What is French Roast Coffee? A Comprehensive Guide

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what is french roast coffee

Coffee has so many variations and roast types that it eventually gets confusing. Like, what are dark roasts, and are they different from French roasts?

Wait, is a French roast even considered a dark roast, or is it a light roast? And how about Turkish coffee? Is French roast Turkish roast?

We understand learning everything about coffee is a little challenging at first, especially if you’re a budding or novice coffee enthusiast.

So, let’s break down some coffee facts for you.

We’ll discuss everything you need to know about French roast coffee, including what it is, how it’s made, and our best French roast coffee list.

What is French Roast Coffee?

French roast coffee is a type of dark roast coffee that has a rich, robust flavor with a bitter and slightly smoky taste. It is known for its dark brown color and shiny surface, which is a result of the oils that are extracted during the roasting process.

French roast coffee is typically made from Arabica coffee beans, which are roasted at a high temperature until they turn dark brown.

Origin of French Roast Coffee

The origin of French roast coffee can be traced back to 19th-century France, where coffee roasting was a popular practice. French roast coffee was first created as a way to disguise the low-quality coffee beans that were imported from other countries.

The dark roast helped to mask the sour and bitter taste of the beans, making them more palatable. Over time, French roast coffee became popular in other countries as well and is now one of the most popular coffee blends in the world.

Production Process of French Roast Coffee

The production process of French roast coffee is quite simple. First, the coffee beans are harvested and then washed to remove any dirt or debris. After the washing process, the beans are dried in the sun or using a drying machine.

Once the beans are dried, they are roasted at a high temperature, usually between 460-480 degrees Fahrenheit, until they turn dark brown. The roasting process takes between 12-15 minutes, depending on the type of roaster used.

Unique Characteristics of French Roast Coffee

French roast coffee has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other coffee blends. The dark roast gives the coffee a bold and intense flavor with a slightly bitter taste. The coffee has a smoky aroma with a hint of chocolate, making it a perfect choice for those who prefer a strong and rich coffee.

The coffee has a low acidity level, making it easier on the stomach and ideal for those who have acid reflux.

Benefits of French Roast Coffee

Rich in antioxidants

French roast coffee contains antioxidants that help fight inflammation and protect the body against free radical damage.

Reduces risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Studies have shown that regular consumption of French roast coffee can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Reduces risk of developing Parkinson’s disease

Some research suggests that drinking French roast coffee may help reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Reduces risk of developing liver cancer

Regular consumption of French roast coffee has been associated with a reduced risk of developing liver cancer.

Improves mental alertness

The caffeine in French roast coffee can improve mental alertness and focus.

Increases energy levels

Drinking French roast coffee can also increase energy levels and improve physical performance.

What Does French Roast Coffee Taste Like?

French roast coffee tastes charred yet sweet. It’s intense and bold, slightly bitter, and smoky with a hint of sweetness. Its coffee beans do little to influence its flavor since its roasting method covers most of the beans’ original flavors.

French roast tends to have less acid and caffeine than light roasts due to its roasting time, which breaks down most of the acid and caffeine molecules.

So, French roast coffee suits people who love savoring dark flavors yet avoid too much caffeine.

It’s also best for those who aren’t picky or specific with their coffee preferences. French roast can come from any coffee bean, and people who drink it can’t usually guess its origin beans due to the strong smoky flavor.

french roasts

How is French Roast Coffee Roasted?

French roast coffee is roasted in very high heat that forces the coffee beans to reach an internal temperature of 464F. The goal here is to crack the beans twice: once when steam is released, and another when the beans’ cell walls break down to release its natural oils and allow those oils to wrap around the beans’ surface.

French Roast vs. Italian Roast Coffee

French roast is roasted at a higher temperature for a longer time than Italian roast coffee. So, you can expect that Italian roast is milder-tasting than French roast, with the former retaining more of its natural bean flavors compared to the latter.

Where to Buy French Roast Coffee

You can buy French roast coffee online or in grocery stores near you. However, we prefer buying on Amazon since it’s convenient. We also already managed to find our top five favorite French roast coffee brands, so there’s that.

Best French Roast Coffees on Amazon

Whether you’re trying French roast for the first time or switching to a different brand, we’d love to help you out! So, give one of these best French roast coffees a try and see if you’ll have a new favorite soon!

1. Starbucks French Dark Roast Ground Coffee

Starbucks Dark Roast Ground Coffee is one of the most celebrated labels at Starbucks. It comes from ethically sourced 100% Arabica coffee beans, and it’s guaranteed to give you an explosive, pure French roast flavor.

Why it’s one of our favorites: Surprisingly enough, Starbucks’ French roast retains most of its beans’ aromas, unlike other French roasts. It was definitely a treat!

2. Amazon’s Solimo French Coffee Pods

Solimo offers its customers dark, smooth French roast beans that are a little more bitter and less smoky than Starbucks. It’s compatible with Keurig coffee makers, so if you’re a Keurig fan like us, this would be a plus for you.

