Coffee Subscription Roast Profiles

For each coffee we include in the subscription we add a note to let you know what ‘profile’ it has been roasted to.  This will fall into one of three categories – Filter, Espresso or Omni – and we thought we’d give you a short overview about the three and why some roasters Omni-roast while other split their profiles.

The first rule of Dog and Hat is that there are no hard and fast rules to coffee – if you want to put a filter profile coffee through your espresso machine – do it - and if you want to put an espresso roast coffee through your V60 - that’s ok too.  Coffee tastes are such a personal thing, that you should always do what feels and tastes right for you but we’re on hand to help and guide when you need us.

The next thing to note is that by the time the green coffee gets to the roaster, it already contains all the potential for flavour, body, acidity etc that it will ever achieve. The roaster cannot add more goodness into a coffee, they can just highlight certain characteristics based on their personal style.

Why are there different profiles then?  It comes down to the way that coffee extracts in the different methods.  With filter coffee, you tend to have the coffee grounds in contact with the water for a lot longer (3 mins or upwards) and there’s normally a bigger ratio of coffee to water (e.g. 1:15) which means the coffee has much more time and water to help it extract.  However, with an espresso machine the coffee is in contact with the water much less time (25- 30 seconds) and the ratio is much smaller (e.g. 1:2).

Very simplistically (the science behind this topic is fascinating and we’re always happy to take people through it) when a coffee roast is more developed (some would say ‘darker’… but that’s another conversation) it makes it easier to extract and leads to a ‘bigger body’ (the coffee seems ‘thicker’) and therefore often suits espresso machines.  In a filter coffee, you may lose some of the acidity and the thicker body might not be as desirable.

When a coffee roast is less developed (again, some would say ‘lighter’) then it won’t extract as easily and often suits the longer brew time of filter coffee.  A ‘light’ roast put through an espresso machine can often struggle to extract fully in the shorter period of time leaving you with an under extracted / sour taste and quite a weak mouthfeel.

With these two things in mind, roasters sometimes choose to roast the same coffee with two separate profiles allowing one to highlight the more sought after qualities of filter coffee (fruitiness, acidity, light body) and the other to highlight the more sought after qualities of filter coffee (sweetness and body) without compromising either.  This approach is very common across many parts of Europe (and with some UK roasters too such as Square Mile, Colonna, Pharmacie etc).

The other school of thought is that once a roaster has analysed the green beans they determine that they can identify a roast profile that allows the quality of the beans to shine through no matter what method is used to prepare the coffee – the espresso won’t be too acidic and the filter coffee won’t be too muted and big bodied.  This approach is called Omni-Roasting and is extremely popular here in the UK and with some of the biggest names in coffee (roasters such as Gardelli, La Cabra, Onyx, Cat and Cloud etc).

How ‘light’ or ‘dark’ a coffee is roasted is then down to the personal style and taste of the individual roasters – that’s why it often fun to try the same coffee from different roasters, because no two roasters will roast it the same… it’s one of the real joys of coffee.  For example, a Scandinavian roast profile will typically be much ‘lighter’ than one from the USA for the same bean.

Note though, that sometimes a bean just might not be suited to one or other coffee making methods and in these instances, through our rigorous testing process here at Dog and Hat, we will ensure that that coffee isn’t selected for that subscription type.  You might find that some of the omni-roast coffees will require a finer grind on espresso but, once you find that setting, they will work very nicely.  That leads us nicely onto the Coffee Recipes section of our Dialled In booklet.

December 02, 2020 by Dave Morgan