Dark Roast Vs French Roast - The Facts By A Coffee Lover

Dark Roast Vs French Roast – The Facts By A Coffee Lover

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:25

There are many questions about dark roasts and French roast that need to be answered, this article is a Dark roast Vs French roast detailing both coffees and leaving it to you to make the choice of which is best for you and if you really want to try a French roast.

As you’ll find out, a French roast is a dark roast. I’ll lay down the details in just a second!

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about a dark roast coffees and a French roast.

Dark Roast Vs French Roast – What Is A Dark Roast?

Dark roast and French roast, it’s about the roasting process and getting granular. The term dark roast or dark roast coffee is a whole category of different roasts. It is the biggest of all three roast categories.

The three roast categories are:

  • Light roast.
  • Medium roast.
  • Dark roast.

Dark roast coffee is the roasting process where the beans have been roasted at a higher temperature and for a little longer than medium roast coffee and light roast coffee beans.

At this darker roast level the beans have been roasted at 225C to 245C (437F to 473F) varying depending on which one of the four distinctive roasts in this category, which are:

  • Full city roast (roasted at 225C (437F).
  • Vienna roast (roasted at 230C (446F).
  • French roast (roasted at 240C (464F).
  • Italian roast (roasted at 245C (473F).

At these higher temperatures, the beans begin releasing their oils with the levels of surface oil increasing as we go up and through the roasts in the category with an Italian roast having the most oil on the surface.

The color also becomes darker as you move up through the roast level, from a medium dark brown of a full city roast to an almost completely black of an Italian roast.

This roast of coffee has a richer flavor, a fuller flavor than a light roast coffee. Unfortunately, a dark roast has lost almost all of their flavors from the origin. A fully city roast may have some of the flavors of origin, a French and Italian roast most certainly has none of the flavor of origin.

Roast Profile Roasting Temperature Characteristics Of The Roast
Full City Roast 225C (437F) Medium-dark brown in color and has only patches of oil on the surface. Roasted only to the beginning of the second crack. Fully developed body with characteristic of the roast being very prominent.
Vienna 230C (446F) A moderate dark brown color and has light surface oil, caramel notes and bittersweet tones with a muted acidity.
French 240C (464F) Dark brown in color and has a shiny coating of oil. A reduced acidity and deep caramel tones. Smoky aroma.
Italian 245C (473F) Almost completely black in color and with burnt tones with a thin body and almost no acidity. Very deep, bold and smoky.

French roast coffee beans are coffee beans that are notably darker than all other dark roasted coffee beans with the exception of an Italian roast.

A French roast produces a more robust and dominant richer flavor and bold taste that is deep, dark, smoky, bittersweet with caramel tones.

This roasted coffee and roasting style produces a very tasty coffee. It is the most popular dark roast based on sales volume. You may know it as an espresso roast or if you are out in the eastern parts of Eastern Europe you might know it as a Turkish roast.

What that said, a French roast coffee is not to be mistaken or confused with a French press coffee, the latter of which is a brewing method.

Dark Roast Vs French Roast
Top Quality French Roast Beans

Read: Italian roast vs French roast

The question, is a French roast stronger than a dark roast, is a complicated question to answer as a French roast is a dark roast. It is the third-darkest roast of the four dark roast coffees. It has a strong, potent flavor with a pungent taste.

There is no doubting that you will enjoy an intense brew with a lingering aftertaste.

In terms of caffeine there is not a lot between the four dark roasts, no real notable difference in terms of stimulation.

As it is with coffee roasting, the deeper and darker a coffee is roasted, the less caffeine it has. This means that as far as caffeine content goes a French roast would have the second least amount.

Personally, I don’t recommend that you look at a coffee bean or roast profile for its caffeine content. There is a reason why this is not stated on the bag! The brewing technique and the way that you have your coffee play a more significant role in how much caffeine is in your cup of coffee than the actual roast.

Also, the type of coffee bean has a large role as a robusta has 2.2x more than an arabica bean. There are many variables to consider when judging how much caffeine a coffee has.

French Roast Vs Dark Roast – What Does A Dark Roast Coffee Taste Like?

A dark roast coffee is rich, bold and has a full body. They are known for being oily, which leads to a toasty, roasty bittersweet flavor and with a good dark chocolate flavor, often with hints of caramel.

Depending on the particular beans in question, you have some light notes of fruits and fruity flavors.

What Does A French Roast Coffee Taste Like?

This dark coffee roast has a reduced acidity and is bold, very bold, rich, and bittersweet caramel hints and lingering aromas and aftertastes that are characteristic of a typical and traditional coffee flavor.

There are very little fruity flavors and little of the flavors of origins are still there.

A French roast is a type of coffee roast that belongs to the dark roast category. Due to the prolonged roasting time and slightly higher temperature, it is a roast that stands out in the category for their maltier flavor profile with bittersweet notes and smoky taste.

What Is Darker Than A French Roast Coffee?

In the dark roast category of coffee roasts, only an Italian roast is darker. Italian roast is the most common name used, it is however known as a dark French and a Spanish roast also.

This coffee is not for the faint-hearted as it is very dark, very bitter and quite an acquired taste.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dark Roast Vs French Roast

Many coffee drinkers fall into the dark roast caffeine myth of believing that because a coffee tastes strong and potent in terms of a deep traditional coffee flavor and thinking that this means it has more caffeine.

Dark roast coffee is not the strongest in caffeine content; it is actually the weakest roast category in terms of caffeine kick. The lighter roasts have more with a light roast, and in particular a Blonde roast and a white coffee having the most caffeine.

A white coffee is a blonde roast that is roasted only half way.

Coffee beans lose caffeine during the roasting process. The higher the temperature and longer they are roasted, the more caffeine is lost during the process.

The coffee roast that has more of the complex flavors and from the origin is a light roast. These are full of the fruity tanginess and floral aromas.

The coffee roast with a more of deep, dark traditional and typical coffee flavor with hints of dark chocolate flavor and caramel sweetness are dark roasts.

A medium roast has a complex mix of both a light and a dark roast while a medium-dark roast edges towards more of a traditional coffee taste and less of the fruity floral notes.

Read: What is French roast coffee?

Why Is French Roast So Bitter?

During the coffee roasting process some, not all, only some of the coffee bean fibers get carbonized, which in turn produces a charcoal flavor which produce that bitter flavor.

Due to the bitterness in coffee coming from the coffee bean fibers getting burnt and charred, the most bitter coffee are the dark roasts.

The four coffees in the category are fully city roast, Vienna roast, French roast and an Italian roast. The first two are not really that bitter and some would describe a French roast as bittersweet.

The most bitter is an Italian roast. This is easily measured not only by taste but the obvious increased amount of charred fibers as the beans are almost black. The ash like burnt bitter taste dominates an Italian roast.

Final Thoughts – Dark Roast Vs French Roast

Now that you know about how a Dark roast Vs French roast weighs up and how this particular way of roasting coffee beans fits into the dark roast coffee scale and category.

Have you tried a French roast?

How did you brew it, did you go all French and use your French press?

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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