The majority of specialty coffee consumers are only familiar with two types of roast coffee: filter and espresso.
However, in recent years, more consumers have sought out a roast that suits any brewing method without compromising on quality. As a result, the omni-roast was developed.
Omni-roasting coffee is a relatively new approach to profiling roasts to suit a broad range of applications.
A good omni-roast will stand up to the requirements of espresso preparation without losing too many of those floral and fruity top notes for manual brewing.
Learn more about how an omni-roast is achieved and how it could benefit roasters.
What is omni-roasting?
Coffee roasters differentiate between styles of roast in several ways.
That said, the emphasis for many roasters has shifted away from a strict portrayal between dark and light roasts. This is because consumer preferences in some circles have led to the automatic rejection of anything labelled as a dark roast.
The Scandinavian preference for lighter roasts has dominated the specialty coffee scene – to a point where more developed roasts were all but excluded from the upper echelons of coffee tastemakers.
This is particularly true in the case of manual brew pour-overs.
The reputation surrounding dark roast coffee has now led to something of a rebrand with many specialty roasters. A more developed profile is more suitable for some beans, and certainly for some brew methods.
Espresso brewing requires more solubility in a roasted coffee bean than filter methods.
Furthermore, lighter roasts can be more difficult to brew without too many acidic tones. Therefore, darker roasts are often more suitable for espresso.
The shift away from labelling roasts as “dark” or “light” roasted required a new terminology of classification.
It is now common for many roasters to label their coffees for the intended use. As a result, profiles are often grouped by espresso roast or filter roast.
Within this new paradigm, there is scope for a third classification designed, profiled, and roasted to suit either brewing method: the omni-roast.
This crowd-pleaser could be a boost to efficiency, flexibility, and consistency for all parties.
How to achieve an omni-roast
Omni-roasts need to tread a careful path in terms of development and the optimal point can be reached in a variety of different ways.
Too dark or well-developed, and too many bitter sugars will be present, and the more subtle flavours may be lost. Too light, and the coffee may struggle to produce decent shots for espresso.
The approach to roasting will very much depend on a business’s target market.
For instance, if the business is catering to experienced baristas in a commercial setting, omni-roasts can be achieved without too many changes to roast profiles.
In this case, baristas should be relied upon to get a balanced extraction while compensating for the presence of acids in lighter roast coffees to produce fruity and vibrant espresso shots.
That said, this “ideal” situation may be inaccessible to all consumers. More so, even in many commercial settings, the fineness of grind required to achieve the necessary solubility in a less-developed roast can lead to issues with grinder heat retention and clumping.
This second approach to omni-roasting requires a slower attitude to the profile, delaying the first crack by a couple of minutes.
Slowing down the roast can decrease acidity and enhance solubility and body in the final coffee. This makes lighter roasts easier to deal with for baristas brewing espresso.
Although, it also means the more volatile compounds responsible for the most subtle floral notes desirable in a manual brew may be destroyed.
Ultimately, it depends on what market the business is roasting for. For several roasters, omni-roasting a house blend can be a good balance, leaving the top-scoring green coffees free for more experimental light roasts.
What are the benefits of omni-roasting coffee?
The chief benefits of omni-roasting coffee fall into two categories: those for the roaster and those for the consumer.
For coffee roasters, an omni-roast can broaden the appeal of their product, meaning fewer varieties are necessary across the range.
Additionally, this can help save on waste, as roasters can avoid having a light and dark roast of the same bean on the shelf, waiting to be sold.
Sales can also be targeted at both filter brewers and espresso baristas – an approach that is cost-effective and better for the environment.
Similar logic can apply to the roast process itself as to the advantages to stock management. Fewer adjustments to the roast profile between batches can lead to greater efficiency and consistency across different batches in the same lot.
Omni-roasts also have the ability to achieve somewhat lighter roasts without necessitating the exceptional levels of freshness required when aiming to highlight the qualities of the bean’s provenance.
As a result, lots of past crop coffees can be brought to a more developed omni-roast without taking them to the traditional tipping point many roasters have previously adopted to mask age defects.
The benefits extend further to the consumer in a similar fashion. The versatility of an omni-roast is a great advantage for home brewers and commercial settings.
One roast that does it all means a home brewer might only need one bag of coffee on the shelf to cover their manual brews and espresso shots. This often results in faster product turnover and optimal freshness at the end of each bag.
Maintaining freshness is a priority for every roaster, as a stale bag of coffee may negatively affect the brand.
Notably, investing in the right packaging materials can help protect a coffee’s characteristics.
MTPak Coffee offers roasters and coffee businesses a range of coffee packaging solutions made from eco-friendly materials.
Furthermore, we offer a range of customisable coffee boxes made from 100% recycled cardboard. These are ideal options for roasters who wish to test out a new design without overwhelming customers.
We use innovative digital printing technology to ensure your custom-printed coffee packaging is a perfect representative of your brand.
We also offer a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time, and low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing a commitment to sustainability.