French Roast vs Italian Roast: What’s the Distinction?

4 min read

Third-wave and specialty espresso business principally focuses on medium and lighter roasts. However darkish roasts have their place, too. They’re much less acidic, have bolder flavors, and maintain up effectively to the addition of milk for a scrumptious latte or cappuccino.

Not all darkish roasts are created equal. For instance, what’s the distinction between a French and Italian roast? Maintain studying to seek out out.

Distinction Between French and Italian Roast Espresso

The variations between a French and an Italian roast are onerous to inform. In any case, they’re each darkish roasts. All of it comes all the way down to the exact temperature at which they’re roasted. So let’s begin with….

A Fast Journey Via the Espresso Roasting Course of

Inexperienced espresso beans are dense and have little taste, which is why we roast them. This gradual heating course of creates totally different espresso roast ranges. Because the beans roast, the warmth causes sugars and amino acids to mix, prompting new flavors and a darkening coloration (1).

Roasters and customers use the extent of coloration as a parameter of high quality and profile.

A espresso bean’s coloration and bodily look can inform you numerous about its taste profile and roast high quality.

A light-weight roast is achieved when the roaster hits 385 ℉. The espresso beans showcase their most delicate notes and are finest brewed with gentler strategies, like pour-over. The cup is frutier and extra acidic. At 410 ℉, you enter the realm of medium roasts, which supply a pleasant steadiness between the beans’ authentic taste profile and the caramelization from the Maillard response.

The Darkest Roasts: French vs Italian

Darkish roast is achieved at 430 ℉. These espresso beans have a strong, caramelized taste and oily exterior. French and Italian are each darkish roasts, however they differ within the temperature at which every is achieved. 

Between 440 and 455 ℉, you’ll end up with a French roast. The beans shall be a really darkish brown, with a lightweight sheen of oil. The cup profile can have misplaced its brilliant acidity and achieved a wealthy caramelization with out changing into overly bitter. You may style notes of darkish chocolate, roasted nuts, and a touch of smoke.

 In many of the world, a French roast is the preferred darkish roast.

In Italy, nonetheless, individuals wish to go a bit of darker. An Italian roast is achieved when the roast temperature exceeds 455 ℉. The beans shall be darker than the French roast, almost black, and have an oilier exterior (2). When brewed, the cup can have a fuller physique and richer mouthfeel. The flavour is extra bitter than the French roast, with tasting notes like smoke, toasted cereals, and darkish molasses.

Finest Brewing Strategies for French and Italian Roasts

When brewing any darkish roast, be sure that to: 

  • use a coarser grind
  • enhance the dose
  • lower the brew water temperature

For a visible demonstration of this, try James Hoffmann’s glorious information on brewing higher darkish roasts:

A French roast is a flexible roast appropriate for a lot of brewing strategies, significantly espresso, Moka pot, or French press. The darker Italian roast is finest suited to espresso, as you may count on given its Italian origins. The heavy physique of Italian roast produces the perfect texture for a crema-topped espresso. And its barely bitter and strong taste is the right foil for creamy, candy dairy in conventional milk-based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.

Ultimate Ideas

Whereas French and Italian roasts will not be as stylish as their gentle or medium-roast counterparts, they’re a worthy addition to your espresso repertoire. A French roast is a basic and versatile darkish roast appropriate for a lot of brewing strategies and palates. An Italian roast is a darker and extra bitter various, finest for lovers of espresso and milk-based drinks.

How do you take pleasure in your French or Italian roast espresso? Tell us within the feedback.


What’s espresso roast?

Espresso roast is a time period used to explain any roast deemed appropriate for espresso. Nonetheless, espresso isn’t a roast stage however a particular brew technique, and you should utilize any beans you take pleasure in.

Do it’s a must to make espresso with French or Italian roast?

You don’t should make espresso with a French or Italian roast, although they’re conventional. Darkish roasts present the complete physique and basic darkish chocolate flavors sometimes related to espresso, they usually maintain up effectively to dairy in basic drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

Is there much less caffeine in French and Italian roasts?

Sure, there’s much less caffeine in French and Italian roasts when measured by quantity. It’s because the longer roasted course of means darker roasts are extra porous. Nonetheless, when measured by weight, the caffeine content material is equal in any respect roast ranges.

  1. Belchior, V. (2019, March 12). Bodily adjustments espresso beans expertise throughout roasting. Good Every day Grind; Good Every day Grind.
  2. Roast Ranges: A Primer. (2022). The Captain’s Espresso.

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