PB- Peaberry is the result of the coffee cherry producing a single coffee bean instead of the normal two. Under normal conditions, a coffee blossom has two ovules which after fertilization develop into two distinct coffee seeds, or beans, within the cherry. In the case of a peaberry, one of these two beans does not develop and thus the ripe coffee cherry contains only one bean.
Since there is more space within the cherry for the peaberry to grow, it takes on its rounded (or “pea”) shape. In Spanish, it is a caracol. In Portuguese, a peaberry is familiarly called a moka.
While peaberries are technically defects, they are often coveted because of their flavor and because their round shape facilitates movement in the roaster and therefore results in an even roast. In Arabica coffee, peaberries typically account for 10% of total beans, though this varies by coffee variety.
Do They Taste Different?
It is generally accepted that peaberries taste different, though not necessarily better or worse than normal beans. Some argue that since there is only one bean in the cherry, it absorbs more nutrients and is thus more flavourful. The rounded shape of the peaberry does allow for better rolling in the roaster drum and thus a more homogeneous transfer of heat. It is best to separate the peaberries and roast them separately since they roast differently than standard flat beans.