French Roast vs. Italian Roast Coffee – Bold and Dark Roasted Beans

Some drink coffee just to put some pep in their step in the morning, and some view drinking coffee as an art. No matter how you enjoy drinking your cup o’ joe, there’s no doubt that you want it to taste as delicious as possible. There are several different coffees out there, and the type of roast directly impacts the taste. Let’s have a closer look at French Roast vs Italian Roast coffee to see which one suits your taste buds better!

French Roast vs. Italian Roast Coffee

The process of roasting coffee alters the physical and chemical properties of green coffee beans into roasted coffee products. It is this process that develops the characteristic coffee flavor. The process involves heating the beans, and it is what transforms the coffee into the aromatic, rich brown beans that every coffee drinker – even those who drink it just to get a pick-me-up – is familiar with.

There are three main types of roasts: light, medium, and dark. Dark roasts were first introduced in Europe in the 1800s. Soon after it came onto the scene, it became a hit, and it has remained popular ever since. It has a thick, robust, full-bodied flavor and a highly aromatic scent.

Italian vs French Roast Coffee Beans

If you prefer adding milk or creamer to your coffee, dark roast coffee is an excellent choice. When you’re shopping for coffee or ordering a cup of java at your local coffee house, you’re going to find that there are several different dark roasts available.

Two of the most common options include French and Italian roast. These coffee beans get their names from the regions where they were first created. French roast was first made in France, and Italian roast was developed in Italy.

Do note that the names indicate the countries where they were first roasted, not where the beans are grown; in other words, Italian roast coffee can be grown in any location, but the beans are roasted at the level that was developed in Italy. The same rule applies to French roast coffee. While both are dark roast coffees, are there any other similarities, or are there differences between the two types of beans? Let’s find out.

What is French Roast Coffee?

Dark roasted beans - French Roast compared to Italian Roast

As mentioned above, French roast coffee is a dark roast coffee that originated in France. This regional style of roasting was widespread across many European countries, and eventually, it gained traction around the globe. Today, French roast is an all-encompassing term that is often used to describe all dark roasts; however, it is not accurate. Only coffee beans are roasted using the levels that originated in France. On occasion, French roast coffee is called “Turkish” roast, as well as “espresso” roast (which is not correct), or simply as “dark” roast.

French roast is a dark roasted coffee bean characterized by a strong, smoky, yet sweet taste. It is considered a double roast coffee. The body of this type of coffee is thin, and it has what is referred to as a full “mouthfeel.” That term is used to describe the physical sensation that a beverage or food creates in the mouth, including the roof of the mouth and the tongue. Mouthfeel should not be confused with flavor or taste, but rather the sensation that it creates when a beverage or food is in the mouth or after it has been swallowed.

When compared to lighter roasts of coffee, which have a high acidity level, French roast brews are much less acidic. It often has a note that can be equated to charcoal. In short, French roast coffee has an intense, bold, smoky, but a bit sweet flavor profile with a low acidity level.

What is Italian Roast Coffee?

Italian roast coffee is also a dark roast. The roasting style originated in Italy, which is indicated by the name. Italian roast coffees can be made from coffee beans that are grown in any region of the world. Italian roast is dark in color with an almost oily-like appearance; however, it isn’t as dark or oily as French roast varieties of coffee.

Italian coffee beans are slow-roasted; the roasting process is slower than the roasting process used for French roast beans. Because of the slow roasting process, the natural acidity level of the coffee beans is lessened, making it smoother to drink. It has a strong, robust flavor – even more so than French roast – and it can have a bitter or somewhat burnt, full-bodied taste. Italian roast coffees are sometimes referred to as “dark French roasts.”

Is Italian Roast Coffee Stronger than French Roast Coffee?

While both French and Italian roast coffee beans are dark in color, rich in fragrance, and full-bodied in flavor, Italian roasts are a bit darker than French roasts. As a result, Italian roast beans are a bit more oily than French roasted beans.

Both varieties are roasted at high levels, but the internal temperatures vary. Italian roasts can go up to a maximum internal temperature of 225 degrees. The internal temperature of French roasted beans can go as high as 240 degrees.

Though French roasts are roasted at a higher temperature, Italian roasts are roasted for a more extended time.

Regarding the flavor profile, both have a robust, rich, full-bodied taste with a low acidity level and a slight hint of bitterness, and even a burnt taste. In terms of strength, Italian roast coffee is stronger than French roast.

Different Roast Grades including French and Italian roasts

Is French Roast Coffee Healthy?

Many people assume that coffee is bad for their health; however (and pleasantly), that is a common misconception. Many studies have found that drinking coffee can be beneficial for your health, including all coffees. However, you may still be wondering if there are any additional health advantages associated with coffees that are roasted for a longer time.

According to several scientific studies, darker roasts coffees are healthier than light and medium roasts. That is primarily due to the higher concentration of Phenylindanes (a chemical compound that coffee generates that prevents the buildup of harmful proteins within the brain) found in dark roast coffees. Phyenylindanes in dark roast coffee contain beta-amyloid and tau, which have a significant role in the development of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Also, dark roast coffees – including French roast – contain other healthful nutritional benefits, including:

  • Antioxidants
  • Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Niacin
  • Potassium
  • Thiamine
  • Magnesium

These vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are vital for your overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In other words, yes, French roast coffee is healthy for you. However, as with anything else in life, everything in moderation, drinking too much caffeine could have adverse effects on your health.

Is Italian Roast the Same as Espresso?

Many assume that Italian roast coffee and espresso are the same; however, there are differences between them. Espresso describes how the coffee is made, not the roast level.

With that said, however, you can use Italian roast to make espresso; however, you can use all types of beans roasted at all kinds of levels to make espresso, too. Because espresso is intended to have a robust, intense flavor, Italian and French roasts are excellent for espresso.

French Roast vs. Italian Roast Coffee
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