Need a Visual Guide to Determine Coffee Roast Color?

Why not make your own coffee roast color guide?

Here are some images of “degree of roast” sets that I made. The boxes are a clear type used for displaying beads and other craft objects. I bought these from The Container Store as I recall.

The roast samples represent the degree of roast levels from green to Full City+. I skip some of the yellowing and browning stages, focusing on the levels starting just before First Crack, City Roast, City+, Full City Roast, and then a bit into Second Crack territory.

The set on the left dedicates one row to washed (wet-process) green coffee and the other to decaf, since decaf roast color can be so hard to gauge.

The set on the right also has wet-process coffee, compared alongside natural (dry-process) coffee. Each stage is the roast time and temperature equivalent. You can see how perceived color varies though.

A homemade roast color calibration kit I made with bead / crafting containers and samples representing the degree of roast from green to Full City+
A homemade roast color calibration kit I made with bead / crafting containers and samples representing the degree of roast from green to Full City+


Other roast and green coffee-related reading:

Using Sight to Determine Degree of Roast

Green Coffee FAQ

How To Roast Your Own Coffee

5 Responses

  1. Pingback: Quick Home Coffee Roaster Comparison Chart - Sweet Maria's Coffee Library
  2. Pingback: Behmor Roaster Maintenance and Cleaning - Sweet Maria's Coffee Library
  3. It would be great if Sweet Maria’s could sell sample sets like this!

    It’s really impossible to gauge the degree of roast of real beans using a chart on a computer screen or printed on paper. You need real beans to compare with, under the same lighting conditions.

    Creating them would be a bit labor-intensive, but I bet people would pay enough to make it worth your while. I’d pay $100 to have one of these sets.

    1. Hi Chris – It’s a great idea and we have actually been working on this exact thing. Progress had stalled on it simply because there were so many projects under way. But your email is a reminder to pick this up again! I agree, actually reference samples would be the best.

    2. I agree Chris but I would add that the container needs to protect from UV and the lid needs to be removable so one can view the beans without any color distortion.

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