Coffee Data Science

Coffee Color: Whole Bean vs Grounds

Another look color inside and out

Robert McKeon Aloe
3 min readFeb 27, 2024

Over the past two month, I have been aggressively roasting and measuring coffee bean color with three devices. All of these devices measure whole bean color as well as ground coffee color. So I decided to compare the modalities across devices and coffee roasts.


The three devices have a color calibration plate, but the Syncfo has two calibration plates. The Syncfo has two sides to each plate. One plate is used for the chamber measurement, and another one for a larger plate.

Left to Right: Syncfo 4in1, Omni, and Lebrew

The Syncfo 4in1 analyzes coffee color, weight, density, and moisture. It is considered a standard for SCA, so I’m going to assume it to be the most accurate. This is a large assumption, and maybe we can challenge that some time later.

The DiFluid Omni gives a color histogram as well as the average color. The Syncfo only gives one color value. The Omni can do particle analysis as well, which is an added bonus.

Lebrew gives only one color measurement, but it has the hardware to do similar functions as the Omni.

Data Collection

To get a fair comparison, I placed Omni and Lebrew on top of the sample of the Syncfo because the movement of the beans is enough to cause a large sample variance artificially.

First, I compared the Syncfo in the chamber vs the base plate. These are two separately calibrated modalities for measuring color.

Now let’s compare whole bean across the 3 variants. I assume Syncfo is the groundtruth because it is SCA approved.

Looking at ground coffee color, the trends are similar to whole bean.

I can compare grounds color to whole bean, and all three have a similar, overlapping trend. I didn’t quite expect it.

Coffee color measurement is a great tool, and all of these devices work well compared to themselves. I don’t think situations arise too often where we need these devices calibrated to one another because color scoring is done mainly for the roaster.

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Further readings of mine:

My Second Book: Advanced Espresso

My First Book: Engineering Better Espresso

My Links

Collection of Espresso Articles

A Collection of Work and School Stories



Robert McKeon Aloe

I’m in love with my Wife, my Kids, Espresso, Data Science, tomatoes, cooking, engineering, talking, family, Paris, and Italy, not necessarily in that order.