happens in about 2-10% of the coffee beans. They tend to get a more uniform and faster roast than the other beans.

Many growers separate this beans and put them in their own batch, here in Costa Rica for example there are a couple of roasters that market them by the local name "Caracolillo".

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