Italian Roast Vs. French Roast: What Is The Difference?

coffee beans and coffee mug
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The world of coffee is versatile. Coffee lovers always have ideas to try different coffee roasts, flavors, and recipes.

You should experiment with two types of coffee beans: Italian roast and French roast.

Despite being dark roasts, there are a few key differences between these two types of roasts that you should consider when choosing the right one.

Italian roasts have an aromatic and burnt flavor. On the other hand, French roast gives coffee a bitter and charcoal-like taste.

Both Italian and French roasts are less acidic and have bolder flavors. Dark roast coffee beans work perfectly for lattes or cappuccinos.

This article explains the significant differences between Italian and French roasts. Read till the end to find out which coffee roast suits your preferences for a perfect cup of coffee.

French vs. Italian Roast: An Overview

French and Italian roasts are among the darkest coffee roasts available in the market. Dark roasted beans have an oilier texture, resulting in a bittersweet or toasty cup of coffee.

The Italian and French coffee roasts differ in their roasting method and their blend of beans. The roasting process affects the taste and appearance of the coffee.

Italian roasting exposes coffee beans to higher temperatures for longer than French roasts.

As coffee beans roast, their internal temperature increases, and their color darken. The longer roasting time results in coffee beans losing caffeine and also having a more bitter or burned taste than a French roast.

Here is a comparison table to give you an overview of how the Italian and French roasts are distinctive.

ConsiderationItalian RoastFrench Roast
Type of RoastDark RoastDark Roast
Appearance Oilier and nearly black beansOily and dark brown beans
TasteBurnt and CharredSmoky and Bittersweet
Temperature455 ℉440 – 455 °F
Caffeine LevelLowLow
Acidity LevelLowLow

What Is Italian Roast Coffee?

Italian roast refers to how people roast coffee beans in Italy. Usually made with a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, dark roast Italian coffee is prevalent in southern Italy.

The roasting process involves applying high heat to the bean until it cracks once, releasing moisture. Afterward, the coffee beans crack again and release their oils. Due to the second crack, coffee beans turn exceptionally dark and oily.

However, roasting coffee beans for too long might lose their taste and become extremely dark.

The Italian roast coffee has a sweet and charred taste profile. Italian roast is ideally suitable for espresso because it is the darkest roast coffee on the market.

Italian roast coffee beans

What is French Roast Coffee?

After the Italian roast, the French roast is the darkest coffee roast. French roast coffee was first popularized in Europe in the 19th century when dark roast coffee became famous.

French roasts can use coffee beans like Central American, African, or Indonesian. The French roasting method gives the coffee beans a deep color, light body, and juicy flavor.

Many coffee lovers prefer French-roasted coffee because of its robust, bold flavor. French roast coffee has an overpowering smokiness that some people find enjoyable, while others dislike it intensely.

Why Are They Called Italian or French Roasts?

Some might assume that Italian Roast means the coffee beans come from Italy. But, in reality, it refers to the Italian style of roasting coffee beans to prepare a dark roasted coffee.

On the other hand, people might assume French roast originates from France. The French roast is traditionally associated with the roasting style popular in Europe.

When the roasting method arrived in the United States, it became known as French Roast.

French Roast vs. Italian Roast 

Let’s explore their differences in detail further to understand the difference between Italian and French roasts.


Due to the longer extraction time, the Italian roast has a richer and bitterer flavor than the French roast. The Italian roast coffee will have a smoky and nutty flavor profile with hints of caramelization.

On the other hand, French roast gives coffee an earthy and charcoal-like taste. The French roast is less bitter and robust than the Italian roast and is not also as intense.

Roasting Process

Both Italian and French roasts have different roasting processes that set them apart.

The Italian roasting method involves heating the coffee beans to high temperatures for 30 seconds. Once cooled, coffee beans develop toasty and chocolatey flavors.

French roast process includes roasting the coffee beans at medium or low temperatures for a shorter time than Italian roast beans. As a result of this roasting process, coffee beans gain a darker color and a richer flavor.

french roast coffee beans


Both Italian and French roasts fall under the category of dark roast beans. However, the Italian roast is stronger than the French roast. It’s because the Italian roasting process takes longer.

During Italian and French roasting, they release more oils when the beans crack for the second time. Italian roast has more strength since coffee beans seep more oil than French roast coffee beans.


Italian and French roast coffee beans are dark and oily but appear different. 

