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

4 Responses

  1. 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.

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