The speciality coffee industry does a great job of providing information on finding the correct grind size for various brew methods, but choosing the right coffee roast profile can often be confusing. What does an espresso, filter, or omni roast really mean and how do you know you are making the right choice when you buy a new coffee? Do you need a different roast for different brew methods?
What is an espresso, filter, or omni roast?
For the espresso style, the roasting process focuses on bringing out more of the body in the coffee so that it can take the high extraction pressure. Consequently, the flavour profile is not compromised by any milk added (like when we make a delicious flat white).
When we source our beans, we look for sweet and chocolatey characteristics that have muted acidity. as these will lend themselves better to espresso roasts.
For filter roasts, we adapt the roasting process to bring out the acidity in the cup. This means they are suited to a slow extraction using a V60 or another filter, with complex and often fruity flavours being prominent. High altitude beans from regions such as East Africa (such as our Ethiopia Nano Challa) can give a great tasting filter profile.
With an omni roast, we go for a profile that sits somewhere in between the filter and the espresso profiles. It is a roast that we produce that should work well across a variety of different brew methods – be it Aeropress, filter, espresso, or even cold brew. An example of one of our omni roasts is our Guatemala La Esmeralda, which has a chocolate and vanilla sweetness that sit alongside lime acidity.
Is the roast profile associated with strength or darkness?
Traditionally an espresso roast was associated with strength, however this was usually due to the roast level (burnt = strong!). The majority of roasts you will find in speciality coffee will be defined as an espresso or filter profile (rather than categorising by it’s strength or level of darkness) for two reasons:
1) Roasting should aim to bring out different inherent coffee qualities rather than standardising flavour with a ‘dark’ roast.
2) Taste is subjective. For some, the citrus acidity you might find in a Kenyan filter might be perceived as ‘strong’, whereas for others this might be a full-bodied caramel espresso such as our Peru Classic Espresso.
Do I need to buy a coffee with a specific roast depending on how I brew?
In theory, an espresso roast should be better suited to an espresso based coffee such as an espresso, a flat white, or a latte. Likewise, a filter roast should be ideally suited to a filter brew method like a cafetiere or a drip filter.
However, we are big believers that you should choose on taste preference above everything else. If you brew your coffee in a cafetiere but prefer a big, full-bodied coffee full of chocolate notes, then an espresso roast might be for you!
When you're next looking through our selection of coffees, check out the roast profiles and the method we think suits the coffee best - it could make a difference to your daily cup! If you'd like a specific recommendation for your brewing method, drop us an email or call and we'll be happy to help out.
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