There are too many coffee roasts to keep up with these days.
Especially on the darker end of the spectrum.
Italian and French roast coffees are two of the most prominent dark roast coffees on shelves these days.
So that begs the question: what is the difference? The main difference between Italian roast and French roast coffee is that Italian roast is typically darker, bolder, and roasted for longer than French roast.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Let’s take a deeper dive into the world of dark roast coffees.
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What Is A French Roast?
French roast coffee is a type of coffee roast that is darker than typical dark roasts. That is, it’s generally roasted for a longer time than a standard dark roast.
But why, you ask? Well, there’s a huge market for French roast coffees.
The beans are roasted at a high temperature and for a long time, which results in the caramelization of the sugars and the development of a deeper, more robust flavor.
Catching on a little bit? That’s right; French roast coffees are strong, robust, rich, and bold. They make great coffees after adding cream and sugar or as the base for espresso drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos.
French roast coffee is often described as having a smoky or charred taste. And one thing to note is that because of the dark roast, it doesn’t matter as much which coffee beans are used.
Most French roasts taste the same, no matter the type of coffee bean or the country of origin. That’s why some French roast coffees are made with a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans instead of just Arabica beans.
A French roast is an excellent option for someone who wants a rich and bold cup of coffee.
What Is An Italian Roast?
Italian roast coffee is another dark roast. On the surface, it looks and feels like a French roast.
But don’t be fooled.
Italian roasts are actually an entirely separate thing.
Italian roasts are roasted at a very high temperature for a long time. The result is dry, almost black coffee beans with a very strong taste.
Italian roast coffee is often described as having a smoky or charred taste.
Italian roast coffee is similar to French roast coffee, but it is generally roasted to an even darker degree, which results in an even more intense flavor and a more pronounced smoky taste.
As with French roasts, Italian roasts are popular espresso options for making specialty drinks like lattes.
Italian roasts are typically made from Arabica beans, which are known for their sweetness and complex flavor profiles. Sometimes Italian roasts will be a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. But they are more traditionally all Arabica.
Are Italian Roast And French Roast The Same Thing?
We need to get into the big differences between Italian and French roasts.
You should understand those differences before you choose one over the other.
As I said earlier, the big difference between Italian and French roasts is the time they are roasted for.
They are both roasted darker than more traditional dark roasts, but Italian roast coffee is even darker than French roast.
In fact, Italian roast coffee is one of the darkest coffees in the world.
One other thing to consider is the caffeine content of each one.
In reality, darker roasts tend to have less caffeine than lighter roasts. That’s because, during the roasting process, much of the natural oils in the coffee beans are burnt off. And in those oils is where we find caffeine.
So that means Italian roasts will have less caffeine than French roasts because they are a touch darker and roasted for a little bit longer.
Why Try Dark Roasts?
Dark roast coffees are delicious. But then again, all coffee is delicious, so why should you try an Italian or French roast?
Well, they’re unique roast styles, and you should give them a shot.
Fair warning, though, they are very dark coffees. In fact, I recommend trying them with some style of milk. Be that a cold splash or hot and frothed.
The flavor of a dark roast coffee bean can vary depending on the specific beans and roasting process used, but it is generally characterized by a rich, full-bodied flavor with a bold, robust taste.
It may also have notes of chocolate, caramel, and nuts, and it may have a slightly bittersweet finish.
The roasting process can also bring out some of the natural oils in the beans, which can give dark roast coffee a slightly oily or shiny appearance.
In short, dark roasts carry deep and rich flavors that you won’t experience if you stick to a light or medium roast.
A Quick Brief On Light Roast Vs. Dark Roast
It’s probably worth mentioning why you might want to taste the full spectrum of roasts.
Light roast coffee and dark roast coffee are roasted to different degrees, which results in differences in flavor, aroma, and body.
Light roast coffee is roasted for a shorter amount of time than dark roast coffee, which means you get a lighter color and a more delicate flavor.
On the other hand, dark roast coffee is roasted for a longer period, which results in a dark brown color and a bold, robust flavor.
It is often described as having notes of chocolate, caramel, and nuts.
In general, light roast coffee is best for those who prefer a brighter, more acidic flavor, while dark roast coffee is best for those who prefer a bold, robust flavor with a smoky or charred taste.
And two of the darkest and most interesting roasts out there are Italian and French roasts.
Go and give them a shot! (Bonus points for also trying the slightly lighter Vienna roast!)
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