Nature’s Palette: Different colors of coffee beans

Most of us only see coffee as dark brown-colored food. Different colors of coffee beans exist and depend on the species, variety, and processing methods. But coffee beans are actually red, yellow, and green before they are roasted. Only after the roasting session do they become brown.

Coffee beans change color at every processing stage – transforming from a brightly red colored cherry to a darkly chocolatey color.

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at all the different colors of coffee beans can be and what causes them. So brew yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s get started!

Different colors of coffee beans

Red Coffee Cherries

Ripe coffee cherries mostly become red (also can be yellow). Like many fruits, they stay green when they are growing. When they are ripe, they change their color to red (or yellow). A coffee cherry becoming yellow or red depends on its varietal. For example, cherries from Yellow Bourbon coffee plants turn yellow when ripe. On the other hand, the Red Bourbon shrubs become red when ripe.

Different colors of coffee beans

To ensure maximum freshness, coffee beans must be picked when they’re brightly colored (regardless of whether they’re red or yellow). A dark red or yellow color indicates the overripe stage. A few overripe cherries won’t ruin an entire lot but they will diminish the selection’s overall quality.

Green Coffee Beans

Let’s start with the most common color of coffee beans now, which is green. Green coffee beans are simply coffee beans that have been processed but have not been roasted yet. All coffee beans start as green beans before they are roasted to bring out their characteristic flavor. The length of time that a bean is roasted will determine the final color of the bean as well as the flavor profiles.

So why are green coffee beans so popular? It all has to do with the fact that green coffee beans have a very high level of chlorogenic acid. This acid is believed to have several health benefits including weight loss, lowered blood sugar levels, and reduced risk of heart disease. For this reason, many people choose to use green coffee bean extract as a dietary supplement.

Brown Coffee Beans

Once coffee beans are roasted, they will turn brown. The longer a coffee bean is roasted, the darker it will become. Dark roast coffees have a stronger flavor than light roast coffees because the roasting process breaks down some of the molecules in the bean that contribute to its bitterness.

The advantage of dark roast coffees is that they tend to be less acidic than light roasts. This is because the roasting process causes some of the acids in the bean to be broken down and evaporate. For this reason, dark roast coffees are often easier on the stomach for people who are sensitive to acidity.

Black Coffee Beans

Coffee beans can also be black! Black coffee beans are simply coffee beans that have been roasted for an extended length of time until they are almost burnt. Black coffee beans have a very strong flavor and plenty of caffeine. They are often used in Espresso recipes because of their intense flavor profile.


Understanding the different coffee bean colors is the best way to judge whether a particular roast has reached perfection or not! Even with all the technological advancements made for coffee roasting, no better yardstick can be applied to bring uniformity in the color of beans once they’re roasted.

Roasting levels are also subjective. That’s why a specific roast developed in different parts of the world could never be absolutely the same. Hence it helps to use your very own eyes to get the measure of a roast’s perfection.

We hope you enjoyed learning about all the different colors that these amazing little beans can be! Check back soon for more posts about all things related to our favorite morning beverage!

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