French Roast: Why This Roast Is Different

For many coffee drinkers, nothing tops the bold flavor of a toasty dark roast. This powerful brew packs so much flavor in each cup, making it the perfect way to start your day of with a punch of flavor and caffeine. It’s versatile, working with almost any brew method, and pairs perfectly with any coffee creamer or coffee sweetener. But for some, it’s not enough. To get the boldest, deepest flavor, some coffee aficionados turn to French roast. This extra dark bean packs the most flavor of any roast, making it the perfect way to get the most taste in each cup.

French Roast, otherwise known as a city roast or extra dark roast, is the most potently flavored coffee bean you can find on shelves. It’s been roasted the longest and the darkest, giving it even more of that characteristically toasty flavor that we love in coffee. It actually got its name from Napoleon, who would collect all of the coffee beans from nations he invaded and roasted them all to be extra dark to mask their flavor. Today, it’s one of the most popular ways to have coffee in America, so let’s find out what makes this brew so delicious.

The Roasting Process

The roasting process caramelizes the sugars in the green coffee bean, breaks down the caffeine, and imparts that burnt caramel flavor. All you have to do to get that powerful aroma is roast the beans for longer, pulling out more of the oils and toasting the sugars. This is actually often used to roast cheaper or lower quality beans to mask any impurities, but don’t let that fool you. French roasts are a potent way to get the most flavor out of your coffee.

Extra dark roasts are pretty tough to burn, and mask any inconsistency in your coffee beans. So it’s actually a great way to practice roasting your own beans at home. Whether you’re just using an iron skillet or a home coffee roaster, city roasts are quick and easy to make. When you’re roasting beans, you’ll hear a couple of cracks spaced a few minutes apart. After the second crack, you have a dark roast, but after a bit longer, you’ll have a fragrant extra dark roast.

Picking The Right Beans

Of course, the roast profile is independent of the coffee beans. So whether you have Colombian coffee or Sumatran beans, you can turn any of them into a French roast. Typically you want to use Arabica beans, but you can also use Robusta ones to save money. You can get decaffeinated or fully caffeinated beans, or by coffee that’s less acidic. No matter what your need are, you can turn any green coffee beans into an extra dark roast.

Is French Roast Stronger Than Dark Roast?

When it comes to flavor, the longer and darker the roast, the more potent of a flavor you have. So French roasts are much stronger than dark roasts when it comes to taste, assuming you’re brewing them the same way. However, it gets a little confusing if you mean which is stronger with caffeine. The roasting process actually breaks down the caffeine, so darker roasts have less caffeine than lighter ones. This means that, although it has much more flavor, an extra dark roast has the least caffeine of all the options.

And, of course, you have to consider how you make the coffee. While a pot of drip dark roast won’t be as flavorful as an extra dark, you may have better luck with an espresso shot. Because of the way heat and water extract the aromatics and oils, different brew methods may give you a more flavorful dark roast than an extra dark.

Is French Roast Better Than Other Roasts

This is a subjective question, but you can look at where French roast is different from other coffee roasts to find out what works for you the best. The roasting process has a huge impact on the chemical composition of your coffee beans, so you’re going to change how it tastes, how much caffeine you have, and how your beans are going to work with different brew methods. So by understanding these differences, you can find out if you need to add a city roast to your coffee cabinet.

Distinct and strong flavor

Your cup of joe has a distinct flavor that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s a potent mix of toasty chocolate and bold nuttiness. Add in a bit of cream and you have the most important part of your morning ritual. For many coffee enthusiasts, this is the only part of the drink that matters, so it comes down to whether you’re a fan of lighter or darker roasts.

French roast is an extra dark coffee, which means it appeals to fans of dark roasts. But if you love a citrusy, tangy light roast, then you certainly won’t want to invest in an extra dark roast. This flavorful brew can taste muddy and burnt to those who aren’t already avid fans of a cup of dark coffee.

Caffeine content

Coffee is one of the best ways to get caffeine into your system. It’s the perfect way to wake yourself up in the morning, and it’s a nice pick-me-up when you’re stretching through the last couple hours of work. But because the roasting process actually reduces the amount of caffeine in your final cup of java, you may dislike that part of French roast if that’s what you’re after. You could try to go with an extra dark Robusta, which has much more caffeine, but doesn’t taste nearly as good.

However, if you have a caffeine sensitivity, you may like this part about extra dark roasts. Light roasts have around twice the caffeine of dark roasts, which means that a city roast will have even less. So rather than reaching for a cup of decaf, consider stocking your cupboard with extra dark coffee.

Brewing methods

Different brew methods work best with French roasts. The roasting process will affect how your coffee interacts with water, changing the final brew. While you can always count on your drip coffee maker to do the job, pour over won’t make the most of your extra dark roast. So experiment a bit, but also consider the options you have for actually brewing your coffee.

The Best Ways To Make French Roast

Extra dark roasts are pretty easy to use, but there are some methods that work better than others. Because there’s much less acid and caffeine, and the sugars have been caramelized, these roasts will brew differently. You want to extract the oils and aromatics that give coffee its characteristic flavor, and some brew methods work better than others. The big 3 that should be your go-to with French roasts are espresso, drip coffee, and French press. These brews will get all of those toasty oils out of the coffee and into your cup.

How to perfectly measure the espresso

While you used to have to rely on your local coffee house to get a shot of espresso, home espresso machines have been becoming increasingly popular over the past few years. Now you can get a dosing coffee grinder that perfectly measures your espresso, letting you pull the perfect shot every time. Extra dark roasts work perfectly here, getting all of the bold flavors into a single, compact shot of espresso. It’s one of the most versatile ways to make coffee at home.

Getting more taste with drip coffee

Drip coffee is the most classic way to make coffee in America. Practically everyone has at least one drip coffee machine lying around, and for good reason. It’s a one-size-fits-all solution to get a big pot of coffee every morning. While it won’t be the best coffee you’ve ever had, it’s a pretty consistent and reliable way to do it. It also works perfectly with extra dark roasts, getting every last drop of that bold, rich flavor out of the grinds and into your cup.

French press

French press is not actually named after French roast, or vice versa. It was just a method of brewing that supposedly originated in France. This bare-bones approach to coffee brewing simply has you soaking beans in a pitcher of hot water for 4 minutes before straining the grinds with a mesh filter. This is one of the strongest ways to get a full cup of coffee, and it will get you one of the most potent cups of extra dark roasts out there.

Getting The Strongest Coffee Possible

French roast is the ideal for anyone looking to get the most powerful flavor out of each and every sip. The bold nuttiness and the charred toasty flavor work perfectly on their own or with some milk. Extra dark roasts are easy to find and to make at home, and have reduced caffeine content. So if you want to get an even stronger brew, extra dark roasts are the way to go. Just make sure that you have a coffee maker that will get the most out of your roast to ensure a potently bold cup.