What Determines the Color of Brewed Coffee

by Kenneth Reed on February 01, 2021
Ever wondered what affects the color of your coffee? There are several factors at play, and a lot of things happen behind the scenes that you’re probably not even aware of.

As a general rule: the darker the coffee, the longer it’s been brewed. Here are some of the factors that affect the color of coffee:

A cup of freshly brewed hot coffee

Green and Red

After they’ve been picked, coffee beans are actually green. This is because of the presence of chloroplast which usually fades away as coffee beans are mature. Ripe coffee cherries are either yellow or red originally. Coffee beans should be picked when they’re bright colored to ensure complete freshness. Dark red means overripe, so it may affect the quality of the roast.


What affects the color of coffee beans is determined by the roast. The roast breaks down certain compounds in the coffee, releasing darker pigments. Known as melanoids, roasting and the incorporation of chlorogenic acid plays a very important role in their reaction and the overall color of the brew.

While coffee beans are roasting, the hue shifts from green to tan to brown. Naturally, if the beans are roasted for longer, they’ll be darker. If your roasted beans are black, then we hate to break it to you, but it means that they’re probably burnt! Even French and Spanish roasts, which are considered the darkest aren’t black, they’re brown.

Black coffee with beans in a white mug

Brownish Black Brew

The brewing of coffee affects the extracting of odorants and taste molecules from the taste into the ground coffee in your cup. The technique of immersion, percolation, and filtration such as paper or cloth all affects the brew. Along with contact time, water temperature, and quality, the grind, brew ratio, and strength of the coffee beans all affect the color of the coffee that you consume.

Brewed coffee may range from brown to almost black, depending on the roast level and how the coffee was brewed. When held up in light, roast coffee possesses a brownish hue. In your coffee mug, it looks black— that’s why it’s called black coffee. When the brew is brownish-black, that means your coffee is ready to be consumed.

Treat yourself to the best, and buy fresh coffee beans online from Brew House Online. With a range of products for the coffee connoisseur, such as French vanilla coffee beans and portable stainless steel coffee mugs and thermos flasks, they also have a store where you can buy coffee makers online and other gadgets and essentials online.

Contact us for more info.