Look at Your Green Coffee Before You Roast It

High-density beans have more cells per cubic millimeter and thus a denser cell structure than low-density beans. As a result, high-density beans are more resistant to heat and the roaster must adjust the roast profile accordingly.

There are different ways to determine the “hardness” or bean density of a coffee bean. The most common and most precise way is to use a density meter; here, Willem Boot describes a trick using PVC pipes as an alternative:

What if you do not have access to these tools? When you’re in the middle of the farm or visiting a fellow roaster, how can you make an educated guess about the density of the green coffee bean? Look at the center cut and it will reveal the secret.

Lower-grown beans generally have a less solid bean structure than higher grown beans. The density of the bean structure can be revealed by the shape and the position of the center cut. Picture A shows a bean with tightly closed center cut. It almost seems to be floating in the upper layer of the bean. Picture B displays a bean with an opened center cut.

A. Hard Bean
Coffee bean with high density cell structure.

B. Soft Bean
Coffee bean with low density cell structure.

January 26, 2016

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