What Is French Roast Coffee A Real Roast For Coffee Lovers!

What Is French Roast Coffee? A Real Roast For Coffee Lovers!

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:17

You have seen this everywhere and perhaps even in Starbucks and are wondering what is French roast coffee?

I’ll tell you straight, it is a great tasting coffee roast that has its origins in the great European nation of France – who are well known for their great culinary culture!

Keep reading for the details about French roast coffee.

What Is French Roast Coffee?

A French roast coffee is one that has been roasted to 240C (464F), making it the third darkest of all the dark roast coffees ahead of a full city roast and Vienna roast but behind an Italian roast.

It is a perfect roast for making espresso shots and espresso based drinks both with and without milk as it is deep and dark enough on its own to enjoy as it is without it being too overpowering yet strong enough to cut through the creaminess of the milk.

The roasting process produces a coffee bean that produces a dark, deep mahogany color with a notable shiny coat of oil.

What Is French Roast Coffee
A French Roast Coffee

Read: Starbucks French roast history

French Roast Coffee Origin

The French roast and the particular roasting process dates to the 1800s and was discovered in France and was taken across their empire as the colonialists expanded, their coffee and roast followed them, eventually making its way to America where it became a popular choice.

A French roast is known as a Turkish roast in the most eastern parts of Europe. A Turkish roast is not to be confused with a Turkish coffee, which is a coffee made with a brewing process using an Ibrik which is unique to that part of Eastern Europe.

Speaking of which, a French press coffee is not to be mistaken with French roast coffee for the same reason.

What Does French Roast Coffee Taste Like?

Roasted to a deep and dark level and like all dark roasted coffee, a French roast is noted by its deep, intense, strong dark flavors with hints of smokiness and bittersweet flavor due to a mix of the charred coffee bean fibers and caramelized sugars.

It has a good body and low acidity.

A French roast has the flavors of the roasting process overpowering the natural and unique flavors from the coffee beans with little flavors of the origin or type of bean have almost completely gone.

Some French roasts have light hints of dark chocolate and subtle fruity notes.

A quick recap:

  • Very dark roast, almost burnt and smoky.
  • Bittersweet with caramelized tastes.
  • A reduced acidity compared to a lighter roast.
  • A Good body.

Let’s talk about the roasting process that makes French roast coffee beans.

What Does French Roast Coffee Taste Like
A French Roast Coffee Tastes Great

How Is French Roast Coffee Roasted?

A French roast is taken to an internal temperature of 240C (464F) and are roasted beyond the second crack, which is why they are often referred to as being double roasted.

The “crack” sound is first created by the evaporation of the water and creation of and release of steam. The second crack is the sound of the coffee beans cell walls breaking and releasing the oils.

This process creates a darker color of bean, a very deep and dark brown. At this high temperature extended roasting time, the coffee oils migrate to the surface, leaving the beans shiny and coated with coffee oils.

It is only dark roasted beans that are roasted to the second crack. Medium, medium-dark and light roast coffee are roasted to only the first crack.

All coffee beans start out as green coffee beans and can be roasted to any roast level.

French Roast Coffee Benefits

It is well established by numerous studies and research that coffee has beneficial properties for your health. A dark roast is no different.

The health benefits come from the nutritional profile and abundance of antioxidants.

The nutrients in a French roast coffee are:

  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin).
  • Potassium.
  • Magnesium.
  • Manganese.

Simply drinking dark roast coffee can aid your liver health, brain health, improve your overall nutritional profile and reduce your risk of cancer. At Latte Love Brew, we wish you best of health and encourage you to take good care of yourself. 

Is French Roast Coffee Strong?

A French roast is stronger and bolder in taste than all other roasts with the exception of an Italian roast. When you try a French roast for the first time you will notice that the coffee is noticeably

deeper and bolder in taste, even if and when you and enjoying it in a latte or another milk based coffee drink.

It cuts through the milk with ease.

Is it strong in terms of caffeine content?


A French roast is not normally strong in caffeine as the roasting process reduces the amount of caffeine, meaning it has less caffeine than a medium roast and even less still than a light roast.

What Drinks Can You Make With A French Roast?

A French roast is great for making espresso shots and all kinds of coffee beverages, both with and without milk.

Here is a quick list of drinks that you can try:

  • Caffe Latte.
  • Cappuccino.
  • Espresso.
  • Ristretto.
  • Lungo.
  • Cortado.
  • Flat White.
  • Americano.
  • Lungo.
  • Macchiato.
  • Mocha.
  • Affogato.
  • Turkish coffee.
  • And more.

The beans are great for many types of coffee brewing processes and techniques, including drip coffee, moka pot, siphon coffee, French press and an Aeropress.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Is French Roast Coffee

How Do You Describe French Roast Coffee?

The term French roast is used in a description and reference to the particular roast in the dark roast coffee category.

It is a particularly high roast and is a deep dark roast that produces a roasty taste with the characteristics of the coffee coming more from the roasting process than the origins which makes them quite the opposite in this aspect from a light roast where the majority of the flavors come from the origin, the coffee beans and little from the roasting.

A tasty deep coffee with a great flavor and caramelized tones that is brilliant for milk based espresso drinks.

Is French Roast The Same As Espresso?

French roast coffee bean and espresso roast coffee bean are one and the same. An espresso roast is an umbrella term that is used to describe the group of roasts that can be used to make an espresso.

While all dark roast coffee beans can be used for pulling a shot of espresso, it is rare that a full city roast and a Vienna roast are used.

More common is the use of French roast beans and Italian roast coffee beans. These two can be distinguished by their color and taste.

A French roast can be the same as an Espresso roast, but not always!

How Do You Use A French Roast?

A French roast can be used as a straight espresso shot and goes well in all the milk based espresso drinks. Espresso is not the only brewing process that can be used for this roast.

As corny as it sounds, French roast beans are great in a French press or other full immersion brewing method. Moka pot, siphon and a drip coffee maker.

Why Does French Roast Coffee Taste Burnt?

A French roast coffee tastes burnt because the roasting process takes the beans to a high temperature of 240C (464F). The burnt taste and bitter notes go hand in hand and are caused by the charred and burnt fibers of the coffee beans.

It is a characteristic of the roast and roasting of the beans.

Does French Roast Coffee Have More Caffeine?

No, a French roast coffee has a reduced caffeine content when compared to other roasts. As a very general rule of thumb, as you go up the roast levels, the lower the caffeine content gets.

There is not a great difference in the amount of caffeine between each of the coffee roasting processes.

The amount of caffeine that is in coffee beans is a lot more complicated than the roast profile. The type of coffee bean, arabica or robusta plays its role as does the actual bean, how it is processed, its location and more.

…And the brewing process plays a large role too.

Is French Roast Good For Cappuccino?

Yes, a French roast is great for cappuccino, particularly if you want a potent and strong coffee flavor dominating your beverage.

Personally, I find a French roast better than the two other dark roasts of Full City and Vienna below it.

Final Thoughts – What Is French Roast Coffee?

If you have read this far, you know all about this rather deep and dark roast of coffee. If anyone asks you what is French roast coffee, you can explain it to them or point them to this article.

Did you try a French roast coffee

How did you brew it? What coffee beverage did you make?

Join our online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your coffee creations, recipes, ideas and images. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

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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