Filter roast? Espresso roast? Omni roast?
Roasting is often categorised by its brewing method purpose, whether it is a filter roast or espresso roast or ‘omni’ roast.
And there are a number of roasters who are following this way. As we know, back in the days when many baristas were not weighting the shots, were only looking at the colour of espresso and its flow, dark roast(or medium dark) coffees were dominating the trend. Even for filter, roasting degree was still high compared to these days. Years later, after specialty coffee was introduced and spread, many roasters started to roast their coffee lighter in order to offer the characteristics of each origin, ultimately, from its terroir.
While the whole industry has been changing, there are an increasing number of different style of roasting.
But still, many roasters(not every roasters) differentiate their product as filter or espresso. (Sometimes, unique category is made such as for French Press or Aeropress, but assume that these are still in the filter category.) Here at this point, I believe that we need to change our perception for categorising roasting styles as there are millions of different style of coffee-making methods and styles.
Thinking differently, at the end of the day, what only matters is ‘flavour’, not how it is roasted or how it is brewed.
Many of us have already experienced that having a great filter coffee made with espresso roast, and vice versa. Even though roaster tried to bring the best outcome(that he/she thought) through the coffee, it is always possible to be expressed in a different way. How about we do no-differentiating or categorising by the roasting style and offering the beans with some recommended recipes?
I’ve been trying to offer the beans as simple as I can. For example, I have 3 different singles, and I roast them with 3 different profiles. All of them are light roast and I’m not labelling them as filter or espresso, just saying it’s a light and well roast. When it comes to the bar or to wholesale client, the coffees are properly dialled within their own environment and equipment. It could be the same with our QC parameter but shouldn’t be the same.
Some people asked whether it is the ‘Omni’ roast. Well, I’d say it’s not.
Perfect Daily Grind says about the omni roast that, "Omni roasting embraces the idea that any coffee can be brewed using any method. So long as the coffee was roasted well, it’ll play well across a variety of brew methods – be it press, filter, espresso, or even cold brew.” (https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2016/08/omni-roast-one-roast-rule/)
This is definitely NOT what we are aiming for. Instead of that, what we aim for is
- to deliver the characteristics of specialty coffee as pure as it is possible,
- to minimise the effect of roasting, and
- to avoid under or over roast.
For the first and the most important reason is the special characteristics of each coffee.
To express this, it is recommended to roast the coffee lightly, but not under-developed. It might not be the best way for filter or espresso. It’s against the point of the omni roast. The omni roast considers the various brewing methods whereas ‘light and well’ roast aims to express the characteristics of each origin. Thus, the ‘light and well’ roasted coffees should be calibrated within their own environment and equipment, very dependently.
Nowadays, there are a number of roasters doing one profile only, not differentiating the filter and espresso. That’s not wrong, that’s even better if we consider the characteristics of the coffees. Beyond that, it is also better for managing production and the bar. So, let’s focus on the outcome, not the label.