The perfect pair: matching coffee bean roasts to your brewing equipment


You’ve carefully researched the perfect coffee machine for your budget, space, and preferences – now what coffee beans should you use in it?

Before we look deeper at how to pick coffee beans for your preferred machine type or brewing method, let’s make one thing clear- there’s no right answer!

You’re free to play around with the options open to you and find out what tastes best to you. There is no coffee police, so don’t feel you have to take our advice. If you love the taste, you can’t go wrong. However, here are some general guidelines to help you get started in finding the perfect roast for your brewing method.

Picking the right roast for your brewing method

Here are some tried-and-true classic roast and brew pairs for you to try:

Light roasts

Talking generally, the lighter the roast, the more of the coffee beans original taste you preserve. This means that lighter roasts, particularly those with subtle tasting notes like florals and fruits, tend to benefit from a lighter hand when brewing them.

This means they’re best showcased with filter or pour-over brewing methods, that don’t ‘challenge’ or impact the flavour profile too heavily. Try your most delicate coffee beans in a Chemex or Hario V60, and allow those intricate flavours to shine.

That said, some single-origin light-roasted beans make for a great espresso shot, but you will need to experiment a little. An Aeropress can also deliver a bright and vibrant cup with a light roast.

Medium roasts

Moving on to the popular medium roasts, there’s almost nothing they can’t do- and that goes for their brewing method, too. Medium roasts are incredibly popular, as they deliver a fantastic balance and versatility.

Medium roasts have long been the go-to roast for automatic drip coffee makers. Generally, this produces a cup with moderate body and balanced acidity. Medium roasts are also used in traditional espresso blends, where they bring a great balance of acidity, sweetness, and body to the table.

A fan of the French Press? Medium roasts can deliver a balanced and rich cup in a French press.

Medium-dark roasts

When you dive deeper (or darker) into the roast world, you’ll find more development in the oils and sugars of the coffee beans. This delivers a notable mouth feel, fuller body, and slightly caramelised taste.

Medium-dark roasts are particularly good for strong and robust espresso blends with bold flavours. If you love the idea of espresso without the fuss (or the machine), you can also throw your favourite medium-dark roasts in a Moka Pot, which will deliver an intense, strong cup very similar to espresso.

If you’re getting adventurous, they’re also great as cold brew coffees with a strong kick, but without the overwhelming strength of dark roasts.

Dark roasts

The tall, dark, and handsome strangers of the coffee world, dark roasts place less emphasis on the subtle nuances of flavour and instead deliver bold, smokey, and powerful coffee. It’s all about the body and mouthfeel with these coffee beans.

This makes them ideal for use in traditional Italian-style espresso, producing a strong and intense shot. They’re also great for French Presses, where you will get a robust, hearty cup for your troubles.

Typically, they’re used in espresso-based drinks and ‘hard coffees’ for this same reason. If you like a milky coffee, such as a latte or cappuccino, they’re also a great go-to choice. The strength and power of the roast help to cut through the milk and keep the drink
palatable and fresh.

What about bean-to-cup machines?

One of the most popular coffee machines in the world right now, bean-to-cup machines are very versatile, too. Offering ‘in-house’ grinding without the need for a separate machine, they offer a convenient and quick way to bring most roasts to life. They also help guarantee the freshest possible cup.

Because of this, any fresh roast, no matter how dark, will taste great from a bean-to-cup machine. Medium roasts are the most typically recommended, as they balance complex flavours with natural tastes.

However, bean-to-cup machines are also fantastic for the delicate nuances of Arabica beans and single-origin beans, allowing the distinct flavour profile to shine.

Do I need specific espresso roasts?

As you get to know the world of coffee beans, you’ll see that some are offered as espresso-specific roasts. Obviously, these are a great choice for espresso machines. However, most medium and darker roasts will do well in an espresso machine, and you may even find your new favourite experimenting outside the label on the bag. So don’t hold back.

Remember, your palate is unique, and you might find that you love a roast level not typically associated with your machine. That’s half the fun of exploring the world of fresh and tasty coffee beans and the roasts that showcase them, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

by Rimgaile Vosylyte
Paid partnership with Coffee Friend