Why are we excited by a couple of letters? The answer is in the beans, specifically, the shape and size of the green coffee beans.
A coffee “bean” is actually the seed from the small, red cherry-like coffee fruit. Most coffee beans split when processed, resulting in two ovals, flat on one side and rounded on the other (the coffee beans on the right). With peaberries, the seed develops differently, and instead of splitting into two, remains a rounded whole (the coffee beans on the left). Peaberries are often small and occur most often in older coffee plants. Most bags of green coffee have a few peaberries in them, some varieties of coffee have more than others.
“AA” is the highest rating for most green coffee beans. It means all the beans are large and well shaped. Unfortunately for those of us in the US, Tanzania AA is prized by high quality roasters in Japan and Korea, who pay a premium and buy almost all of the specialty grade Tanzania AA produced every year.
That's why we're excited. We only buy specialty grade, great tasting coffee. Sometimes that means choosing a coffee that's mostly peaberries. This season's Papua New Guinea Kimel, is a great example. So were this season's early Tanzanians. We found a lovely Tanzania Peaberry. It was so nice, it sold out in record time. When we went to order more, we discovered the importer had scored a small shipment of Tanzania AA from the same region. It cupped even better than the earlier peaberry lot, and we didn't hesitate to buy all we could.
If you enjoy light, bright coffees, with lively lemon topnotes balanced by caramel richness and a hint of cocoa, give our new Tanzania AA a try!