Studying coffee’s origin and process is an expansive venture; there are endless things to learn about this magical plant and the intricacies of growing, sourcing, roasting, and brewing its seed to intentionally produce the best elixir imaginable. Our current Roaster's Choice offering, Cosmic Blast Kenya Kirinyaga Peaberry, is an exceptional coffee, sourced from the highlands of Mt. Kenya in Africa, and it is a peaberry coffee bean. Which invites the question- well, what is a peaberry coffee bean??
Inside the fruit of a coffee plant, those bright red coffee cherries, are seeds that are harvested and processed to become the coffee beans that we delight in. In a typical coffee cherry, you could peel away the fleshy sweet cherry to find two seeds with their flat fronts facing inwards, and their round backs facing outwards. These seeds are what is processed and roasted. But occasionally, about 5-10% of the time, one ovule of the cherry fails to pollinate and only one seed develops, resulting in a 'peaberry' or 'caracol' bean (Spanish for snail). Peaberry beans are rounder in shape than typical coffee beans, almost like a little snail.
Peaberries are sorted and separated from the rest of the harvest using a sieve. Size itself is not a predictor of quality, but uniformity in size of beans is critical to success during roasting and a key quality marker during coffee sourcing.
Peaberry coffee generally goes for a higher price, as it is more rare, limited in quantity and because it is commonly believed that peaberry beans have a more concentrated, robust flavor. Some say that since peaberries don't have to share with a sibling seed, they get the full nutrients and sugars from the coffee cherry during development and this results in a more desirable outcome. Whether peaberry coffees are superior in flavor quality to other beans is debatable, but the shape of the bean does roast particularly well because of its roundness.
Our current Roaster's Choice, Cosmic Blast Kenya Kirinyaga Peaberry, is a lovely
example of the best qualities that a peaberry can bring to the cup. It is aromatic &
silky with an electric brightness, featuring flavor notes of graham cracker, pecan and caramel.
This coffee comes from the slopes of Mt. Kenya all the way to us in the North
Cascades, and is invigorating and memorable, just like the Heli-ski run that it’s named after.