Can I use Filter roasted beans in my Espresso machine?

Can I use Filter roasted beans in my Espresso machine?

As a coffee enthusiast, you may wonder if you can use filter-roasted beans to make espresso coffee, and what the difference between the two roast profiles is. It's common for coffee lovers to switch between different brewing styles, such as espresso, filter, or black-and-white coffee, throughout the day. However, buying different roast profiles for each brewing method can be expensive or inconvenient. It's more practical to buy beans that taste good, regardless of the brew style.


Specialty coffee roasters typically categorize coffees based on roast profiles, but this doesn't mean you're breaking any rules if you use an espresso-roasted coffee for a filter method or vice versa. So, why do coffee roasters distinguish between roast profiles?

Experienced coffee roasters begin by sampling small amounts of coffee from green bean suppliers, importers, or farmers. This process is called 'cupping' and is similar to wine tasting, where they follow set protocols to determine the best-tasting coffee. Roasters and baristas will try small amounts of the brewed coffee to determine which ones taste the best. During this process, a roaster may decide how they will roast a particular coffee.

If you prefer delicate-tasting coffees are often roasted for a filter brew. On the other hand, a richer coffee with more body and a heavier feel on the palate is better suited for an espresso roast. These different brewing methods require different roasting techniques as well. For instance, espresso coffees are usually roasted darker and for a longer duration to enhance the flavour. This is necessary when adding milk to coffee as richer flavours work better with milk, and Coffee blends are mostly used for espresso roasts as they are generally composed of more affordable richer coffee flavours.

There are various factors that determine whether coffee beans should be roasted for filter or espresso. These factors include the origin of the coffee, the variety of the coffee plant, and the processing method used before roasting. Different coffee processing methods such as natural, washed, and fermented can result in varying characteristics when roasted and brewed.

However, I did mention that it is possible to use espresso beans for a filter brew, didn't I?

Yes, Personal preference plays a significant role in choosing the coffee that you like. Although coffee is usually roasted with a specific flavour profile in mind, it can be brewed in any way you prefer. Whether you prefer a lighter, more acidic espresso or a full-bodied filter coffee, the choice is yours. You have the freedom to experiment and brew it however you like. By trying different brewing methods, you may discover that you prefer your Ethiopian filter roast as espresso, or that you enjoy a darker roast as a filter coffee.

And, of course, you get the bonus of coffees that can be brewed in multiple ways. These coffees are usually sold as 'omni-roast' which means they are suitable for all brewing methods. They are generally roasted to a medium level to suit most tastes.

During a conversation about roasting coffee, a fellow roaster once said to me, "It's all omni, bro." Looking back, I realise that this phrase perfectly encapsulates the fact that the taste of coffee is subjective and can be affected by different roasting methods.

Perhaps the question you should be answering is, how would you like your coffee to taste when you brew it? You could inquire about the roast level, whether it is light or dark. Is it fruity, acidic or heavy-bodied? Do you plan to add milk to it? Knowing these details will help you brew a delicious cup of coffee that suits your taste.

You will find that these questions can be much more valuable than whether it's a Filter or Espresso roast!

Understanding the reason why coffee is roasted in a specific way or omni-roasted can provide valuable insight into the roasting process, the roaster's decision-making process, and the inherent qualities of the coffee bean before it even reaches your taste buds. This knowledge may be more important than simply knowing what the roast level is.

A J Cochrane.

man holding cup of coffee

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