Agtron numbers* are precise, industry standard representations of the degree of roast. The lower the number, the darker the roast.
Many roasters describe their coffees as “full city” , “French”, “espresso’, ‘regular”, etc.… The problem is that these terms vary in meaning from roaster to roaster. Agtron numbers, on the other hand, never vary at all. They tell you what you want to know regarding how dark the coffee bas been roasted.
In the coffee industry there are two Agtron numbers for any given coffee: the whole bean number: and the ground number. It is the ground number that we list, because it is the bottom line in what you are interested in since you are brewing ground coffee.
Here is what the Agtron numbers tell you:
- 60 is light
- 55 is medium to light
- 50 is medium
- 45 is medium to dark
- 40 is dark
- 35 is very dark
- 30 is extremely dark
- below 30: we’re talking charcoal
Our coffees currently range from 59 to 37.
There are many ways to describe coffee, but the terminology can be very confusing, and downright misleading. Even the degree of roast may not tell you exactly what you want to know, but it has more meaning to the consumer than anything else, as far as terminology goes.
*The technological term for an Agtron meter is a “near infrared spectrophotometer”. What it does is read the color of the coffee in the near infrared range, which is far more precise than viewing with the naked eye.