A peaberry is a coffee berry containing one rounded seed (instead of the usual two hemispherical seeds) caused by non-fertilisation of one ovule or subsequent absorption. These beans are a naturally occurring 'mutation' thought to be caused by stress on the coffee plant. They are a rare occurrence, representing up to 8% of a harvest, and are coveted by devotees for what is said to be a sweeter flavour - Noosa Black's Peaberry roast has been described as having a flavour or 'nose' similar to a chocolate brownie. Any unique flavour noted in peaberry coffee beans is more accurately attributed to the size and density of the single bean and how it reacts to heat when roasting, as opposed to the peaberry bean having inherently unique characteristics.
Peaberry coffee beans (also known as caracol coffee beans or caracolillo coffee beans) are smaller in size than a standard 'flat' bean, so our peaberries are sorted from each harvest and roasted separately to ensure even roasting and consistent flavour. Around eight percent of each harvest at Noosa Black are peaberry beans, and these are sold as our Peaberry roast. We don't know how much of each harvest is peaberry until the parchment beans are hulled and sorted where they are sized by being passed through a series of screens. The occasional peaberry will sneak into some of our other roasts.
There is a lot of debate and soapbox commentary around the subject of peaberry coffee - do they really give a better flavour? We'll leave it up to you to decide. After all, it comes down to your own tastes, and this can vary widely from person to person. Flavour in coffee can also be dramatically altered depending on the coffee making method used; some coffee beans are better suited to certain methods than others. And not everyone has a 'nose' for coffee, so any subtle difference in flavour may go unnoticed.
Our peaberry is a favourite brew on the farm, but we can't drink too much of it or there wouldn't be any left for our customers!