What Does French Roast Mean?

Posted on Thu, Jul 02, 2015


French roast is a common coffee term that tends to get used in an inaccurate manner. It is often portrayed as a high quality, sophisticated coffee choice that hails from France making it's way to only the upper echelon of coffee drinkers mugs. The truth is, the real meaning of French roast is quite the opposite. 

  • French roast coffee does not come from France, it is simply inspired by European roasting.
  • French roast coffee is often made from lower quality beans, due to the nature of the roasting a high quality bean is not necessary to produce a great cup of coffee.
  • There is nothing particularly sophisticated about this type of coffee the term refers to nothing other than a degree of roasting.

French roast is a roasting style that takes beans to the brink of burning. They are exposed to high temperatures causing the famous cracking noise. French roast is not done until a second crack is heard, the beans are dark brown and the coffee oils cause a shiny appearance. 

The result is a coffee slightly beyond a traditional dark coffee however, this is not the darkest available- Italian and Spanish roasts are allowed even more roasting time. Due to this intense proces,  the original natural flavors of the coffee bean are virtually gone. Hence, the lack of a need for a high quality bean. Traditional coffee flavors are replaced by a sweetness caused by the caramelized sugars accented with a smoky flair. The body tend to be thin and the flavor bold. In addition, French roast coffee often have a lower acidity than lighter roasting degrees. 

French roast is a VERY popular choice in both the traditional drip style format and Keurig K cups (my favorite is made by Green Mountain). French roast coffees tend to be satisfying to most coffee drinkers especially those who like a nice dark cup that is not overdone and lacks bitterness. I always recommend French roast as a first choice to dark roast coffee lovers. Even if you are traditionally a fan of a milder cup of coffee, I would recommend at least giving French roast a try to expand your coffee drinking horizons.

Additional resources:

Click here to shop for French roast Keurig Kcups.

Click here to shop for whole bean French roast coffee.

Click here to shop for ground French roast coffee.

Topics: All about coffee

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