A peaberry (or caracol in Spanish) is a type of coffee bean that forms when only one bean develops inside the coffee cherry instead of the usual two. The single seed is round, rather than the usual two, flat-bottom seeds that face each other in a coffee cherry. It is also smaller than regular coffee beans.

two coffee beans, one larger than the other.  the smaller is a peabery.
Size comparison: the peaberry is on the right.

Canterbury Coffee’s Q-Grader and Assistant Roaster Manager Tim Cole says that “while technically a defect, these beans are often sorted out and sold separately”.

Peaberries are thought to have a different flavour profile compared to regular coffee beans, and they are considered to be more complex and intense. The concentration of the flavours and oils in the peaberry is higher, as it does not have to share the space with another bean, resulting in a more consistent flavour.

Peaberries are usually sorted out from the regular coffee beans during the processing, as their smaller size and shape make them difficult to roast evenly with the other beans. They are sold as a separate product, usually at a higher price point than regular coffee beans.

The percentage of peaberries can vary depending on the coffee variety and the growing conditions, but it’s usually around 5% of the total harvest.

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