French Roast Coffee: A Complete Overview

French Roast coffee beans and french press.


Here at San Francisco Bay Coffee, one of our most popular coffees is French Roast. If you are new to coffee or simply looking to learn more about your favourite brew, you've come to the right place. In this guide, we will answer some common questions about French Roast coffee, discuss its benefits, and address some FAQs. 

What is French Roast coffee?

French Roast refers to a specific type of dark roast coffee beloved by coffee enthusiasts across the world. We offer many different options for French Roast lovers, including: 

Why is it called French Roast coffee?

Legend has it that the French Roast style of preparing coffee beans began in France during the 1800s. Named after the region that created the roasting style, the name is now most associated with the roasting method, and coffee does not have to be roasted in France to earn the name. In fact, coffee roasters worldwide now use this traditional method to make their own French Roast coffee. While different regions and roasters may have their own unique interpretations of the historical method, the name generally implies a specific style of flavour. 

What does French Roast coffee taste like?

French Roast coffee is well-known for its bold, caramelized flavour without the bitterness or acidity of other dark roast coffees. While the nuanced tasting notes will vary based on the beans' origin, French Roast coffee flavours can include chocolate, smoke, and roasted nuts. The extended roasting time and high roasting temperature create a rich and full-bodied coffee experience. 

How is French Roast coffee made?

The French Roast method involves roasting beans between 450 and 455 degrees for an extended period. Hitting this high roasting temperature, but not exceeding 455 degrees, turns the beans a dark brown color and creates a light oil sheen. After the beans reach the desired roasted level, they are quickly cooled to halt the roasting process. From there, the beans can be ground or packaged whole. When the coffee arrives at your doorstep, you can prepare the beans with any method you choose.  

5 Benefits of French Roast Coffee

  1. Bold Flavour - French Roast coffee is deeply caramelized, with tasting notes that can include chocolate, smoke, wood, nuts, and more. 
  2. Luscious Texture - The slight oily sheen that emerges during the brewing process imparts a rich, smooth texture that is notably different from lighter and darker beans. 
  3. Less Acidic - One thing that sets French Roast apart from lighter roasts is the acidity level. When the beans are roasted at a higher temperature for a long time, the acids break down into smaller, less impactful compounds, making French Roast smoother than some beans roasted less. 
  4. Low Bitterness - Compared to lighter roasts, French Roast coffee is perceived as less bitter. As the beans are roasted, compounds that contribute to bitterness are broken down, and other compounds are simultaneously transformed into a caramelized flavour. Additionally, the strong, bold flavours quintessential to French Roast can overshadow some of the bitterness that may be present. 
  5. Versatile - French Roast coffee is ideal for many different brewing methods, including drip, French press, and Moka pot. It can be enjoyed black, with milk and sugar, or in a specialty drink recipe

French Roast Coffee - FAQ's

Do you still have some burning questions about French Roast coffee? If so, you're not alone. Here are some frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers. 

Which coffee is stronger, Colombian or French Roast?

French Roast coffee is stronger than Colombian coffee as it is medium-roasted. In contrast to the high roasting temperatures used to make dark French Roast, Colombian coffee is medium roasted between 410 and 428°F. Light caramelization, some brightness, and a medium body typically characterize medium roast coffee. Our Colombian Supremo coffee is aromatic, smooth, and flavourful. 

Why is French Roast coffee so strong?

French Roast coffee gets its strong flavour from the length and high heat involved in the roasting process. As the beans are roasted past the second crack of the coffee bean, acidity is broken down, oils and smokiness emerge, and caramelization sets the tone for the ultimate coffee-drinking experience. 

What is unique about French Roast coffee?

The rich caramelization, full-bodied flavour, low acidity, low bitterness, and velvety texture set French Roast coffee apart from lighter and darker roasts. 

Why is French roast coffee so bitter?

Although French Roast is considered less bitter than lighter roasts, for some, the dark roasting process leads to notable bitterness. For others, the bitterness is recognized as the smoky and charcoal-like flavours that add dimension to the cup. 

To discover more delicious coffee, shop San Francisco Bay Coffee today!