The mechanism of formation for clusters of serine generated by electrospray ionization is hypothesized to play a critical role in determining their ultimate properties. Under carefully manipulated electrospray source conditions, two distinct and well-separated distributions of clusters can be observed. The characteristics of the two cluster populations are consistent with different formation mechanisms, namely ion evaporation and charge residue. Upon further inspection, it is proposed that the magic number intensity, homochiral selectivity, and unique formation of the serine octamer are best explained within the context of the ion evaporation mechanism. As a consequence, solution phase properties of the octamer become important, particularly in relation to interface effects present on the surface of the charged droplet. In contrast, other clusters of serine, including the B form of the octamer, are probably generated by the charge residue mechanism and may have no connection to condensed phase phenomena.