Moreover, Solimo comes from 100% Arabica beans in Latin America, Africa, and Indonesia, but note that it doesn’t have a fair-trade label. On the plus side, they use 100% recycled plastic, so it still fits in with eco-conscious customers.

You can buy Solimo in a large, 100-pod pack, so it should last you for a long time. This often makes new customers hesitant on trying it out. But then, if you do the math and see that each pod only costs $0.34 and consider that Solimo is under a satisfaction guarantee from Amazon, you might change your mind.

Why it’s one of our favorites: You can say goodbye to worrying about your French roast’s oil ruining the beans since Solimo’s pods are vacuum-sealed! Whenever we bought this, we always had fresh French coffee no matter how long it’s been in storage.

3. Bestpresso French Roast K-Cup Pods

Bestpresso offers kosher-certified, 100% organic French coffee beans. They’re a rising brand in the coffee industry, and they’ve been using 100% recyclable plastic in their cups. You can expect to taste classic French roast from Bestpresso, no more and no less.

Why it’s one of our favorites: Bestpresso French roast comes in K-cups!

4. Tully’s French Roast K-Cup Pods

Tully’s uses a traditional, slow-roasting process for their French coffee beans. This helps them guarantee that their customers can enjoy coffee’s wonderful aroma and French roast’s distinct flavor.

Compared to the other brands we mentioned, Tully’s French roast is lightly bitter, light-bodied, intensely flavored. It manages to balance sweetness, French roast’s burnt undertone, and a smoky aftertaste in a perfect blend.

Why it’s one of our favorites: It’s Keurig-compatible and perfectly flavored!

5. Trader Joe’s Organic French Roasted Beans

We just love the idea of beginning our day with a cup of French roast coffee beans grown on the slopes of the Tajumulco volcano. If you’re wondering where Tajumulco is, it’s in Guatemala, and it’s the perfect spot for growing coffee plants.

Trader Joe harvests these high-quality beans, prepares delicate French roasts out of them, and renders them ready for your kitchen. These beans are 100% organic and taste bold with a bright finish.

Why it’s one of our favorites: It’s fair-trade coffee, and we love supporting fair-trade, organic coffee brands. We also love its cheerful flavor despite being dark.


Is French roast coffee bitter?

Like every dark roast coffee, French roasted coffee is slightly bitter. However, it’s not purely bitter: it’s smoky and caramel-sweet at the same time.

Is French roast coffee acidic?

Dark roasts like French roasts are less acidic than light roasts. This is because French roasted beans break down more from the way they’re roasted, resulting in lesser amounts of acid and caffeine.

Is French roast coffee vegan?

French roast beans are vegan. They’re not exposed to animal products nor do they contain animal by-products.

Are French roast beans stronger than dark roasts?

French roasted coffee isn’t stronger than dark roast – it’s a type of dark roast.

How Should I Brew French Roast Coffee Beans?

To brew French coffee beans, start by using hot water at 195 F. Then, use a shorter brewing time than you would if you were brewing light roasts, which should be around three minutes or less. This ensures your French coffee doesn’t come out as too bitter, dry, or less sweet.

how to drink french roast coffee

How should I drink French-roasted coffee?

You can drink French-roasted dark coffee while hot with or without adding milk or cream. You may also chill it in the fridge, and again, it’s up to you to decide if you like your coffee extra dark or with more sweetness.

How should I store my French-roasted coffee?

Store French roast beans in an airtight container, and keep them away from heat and sunlight. Exposure to air will oxidize the dark roast beans fast, and exposure to heat will ruin the flavor and aroma.

Does French-roasted coffee have more caffeine?

As mentioned earlier, dark roasts like French coffee beans have less caffeine than lighter roasts since the caffeine breaks down during the roasting process.

Is French roast the same as Turkish coffee?

We already talked a little about this earlier, too – the former is a type of roast, while the latter is a type of coffee preparation method.

What’s the difference between light roast and French roast?

Light roasts are roasted in a shorter amount of time, so they tend to have lighter shades and fuller bean flavors. On the other hand, French roasts are roasted until they crack twice, which usually almost results in charred coffee beans with strong smoky-sweet flavors.

What’s lighter than French roast coffee?

Espresso roast is lighter than French roasted beans.

What’s darker than French roast coffee?

Spanish roast coffee is darker than French roasted beans. Spanish roast coffee features a stronger charred flavor, darker colors, and oilier beans.

Does bean quality matter to French roasted beans?

Most manufacturers don’t pay much attention to bean quality when it comes to French roast. This is because the goal is to create a dark roast with a dark flavor, not to savor the beans’ flavors themselves. However, our favorite French roasted beans list contains high-quality beans.

Bottom Line

We hope our guide helped you become less confused about coffee roasts and coffee types. If you’re ready to get started on your French roast coffee journey, don’t forget to check our recommended products!

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