French Roast vs. Italian Roast
French roast vs. Italian roast — do you know what differentiates one from the other? There may not be official standards in the coffee industry, but roasters know there’s a difference between these two darkest coffees.
Lest there be any confusion, French roast coffee isn’t grown in France, nor is Italian roast coffee grown in Italy. However, the preferred roasting styles in those countries led to the names.
The roasting process is what determines if coffee beans are Italian or French roast. The type of beans doesn’t matter, nor does it matter where the beans come from. These beans are roasted to a higher temperature than other dark roasts, which gives them an even darker, oilier appearance.
As we’re delving into the similarities and differences of these coffee beans, we’ll cover:
Dark Roast Coffee
Dark roast coffee, as you may have already guessed, is roasted longer and reaches a higher temperature — 440 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius) than other types of coffee. This means that it possesses a few characteristics not found with other roasts.
These coffee beans are darker, ranging from very dark brown to almost black, and have opened up to release the oils inside. Dark roast coffee, when brewed, usually has a flavor profile that is smoky, chocolatey, nutty, or earthy. The brewed beverage is full-bodied and rich, while it’s often more bitter than other lighter roasts.
If you’d like to learn more about dark roast coffee beans and see some of our favorites, check out this article.
What Is French Roast Coffee?
French roast coffee is on the darker end of dark roasts, meaning that these beans are roasted even longer. While there isn’t one official definition for French roast, these coffee beans are roasted to the end of the second crack, reaching at least 464 degrees Fahrenheit (240 degrees Celsius).
Sometimes referred to as double roasted or Turkish roast, French roast coffee tastes of intense flavors that can be both smoky and sweet. It boasts a full mouthfeel with a thin body. French roast coffee works well for espresso, drip coffee, or French press coffee.
By the way, French roast has its name because its roasting style is associated with France. The coffee beans themselves are not French.
What Is Italian Roast Coffee?
Italian roast coffee is sometimes referred to as dark French because it’s roasted even longer and at a higher temperature than French roast coffee. Roasted beyond the second crack, the temperature reaches 473 degrees Fahrenheit (245 degrees Celsius).
Hence, as a result, Italian roast coffee tastes of a bold flavor, bordering on burnt. This java can also be extremely bitter. The best brew methods for Italian roast coffee are espresso, French press, and pour-over.
Italian roast coffee has a similar story to French roast coffee, in that, its name comes from the roasting style made popular in Italy. Sorry, coffee isn’t grown in this country.
Similarities and Differences
Let’s sum up the two roasts, side by side:
Similarities Between the Two
- Both kinds of coffee are dark roasts — and darker than nearly all other roasts.
- This dark roast duo brews some delicious espresso, along with French press coffee.
What’s the Difference Between French Roast and Italian Roast Coffee?
- Italian roast is marginally darker than French roast — there’s a temperature difference in roasting.
- French roast coffee has a milder, sweeter flavor than Italian roast coffee.
- Italian roast coffee beans are oilier than French roast beans.
- The flavor of Italian roast coffee is slightly stronger and more bitter than French roast coffee.
French roast coffee may contain a touch more caffeine and antioxidants. As coffee beans roast longer, they tend to lose some caffeine content and antioxidants during the process.
Which One Is Better?
French roast and Italian roast are both known for making some deliciously dark java. Truthfully, which one is better comes down to personal preference. If you’re partial to espresso or French press coffee, you can’t go wrong with either.
However, if you lean towards a lighter java with some mild hints of origin flavors, then we’d recommend French roast over Italian roast.
Italian roast coffee ventures super close to the line of burnt or charred coffee beans and occasionally steps right over it. Taste is one big difference between French roast and Italian roast — and you may receive a few more antioxidants from the former too.
No matter which side you’re on in the French roast vs. Italian roast debate, you’re sure to benefit from this discussion!
French Roast vs. Italian Roast FAQs
Is French Roast Stronger than Dark Roast?
Kind of. French roast may have slightly less caffeine than dark roasts that haven’t reached the same temperature. The longer beans roast, the less caffeine they contain. However, when beans roast longer, their flavors become stronger.
What Kind of Roast Is Italian Roast?
Italian roast coffee beans are heated to 473 degrees Fahrenheit, or 245 degrees Celsius. The beans themselves may be from anywhere in the world, but this specific roasting style was developed in Italy.
Is Italian Roast Coffee Bitter?
Yes, Italian roast coffee is often bitter. This is one characteristic of such a dark roast, as many of the original flavors have literally been roasted out of the coffee beans.
Which Is Better, Italian Roast or French Roast?
If we have to make a choice, we’d prefer French roast, simply because it’s not quite as dark as Italian roast coffee. Italian roast coffee beans are closer to being charred than French roast.
Why Is Italian Roast Coffee Different?
Italian roast coffee is one of the darkest roasts available, and many people enjoy the strong flavors and bitterness associated with it. It’s well-suited for espresso or French press coffee.
What’s the Difference Between Espresso Roast and French Roast?
Officially, there is no espresso roast — espresso refers to a method of brewing coffee, not a method for roasting coffee beans. Any roast, even light roasts, can be used for brewing espresso. French roast is one of the darkest.