Agtron® Numbers and What They Mean
AGTRON NUMBERS & WHY THEY MATTER
Consistent Roast with Every Batch
The Agtron® is a spectrophotometer which uses infrared light to determine roast degree. The higher the Agtron number, the lighter the roast. Agtron parameters range from about 55 on our lightest roasts to 25 on our darkest.
This digital device validates the roaster's decisions concerning the degree of roast. We establish an Agtron number for a particular coffee based on a flavor profile which shows off the coffee in its best light. Batch to batch, and year after year, a consistent roast color is verifiable with the Agtron. There are no surprises.
Can I taste the difference? The differences between an Agtron 52 and 48 is slight and your eyes may not be able to discern that difference. The taste between the two will also be subtle, but the Agtron will consistently discern the slightest roast differences. The scale is gradual and helpful in establishing the general roast color you prefer. All coffee roast colors below can be used in any brewing method you prefer.
48-56 THIRD WAVE
Third Wave lighter roasts were “re-discovered” as a reaction to the dark and burnt coffees that proliferated in the 1980's. Light roasts are difficult to achieve. The inside of the bean must be fully roasted while not over-roasting the outside of the bean. Exact roasting temperatures and curves must be controlled to achieved a perfect lighter roast. Think of a toaster. You want the outside of your bread toasted, not charred and smoking, and you also want the inside of the bread to be warm and buttery.
40-48 MEDIUM HEARTY ROAST
We think of these Agtron numbers as hearty European Medium Roasts. A fuller deeper flavor is noted, but no dark or French roast or smoky qualities should be present. This is a nice everyday roast which still reveals the varietal profile present in the coffee, without any roasting artifacts.
36-40 VIENNA FULL-CITY ROAST
This roast works great with dense hard beans. Sumatra comes to mind first. The extra time and temperature in the roaster reveals the complexity of the Sumatra profile and other hard bean coffees. This roast degree is considered a lighter espresso color, but dark enough to satisfy most American espresso drinkers. Typical espresso in Italy is an Agtron 44-50, a lighter roast, but Americans have become accustomed to darker espresso roasts.
30-36 MEDIUM ESPRESSO, BIGGER, MORE BOLD
These darker roast numbers are present in many espresso blends in the US. Still not seriously deeply dark at Agtron 30, but dark enough to deliver a nice coffee punch while still cutting through milk. Remember, coffee of any roast color may be utilized in any coffee brewer. There are no right or wrong coffee colors. The one you prefer is the correct one!
24-30 FRENCH ROAST, DEEP, DARK, FULL
Many Third Wave roasters do not offer truly dark roasted coffees. Some coffee roasting ovens can't safely roast coffee this dark. Coffee beans become exothermic as they roast, meaning at some point the beans stop absorbing heat and they begin generating heat. Managing the air flow and roast temperatures at that point becomes critical. It's easy to achieve a burnt Agtron 25. Achieving that same Agtron 25 without the burned charred overtones, is the art of roasting coffee. Poorly roasted and burnt coffee is already well represented in the market place. If you prefer a deep dark full roast, and not burnt, try Boxer French Roast. Our legacy 1961 direct-fired, double-walled Probat roaster consistently delivers deep dark roasts perfectly. French Roast is one of our most popular coffees!