High-quality coffee beans go through a number of evaluations before they ever make it to the sales shelves or coffee shops. While measuring the color of coffee beans throughout the roasting process is an obvious metric, the beans should first go through green grading. Green grading coffee helps identify deformities, shells, and other issues that may present inconsistencies throughout the roasting and grinding processes.

Discover some of the best practices in measuring the quality of green coffee and ensuring your coffee products are consistent in color and flavor with HunterLab's expertise.

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1. Understand Specialty Coffee Association Guidelines

Perhaps the most important reason to pay attention to the color and other physical aspects of green coffee beans is to protect the health and safety of your consumers. To ensure the quality of green coffee everywhere, organizations like the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) and Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) have instituted industry guidelines to signify the minimum requirements your coffee should meet to be acceptable and high-quality.

2. Collect a Large Enough Representative Sample

According to SCA protocol, a representative evaluation of green coffee beans requires a minimum sample of 350 grams of beans. This minimum ensures you can accurately gauge the color and aromas of the overall batch and account for the number of certain defects with some degree of certainty.

3. Complete a Full Physical Inspection

With an accurate sample size, you can begin the complete physical inspection. Along with measuring the product's color, this process involves looking for defects such as coloration errors, fungus growth, foreign particles, and immature beans. The SCA guide offers a ratio so that you can base however many errors you find within your sample on the number of said defects in the overall batch.

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4. Limit Your Measurement Time to Half an Hour

Throughout the day, you may be tasked with evaluating dozens of green bean samples, and when it comes to color measurement, that's more than enough time for your eyes to become fatigued and subconsciously “adjust” the color of the beans into a more uniform shade. Try to limit your color measurement efforts to no more than 20 to 30 minutes per batch to prevent eye strain and fatigue.

5. Find the Best Solution for Green Bean Coffee Measurement at HunterLab

Another method for improving evaluation speed while minimizing eye exertion is investing in a quality spectrophotometer like the ColorFlex EZ Coffee from HunterLab. Our equipment is capable of precise and accurate measurements in minutes, regardless of lighting, location, or measurement duration. Streamline your color measurements for high-quality coffee beans by requesting a quote today.