Tamara was given a bag of Tanzanian Peaberry coffee for Christmas and we recently discovered it was ground coffee, not beans.
Whole beans have longer storage time than ground. I've been working through some excellent Jamaican Blue Mountain (thanks, Dave!), grinding the beans as needed. We shelved that for later and started in on the Tanzanian before it went stale. That meant a rare opportunity to compare the two.
Tanzanian Peaberry holds its own. While it doesn't have the tastes-just-like-it-smells characteristic of the Jamaican, it is very good, with a nice flavor and a smoothness that makes it eminently drinkable. A fresh pot vanishes with astonishing speed!
"Peaberries" grow as single, roughly spherical seeds in the coffee cherry; most coffee beans grow as doubles, producing the familiar flat side/round side shape. Peaberries are sorted by hand, and between the extra care in sorting and the round shape (said to aid in roasting), peaberry coffee and regular coffee from the same variety taste different, with peaberry generally ranked better.
There are at least two different kinds of coffee grown in Tanzania -- one of them, Gesha or Geisha,* is an Ethopian c. arabica variety† currently among the most expensive coffees in the world. I'm not sure how widely available it is. The other, what we're drinking, is a disease-resistant c. arabica of somewhat uncertain pedigree, either a straight-up typica or French Mission. It's also considerably less expensive than Gesha; you can find it at pretty much average good-coffee prices and you'll be glad you did.
* Named for a town in Ethiopia, misnamed for a Japanese professional companion. Y'know, looking at history, Ethiopians have every right to be among the most seriously peeved people in the world. They never seem to get a fair shake, right down to things as simple as the names of coffees.
† As a general rule, you can't go wrong with Ethiopian coffees. Sidamo and Yirgacheffe are dependably good. I don't think I have tasted Harar but it gets good reviews.
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