Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tanzanian Peaberry

     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.


Antibubba said...

The African coffees, especially the Ethiopians, are way too intense for me anymore. I think the correct term is "bright", but they scream across my mouth. Central American and Asian coffees are much smoother.

But I'm glad you're enjoying them. It's a great moment when you taste them and realize the range of what coffee-growing regions can produce.

John in Philly said...

I held off commenting for a day, but the pressure became more than I could tolerate.

"Tanzanian Peaberry coffee you say?" "How does it taste?" I said.
"I like it" she said, "Except for the unexpected side effect."
"Side effect?" "What do you mean?" I said.
"After drinking a cup I start doing this weird dance move, I was a bit concerned until I looked it up on the internet at WebCoffeeMD," she said.
"And?" I prompted.
"It was just the Peaberry shuffle." She said.

Roberta X said...

Antibubba: that's interesting. I can drink Tanzanian Peaberry as if it was water. (Then again, I brew coffee weaker than some of the high-end places seem to prefer these days. What I make is like fresh old-fashioned diner coffee.)

John: Gads! --I kinda like that.