Coffee and Color Measurement: How Spectrophotometers Take the Guesswork Out of the Roasting Process

When producing the highest quality of coffee, color is a crucial part of the process. Coffee color measurement refers to the procedure that takes raw coffee beans to the peak of their roasting process. The utilization of spectrophotometers can help gauge the exact moment that a roast reaches its full color potential, ensuring that coffee color remains consistent throughout each batch. Many spectrophotometers claim to measure this key point in the coffee roasting process, but miss the mark by just a slight margin. Even this small margin can be costly, but quality coffee color measurement tools eliminate errors and ensure quality and consistency every time.

ground coffee color measurement
Creating the perfect coffee roast is highly dependent of color measurement. Low quality instrumentation can lead to variables roasting times, but proper instrumentation ensures perfect color and consistency every time from start to finished product.
Image Source: Flickr user Aidan

From plant, to production, to perfection

Creating a quality coffee product begins with choosing the best coffee beans. Measuring the color of raw beans is an important step in developing just the right coffee blend. Color consistency in raw beans helps to ensure that the consistency remains the same all the way through the roasting process. Spectral analysis provides important data regarding any contamination or imperfections the raw beans may have. This streamlines the selection process of raw materials and saves in wasted product and time further on down the line. Once raw beans have been carefully selected, the roasting process is the next step towards creating a high-quality product. Coffee color analysis is most effective when it is performed continuously throughout the roasting process.

Raw beans color measurement
Coffee color plays an important role in raw bean selection. Choosing only the best in raw materials, ultimately leads to higher quality results in the end.
Image Source: Flickr user Aidan

Color monitoring throughout the roasting process

Color measurement is an important step in coffee production. Monitoring coffee color throughout the roasting and processing phases of coffee production can lead to higher yields, but too many errors in color measurement impede production and profit. Using the right instrumentation that is specifically designed for coffee color measurement can take the guesswork out of creating the perfect roast. From the first stages of roasting to the final whole bean or ground coffee color, spectrophotometers that are designed specifically for these methods, making this process both simple and efficient.

Coffee roasting is a precise science that depends on specific temperature changes at just the right times during the roasting process. By continually monitoring coffee color, these changes can occur at exactly the right stages of roasting, in order to preserve the integrity of the coffee beans. According to coffeeresearch.org, there are three distinct stages in the roasting process:

  • The “endothermic” stage, where beans are slowly roasted until they reach a light yellowish color.
  • The “first crack” stage, where roasting temperatures start to increase until beans double in size and reach a light-brown color.
  • The final process known as “pyrolysis,” which refers to the chemical process where temperature is again increased and beans shift from a light-brown to a dark-brown color.
roasted bean color measurement
Quality roasted coffee beans achieve the perfect color, flavor, and aroma through proper roasting processes. Color monitoring ensures that each step in this process is performed at exactly the right moment.
Image Source: Flickr user Pen Waggener

Each of these phases requires the use of spectrophotometric analysis to measure the exact points of color change, which prompt specific changes in temperature. When these processes can be quantified accurately, the final product will yield favorable results. If instrumentation is not precise, even a slight miscalculation can result in product rejection or poor quality outcomes.

The right tools lead to higher quality results

Top coffee producers know and understand the importance of effective coffee color measurement. This complex process requires the use of effective color measurement tools to narrow the margin of error in order to make this process work. At HunterLab we listen to our customers and know their challenges and concerns. When it comes to coffee color measurement instrumentation, we understand that both quality and time are important. Our spectrophotometers are uniquely designed to measure every stage of coffee development in order to produce the highest quality coffee products. Our newest model in coffee color measurement addresses many of the issues that major coffee suppliers have expressed. We have listened to the concerns and have created an affordable tool that provides a solution. For more information on coffee color measurement and options in spectrophotometers specifically designed for this job, contact HunterLab today.

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