So what is a Pea Berry coffee?
If you look at a regular coffee bean you will find that it has one flat side. A coffee tree produces fruit (called a “cherry”), that normally produces a seed with two parts (beans) with their flat sides facing each other. In a Pea Berry the second “bean” has not been fertilized and so only one side develops. The resulting bean does not have a flat side. It is shaped much like a rugby ball.
Any crop of coffee can have pea shaped berries in it. It does not seem to be the result of a genetic variation in the plant. Some observation would seem to indicate that it may be from damage on the plant during the pollination of the flowers since the pea berries sometimes occur where the flowers may have been susceptible to damage. Perhaps from wind.
As for flavour, the Pea Berry does seem to be different from the regular crop in which it is found. Explanations vary for this. Some say that the shape makes for a more even roast. Some say it is like having the “goodness” of two-beans-in-one. Others say that it has to do with the selection process. Pea Berries make up approximately 2-5% of any crop and must be selected out of that crop by hand. This selection process might “select out” for better quality.
Maybe it is all of the above………you be the judge!
The most commonly available Pea Berry is Tanzanian, but other regions do select out the beans from their regular crops. Hawaii has a number and it will occasionally be available from elsewhere.
Sipping on one at the moment…….Aaah……It is just good tasting!