What Is French Roast Coffee

As its name so aptly suggests, French roast coffee is a coffee roast that was popular in France first before it was adopted by the rest of the world. It’s characterized by a dark color and is considered to be less acidic than lighter coffee roasts. For anyone interested in this type of coffee roast, we’ve decided to do a deep dive into the subject, so everyone can learn about one of the most famous coffee roasts that currently exist. With that being said, let’s get started on our adventure.

What Is French Roast Coffee?

This type of coffee is coffee that’s been roasted almost as far as it could possibly be roasted. What we mean, is that French roasting is the second to the final step of roasting before the coffee beans become burnt and unusable. That’s why this coffee not only has a dark countenance but also has an oily texture to it. Through the roasting process, the coffee’s natural oils are raised to the surface, and this gives the coffee beans a dark brown shimmering surface.

Most other types of coffee roasts are only taken to just after the first crack of the beans. The first crack is when the steam is first released from the beans and they make a “cracking” sound. French roast coffee is taken past that point and is taken to the point where the coffee beans crack again. This second “crack” is when the coffee bean’s cellular walls begin to break down. This allows oil to rise to the beans’ surface and gives this roast its unique flavor.

What’s The Flavor Profile Of French Roast Coffee?

The next thing that we would like to talk about is the flavor profile of this coffee roast. Taking coffee beans to a French roast cancels out much of the nuances that result from the bean’s origin and type. What we mean is that this type of roasting is the great equalizer. It makes just about all coffee beans to achieve the same flavor.

The flavor of French roast coffee is smoky, intense, and bold. It’s less acidic than light roasts such as a cinnamon roast or half city roast coffees, or medium roasts such as American or breakfast roasts. However, it does have slightly higher acid levels than a quality Italian roast coffee.

Do French Roast Coffees Have More Caffeine?

One of the most frequently asked questions that we come across is whether French roast coffees have more caffeine than other types of coffee. And to that question, we have to give our reader’s a resounding no! That’s because the longer coffee beans are roasted the less caffeine they have in them. After all, caffeine isn’t stable during the roasting process. Therefore, if you’re looking for a coffee that has less caffeine than a traditional roast coffee but isn’t decaffeinated, then you might want to try a good French roast coffee.

What’s The Difference Between A French & Italian Roast?

Although many consumers like to lump French and Italian roast coffees together in the same category, they’re actually slightly different. The difference is that Italian roasts are cooked slightly longer than French roast coffee and are therefore slightly darker than French roast coffee.

How To Make Your Own French Roast Coffee?

Have you ever wondered if you could make French roast coffee at home? Well, if you have, then you might want to pay particular attention to this section. That’s because we’re going to give you—and all of our readers—the information they need to make a fine French roast coffee.

Step One: Use A Quality Coffee Roaster

The first step to making a fine French roast coffee is to choose the best coffee roaster possible. You will want to make sure to choose a roaster that allows you to have precise control over the temperature of the coffee beans. Although some people do use a skillet, stovetop popcorn maker, or a cookie sheet and their oven to roast coffee, we feel that the results aren’t as predictable as using a quality coffee bean roaster.

Step Two: Purchase Green Coffee Beans

The next step is to make sure that you purchase green coffee beans. Fortunately, there are plenty of vendors selling green coffee beans online, so it shouldn’t be all that difficult to procure some. Although the country of origin might matter for lighter roasted beans, when making French roast coffee, the variety of beans or the origin isn’t that important because just about all coffee beans are going to taste the same when French roasted.

Step Three: Ensure You Have Proper Ventilation

Roasting coffee beans produces a lot of smoke, and roasting coffee beans to a dark roast produces a whole lot of smoke, so be sure to make sure you have the proper amount of ventilation in your home. That means having the vent over your stove running and having several windows open. Yes, dark roasting beans produce that much smoke, so be sure to plan ahead before you begin roasting to avoid smoking yourself out of your own home.

Step Four: Watch The Beans Carefully

The beans are going to go through all of the stages of the roasting process from the actual yellowing of the beans and past the second crack. With the first audible snap of the second crack, the beans have entered the Full City Plus roast level. As the beans progress through the second crack, they pass through the Continental or Light French roast level. As the second crack begins to accelerate and the beans are approximately 474-degrees Fahrenheit, the beans have obtained a Full French roast. If the temperature of the beans is taken over the 474-degree temperature, then the beans reach Italian roast levels.

It’s important to watch the beans through this process carefully because coffee beans can go from a Light French roast to a Full Dark French roast in as little as 30-seconds, so if you’re not carefully watching them roast, then you can easily end up burning them.

A Roasting Temperature Chart

It can be difficult for people to understand how to achieve certain roast levels, so we thought that we’d include a table that will help all of our readers obtain the perfect roast level for their beans. As you can see on the following chart, a Full French roast is approximately 474-degrees Fahrenheit, while a Light French roast is only 465-degrees Fahrenheit.

  • The First Crack Starts 401-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The First Crack Continues 415-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • City Roast: 426-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The Second Crack Begins 435-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • City Plus Roast: 435-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Full City Roast: 446-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Full City Plus Roast: 454-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Vienna ( Or Light French) Roast: 465-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Full-French Roast: 474-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Italian Roast: 475 to 480-Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Burnt: 481+ Degrees.