Coffee origins

In the roaster: Thai Doi Chaang Peaberry

This is an excellent bean from Thailand's Doi Chaang estate (courtesy of Mark Hiriart from Golden Future Trading), a large coffee producer but not one yet known for producing world-class beans. Doi Chaang's farm is more than 50% owned by the growers themselves, including a roasting and packaging plant in Canada. Their Peaberry is their specialty product, and comprises only 5% of their cup.

 Roasted peaberry coffee

Roasted peaberry coffee

What's a peaberry? Good question. A peaberry is simply a coffee bean which is not split in half - each unit is the whole bean rather than the half beans you normally see (see the picture at the top). In practical terms for the brewer this won't affect the flavour of the brew (some argue that they're denser and sweeter, but there are massive variations from farm to farm, crop to crop and so on). Peaberries are a natural mutation that happens in 5% of the coffee, and thus it means they must be hand-sorted, requiring labour which naturally adds to the cost.

The Doi Chaang Peaberry is a certified organic, shade-grown, fresh water-washed and sun-dried coffee. Doi Chaang is a project spearheaded by one person (John M. Darch) who wanted to be part of the transformation of a small village in Northern Thailand by fostering a culture of producing high-end coffee. The farm now processes, roasts and markets the coffee directly (which is how I got hold of this green bean sample) - but you can also buy roast directly from their website.

 Roasted Doi Chang peaberry

Roasted Doi Chang peaberry

The flavour is rated very high - consistently above 90 in tasting tests. Its flavour is very gentle, aromatic and floral, with notes of citrus and nuts (not unlike a Yirgacheffe). It can stand being roasted to medium dark for a good pour-over. I roasted it here just to the end of first crack in the Behmor on a stepped temperature profile, and found it needed to be dosed up higher than usual (about 15g/250ml) to have a distinct flavour. (Note: I did an earlier roast only halfway through the 1st crack, which works for some beans, but for this one it ended up being woody and half-roast at best.)