Home Coffee Knowledge What is French Roast Coffee? 5 Reasons To Avoid It

What is French Roast Coffee? 5 Reasons To Avoid It

What is French Roast Coffee? 5 Reasons To Avoid It

Some people like their coffee strong, rich, and manly. That is why they pick the darkest roast they can use in their coffee drinks.

One of the darkest and most unique coffee experiences they can get is a French roast.

So, what is French roast coffee, and why are some people going crazy over it? Should you avoid it?

French Roast Coffee

What is French Roast Coffee?

Contrary to what you may think, French roast coffee has nothing to do with coffee beans harvested and roasted in France. Instead, the French roast describes the coffee beans’ color after roasting. 

The dark roasting process reflects the prevailing traditions and tastes of coffee roasters in 19th century Europe.

For example, there is the espresso roast, otherwise known as Italian roast. This dark roast has a slightly lighter shade than the French roast. There is also the Vienna roast, again paler than the Italian roast.

Editor's Pick
Starbucks Dark Roast Ground Coffee — French Roast

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Starbucks Dark Roast Ground Coffee — Italian Roast

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What Does a French Roast Tastes Like?

The prolonged roasting process gives the French roast flavors and aromas unique from the conventional green coffee bean roasts.

It has a smoky flavor that some people find delicious. The brew can also have a distinct oily shine because of the over-extraction of coffee bean oils during the roasting process.

Depending on the base coffee beans, the French roast can also have hints of other aromas and flavors.

For example, Sumatran coffee beans are famous for their mushroom-like and earthy flavors. If the roaster used single-origin coffee beans, the French roast can also provide citrus, berry, or floral aromas.

5 Reasons to Avoid French Roast Coffee

French roast coffee is not for everyone, and there are plenty of reasons why many people avoid this roast. Here are five of them.

It Goes stale fast

The prolonged roasting process promotes the release of oils onto the coffee beans’ surface.

These oils can turn rancid very fast. That is why it would be best to search for and buy French roast coffee in small amounts, sufficient to give you a week’s worth of French roasted coffees.

It Uses mostly inferior blends

Since French roast refers to the roast type, roasters can use any coffee variety, even the mediocre ones. The burnt flavor of the dark roast masks the beans’ poor quality.

It would be best to buy French roast beans from a reputable roaster.

It condones unethical and unfair practices

Traders that buy inferior quality coffee cherries often exploit farmers from poor coffee-growing countries around the world.

Since growers sell their produce for a low price, they often adhere to poor farming practices that can also harm the environment.

You can contribute to a community of coffee growers by buying only products with a Fair Trade seal.

It Tastes bitter

Roasting coffee for a long time carbonized the cherry fibers, giving them a bitter taste. It is like having charcoal in your palate.

It Has No unique Coffee Flavor

Dark roasts, like French roasts, lose some of the coffee flavors unique to their origin.

It can lack the nuttiness, sweetness, and overall flavor profile of local fruits and flowers.

In short, you will not get that same engaging coffee experience you enjoy from your favorite café.



Does French roast coffee contain more caffeine?

No, French roast coffees have less caffeine content than light roast coffee.

However, French roasts weigh less because of the roasting process, requiring more coffee for the same volume of water.

So, a cup of French roast coffee will have nearly identical caffeine content with a cup of light roast coffee.

Is French Roast Coffee the same as Turkish Coffee?

No, Turkish coffee is different from French roast coffee.

The former describes the coffee preparation method, while the latter refers to the level of coffee bean roasting.

You can make Turkish coffee by using French roast coffee beans.

What do roasters mean by ‘first crack’?

It refers to the cracking sound of the coffee cherries during roasted as they reach an internal temperature of 385oF.

If the beans continue with the roasting, it can produce a second crack, signaling the beans’ internal temperature is already 464oF.

This temperature is what roasters want when making French roast.


French roast coffee is nothing more than the darkest of dark-roasted coffee beans. It produces a brew with strong, almost charred-like flavors.

The coffee drink can have hints of other flavors but are often less pronounced than what you get from other coffee roast types.

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