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What is French Roast Coffee – All You Want to Know

by Lily
what is french roast coffee

What is French Roast Coffee and How Does It Compare to Other Roasts?

Even though many people ask for French roast coffee when buying, they may not know where the name comes from. This popular coffee often has a charred or ‘burnt’ coffee flavor because it is roasted to a darker color than other beans. Its darker roasting gives the coffee a smoky, rich flavored sweetness.

What is French Roast Coffee?

The roasting style now known as French roast coffee became popular in Europe in the early 19th century. Almost all dark roasted coffees are now called French roast coffee, but some people also refer to them as Turkish coffee or Dark roast. Some people incorrectly also call it Espresso roast.

What Flavor Does French Roast Coffee Have?

Dark roasted coffee is essentially double roasted, bringing out intense characteristics of smoke and sweetness. The mouthfeel is thin-bodied and it is also far less acidic than light roasted coffee.

The overpowering flavor of the smokiness and sweetness overtakes any of the flavor and aroma of the coffee beans, making it almost impossible to taste the origin of the coffee bean.

If one were to summarize the flavor profile, it could be described as: A bold, intense flavor that is dark, somewhat sweet, less acidic, and leaves a watery mouthfeel because of its thin body.

Can Anyone Make Their Own French Roast?

The secret to roasting any coffee starts from the quality of the raw coffee beans, which are at their most flavorful within the first week of roasting. Anyone can make their own French roast coffee at home.

Raw coffee beans increase in size as they roast, but also lose half their weight during the process, so the finished product will weigh half its original weight.

Coffee beans need to be roasted at a temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit (240 °C) which can be achieved in a coffee roaster. People also use popcorn makers and cast iron-skillets. The idea is to stir the beans while they are been heated. During the roasting process, the color of the beans slowly change from green, yellow, light brown and then finally, the dark brown color of French roast. The coffee bean expels its oils and gets a shiny appearance. It must not be allowed to burn, otherwise, it will have a horrible flavor.

At the light brown stage, the experts start to listen for the crackling sound that indicates that the husk has separated from the raw bean. A bit later there is a second crack when the cell wall breaks down to release the oils to the surface. The husks can be blown off the beans and when they cool, they can be stored in a half seal container for up to two days to allow the carbon dioxide, which the beans let off, to evaporate. After two days they are ready to grind and brew; thereafter they are at their freshest for the next five days because the oils can turn the coffee rancid after that.

If you’d like more information, check out this guide for how to roast coffee beans at home.

Do French Roast Espresso Beans Have Higher Caffeine Levels?

The good news for French roast coffee lovers is that it actually has lower levels of caffeine. This is because the longer the coffee bean is roasted the more caffeine-containing molecules are reduced. It is the perfect choice for people looking to reduce their caffeine intake.

What is the Best Way to Drink French Roast Coffee?

Drip-brewed methods, often also called filtered or Americano coffees are one of the best ways to enjoy French roast coffee. The bold flavor is also suited to the making of espressos or to be brewed in a plunger (French press).

I’ve tried making My Famous Keto Almond Cream Latte with French Roast espresso beans, and it was fantastic!

Are There Darker Roasts?

Dark French Roast coffee has a darker color and shinier appearance but has a stronger charred flavor. The darkest coffee available is Spanish roast coffee.

What Espresso Beans is French Roast Coffee Made From?

Only the method of roasting the coffee is location derived, the coffee itself is not from France.

There is a wide variety of beans that can be used for the perfect French Roast. Many feel that even inferior coffee beans work because the dark roasting will mask any absence of quality. Many coffee roasters may use single coffees from Brazil or Kenya, but blends also work very well. The most popular coffees for blending include African beans from Ethiopia and Uganda, beans from Central America, Southern America, and Indonesia. Vietnamese Robusta beans are also a very popular choice for people who want their French roast coffee to have a higher caffeine content. This coffee bean has a high enough caffeine content to ensure that even after the roasting process, it still remains high.

Which Coffees Are Lighter?

The most popular coffee for espresso shots is the espresso roast and it’s a bit lighter in color than French roast coffee. Full roasts like Continental roast, High roast, and Vienna roast are even lighter.

Where to Buy French Roast Espresso Beans?

Many coffee blends are unfortunately mixed with inferior coffee beans, hoping that the higher roasting time will mask the lack of flavor.

Consumers should be careful about blends and also be wary about low prices because this indicates that the coffee is not derived from environmentally sustainable or Fair-Trade sources.

Fair-Trade coffee promotes a just relationship between coffee farmers and traders, ensuring that the farmers are not exploited.

 Coffee specialty shops are usually the best place to source good quality French roast coffee or raw coffee beans. Many of these have an online presence and ordering can be done from the comfort of the home or office.


Coffee lovers all have a strong opinion on why they love or hate French roast coffee. As the debate rages, it is still a highly popular choice. When roasted correctly, it is less acidic and provides a flavorful cup of coffee with lower caffeine.

In order to avoid over-roasting, French roast coffee lovers should buy the best quality pre-roasted coffee beans from their favorite coffee roasting shop.

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