What is a peaberry?
A peaberry is not a type of coffee. It is a natural occurrence in somewhat less than 5% of the coffee cherries. Normally coffee beans grow two to a fruit, flat against each other like halves of a peanut. In a peaberry cherry, there’s only one bean and it’s shaped like a pea. Many believe they have a more intense flavor than a normal coffee cherry. One of leading beliefs of why they have more flavor is that being only one, the plant can focus more energy and that one bean doesn’t have to share.
Because of the reputation of enhanced flavor, the rarity, and the work that goes into hand sorting them, they are harder to find and almost always are sold at a premium.
South/Central American vs African coffee
So many aspects go into what causes a coffee to have its specific aromas, flavors, acidity, etc. For example the soil, altitude, sun/shade, processing, and the roasting profile to name a few. You can generally expect to have similar profiles from coffees from the same region but that is not always the case as two farms in the same geographic area can produce drastically different coffees.
African coffees tend be heavier and often a bit more acidic. Central and south American coffee tend to be lighter and creamier. Both regions are known for chocolatey flavors, while the africans often present in a more floral and citrus, berrry profile.
The roast profile will also impact the final profile of the coffee. Lighter to medium roasts tend bring out more hints of berry or citrus while darker roasts bring out more chocolate hints.
In my experience most people are most familiar with the south and central American flavors. To them that is coffee. When they have something like an Ethiopioan Yirgacheffe for the first time they are in for quite a surprise as their taste buds were not expecting the flavor and aroma to be so different.
Like wine coffee can have so many flavors and aromas and to me that is one of the reasons I love coffee. It’s a never ending exploration!