Color measurement of coffee and tea

For an objective, reproducible and communicable evaluation of roasting degrees, producers and coffee roasters need clear and reliable numerical values. Does the color of ground coffee tend more towards blue or gray or rather brown? Or is the coffee bean still bluish or already grayish during the roasting process? Judging this is an almost impossible task for the human eye. Hue, intensity and brightness make the identification of color complex and extremely difficult. HunterLab spectrophotometers analyze color values of both coffee and loose tea precisely, reliably and independently of human and external factors (lighting conditions).


The color of freshly ground coffee is an important quality indicator that is closely monitored during production, as the degree of roasting of the coffee directly influences both the taste and appearance of the freshly brewed beverage. Instrumental color measurement with HunterLab measuring devices is easy to perform and guarantees reliable testing to meet the highest standards.

Recommended indices for measuring the color of coffee

There are three special indices for coffee products in the industry, which can be set both in the firmware and in the software:

– The Agtron number for the Gourmet Coffee Scale, introduced by the Specialty Coffee Association of America This scale is based on a series of visual color standards from the SCAA that are used to classify the color of coffee powder.

– The Agtron number for the commercial coffee scale, introduced by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, based on the SCAA/G scale.

– The Hunter Coffee Color Index, based on the reflectance at 640 nm; a common measurement method used by many roasting plants.

This can also be individually adjusted to other previously used indices.

Our solutions for coffee powder/beans:

ColorFlex EZ Coffee

Compact spectrophotometric station

  • Many measuring openings

    Various measuring openings (10 mm, 13 mm, 19 mm, 25.4 mm, 31.8 mm) for many types of samples.
  • Compact dimensions

    With a weight of 4.5 kg and dimensions of 16.0 cm (height), 13.0 cm (width) and 36.0 cm (depth), the CFEZ is the ideal partner in the laboratory and production.
  • Integrated QC software

    Display of absolute and differential data, color location visualization, spectral curves, spectral data and PASS/FAIL with individual tolerances.
ColorFlex EZ
  • 45°/0° geometry

    The CFEZ measures color as the human eye sees it. Every day. Reliable and precise.
  • In many versions

    The ColorFlex EZ is available in Tomato, Citrus and Coffee versions.
  • Uncomplicated & precise

    Simple measurement at the touch of a button with measurement results within a few seconds. Reduces training time, optimizes the workflow and increases your productivity.

Aeros Coffee

Laboratory device for measuring color and degree of browning

  • Non-contact measurement

    The sensor detects the sample without contact, without having to measure through plastic or glass.
  • Large surface area

    The rotating sample plate captures over 170 cm2 of the sample in 35 measurements in 7 seconds.
  • Integrated QC software

    The EasyMatch QC Essentials quality control software is integrated into the device and provides all the required color indices and metrics.
  • Intelligent height adjustment

    The distance sensor automatically compensates for height differences in irregular samples.
  • Smart user interface

    Your measurement results can be easily transferred to existing LIMS or SPC systems.
  • Uncomplicated & precise

    Simple "one touch" measurement reduces training time, optimizes the workflow and increases your productivity.

Do you measure the color of loose tea or tea or coffee in liquid form? Talk to us, we have a solution for these applications too!

Discover how you can define a color profile for your coffee. We offer customized solutions for these special requirements!

Further information for you on this topic:

HunterLab worldwide:

  • Headquarters, North / South America

    Hunter Associates Laboratory, Inc.

  • 11491 Sunset Hills Road

    Reston, VA 20190-5280

  • 703-471-6870

  • 703-471-4237

  • Asia-Pacific

    HunterLab Asia Limited
  • Leo Cheung, Regional Manager Flat E, 13/F Leahander Center

    28 Wang Wo Tsai Street, Tsuen Wan New Territories, Hong Kong

  • +852 2406 1723

  • Europe / Middle East / Africa

    HunterLab Europe GmbH

  • Dr.-August-Einsele-Ring 15

    82418 Murnau

  • +49 8841 9464

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The HunterLab Europe company blog keeps you up to date on applications and measurement methods, product presentations and company news. Our spectrophotometry experts regularly give you an overview of the colorful and diverse world of color measurement.
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Our color measurement solutions are individual and versatile. In our overview you will find the right device and the right software for all applications.