The longer roasting in the Italian method releases more oils, making them oilier and darker.

Meanwhile, the French roast coffee beans are shimmery oily, and dark brown. 

coffee made from French roast beans

Caffeine Content and Chlorogenic Acid

The roasting process affects coffee beans’ caffeine content. The longer you roast the coffee beans, the lower their caffeine content.

The Italian roast beans have minimal caffeine content because they involve longer roasting. However, the French roast has higher caffeine content and chlorogenic acid than the Italian roast.

Dark roast coffee beans are suitable for people with stomach issues because they have the lowest acidic levels. The Italian and French roast coffees do not contain compounds that cause stomach acid.

What Is Stronger Italian Roast or French Roast?

Out of Italian and French roasts, the Italian roast is the stronger. The Italian roasting process gives coffee beans a more robust flavor than the French roast.

During the Italian and French roasting process, the coffee beans crack twice. The first crack happens when the energy inside the coffee beans rises to the point that it explodes. This is when the coffee beans increase in size.

Then the roasting continues, and there is a second crack. The oils from the coffee beans migrate from their internal parts to their outer side.

Italian roasting method roasts the coffee beans for an extended time. As a result, more oil seeps out from the inside of the bean to its outer side, bringing out a burnt and bitter flavor profile.

What is the Italian roast best used for?

You can try several coffee drinks to enjoy the intense and rich flavors of Italian roast. My favorite beverages that turn out outstanding using Italian roast:


The Italian roast makes the perfect cappuccino. A cappuccino is a popular Italian coffee beverage made with espresso, steamed milk, and foam.


An Americano is ideal for getting your morning caffeine kick. It consists of an espresso shot and hot water. Americano consists of a solid but diluted coffee taste. 

cappuccino made from Italian roast beans

What is the French roast best used for?

French roast coffee beans can enhance the flavor of some of your favorite coffee drinks. You can make the following drinks using French roast beans:

Cafe Mocha

If you are a chocolate lover, cafe mocha is the perfect drink. You can make the most delicious cafe mocha in minutes using French-roasted coffee, milk, and chocolate.

Cafe Macchiato

Try cafe macchiato if you like your coffee strong but sweet and creamy. A cafe macchiato consists of steamed milk and espresso with an overpowering espresso taste. 

Which Roast Of Coffee Is Best?

Both Italian and French roasts are the most popular methods of roasting coffee beans. These dark roasts are popular worldwide among people who like a bold and robust cup of coffee.

You must try both to know which roasts better suit your taste preferences. You can try several coffee beverages using either Italian or French roasts. 

These dark roast coffee beans make a robust cup of coffee and have other benefits. Dark roast coffee beans are low in acidity, contain antioxidants, and improve brain function.

So, if you prefer dark roast coffee, try Italian and French roasts for making cappuccinos, mocha, americanos, macchiatos, etc.

fine grinded Italian roast beans

Final Thoughts

Both Italian and French roasts are dark roasts and have a similar taste. They are perfect for coffee lovers who enjoy a bold-tasting cup of coffee.

However, the only difference between these two roasts is the level of their roasting.

The Italian roasting method takes longer than the French roast. You can experiment with coffee roasts to understand their flavors and intensity differences. Once you try these dark roasts, you can easily pick a favorite.


Which is darker Italian or French roast?

Italian roast is darker than French roast because of its level of roasting. 

Is an Italian roast stronger than a French roast?

Yes! Italian roast is stronger than French roast because it has an extended roasting period.

Is a French roast stronger than a dark roast?

French roast is more robust than a regular dark roast because it has a longer roasting duration. The French roast makes the coffee richer and bolder than a standard dark roast.

Is French roast coffee strong?

Yes! French roast coffee is strong. It contains a pungent smell, a robust and smoky flavor that gives you the perfect caffeine fix.

What’s the difference between dark roast and espresso?

Dark roast is a method of roasting coffee beans. On the other hand, espresso is a method of preparing coffee.

What nutrients does French roast coffee have?

French roast has higher antioxidants like chlorogenic acid compared to Italian roast coffee. French roast coffee contains Thiamine, Riboflavin, Potassium, Magnesium, and Niacin.

Is there less caffeine in Italian and French roasts? 

Both Italian and French roasts have low caffeine content. However, comparing the two, the French roast has slightly higher caffeine levels than the Italian roast. It is because Italian roasted beans lose their caffeine during prolonged roasting.

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