What is French Roast Coffee? | Beginners Guide to Coffee Roasts – Coffee Gator

A Beginner’s Guide to Types of Coffee Roasts (Part 2)

Posted by Coffee Gator

In the first part of this beginner’s guide to different types of coffee roasts, we outlined the four main coffee roast levels (light, medium, medium-dark, and dark) and some of their basic distinguishing features.

Now that you have some basic knowledge and understanding of them, we’ll move on to some of the additional coffee profiles that are found within these main categories of coffee roast. If you ever feel overwhelmed with all the different variations, just think of them as part of a spectrum! For reference, here’s a table that lists the additional types of roasts for each of the four levels.







Fully City


New England


Full City+

(Dark) French







Light French


Light Espresso



Other Coffee Varieties

1. What is Blonde Roast Coffee?

Blonde roast is a type of light roast coffee that has experienced a rising popularity over the past few years. While blond roast coffee has been around for awhile, Starbucks began popularizing the term “blonde roast” in the U.S back in January of 2018. Before that, it was commonly referred to as cinnamon roast due to its color, but many coffee lovers thought the original name referred to its taste. To avoid the confusion, many companies (along with Starbucks) rebranded it as the blonde roast.

Blonde roast coffee beans exhibit a light brown color and are denser and harder in comparison to darker roasts. They produce an acidic taste with a hint of sweet and toasted flavors, and are even perceived as sour by some people due to their high acidity.

Blonde roast coffee also tends to be light-bodied, meaning that the liquid has a thinner consistency.

2. What is American Roast Coffee?

American roast is a variation of medium roast coffee that gets its name from the fact that it’s generally preferred in the United States. This particular roast is medium brown in color and is sweet and less-acidic in flavor compared to lighter roasted coffee varieties due to a longer roasting time. As the beans roast, a stronger aroma is emitted and their natural sugars begin to caramelize, therefore creating a slightly darker shade of brown.

3. What is Full City Roast Coffee?

Full City roast is a type of medium-dark roast coffee that exhibits a dark brown color and rich, full-body, bittersweet taste due to further caramelization. Since Full City coffee beans are roasted even longer than lighter ones, most of the acidity is lost so there is a deeper flavor and stronger aroma. In addition, coffee beans of this particular type appear more oily as the longer roasting process allows trapped oils to rise to the surface.

4. What is French Roast Coffee?

French roast is a variation of dark roast coffee with a very dark brown color (almost black) and oily surface. French roast coffee beans have less acidity in their taste and most of original flavors and aroma no longer remain; the only tastes that remains are the roasted and smokey flavors of the roasting process.

5. What is Italian Roast Coffee?

Like French roast, Italian roast is another type of dark roast coffee that appears nearly black in color with a heavy coat of oil on the surface of the beans. French roast coffee beans exhibit a smokey, burnt, and bitter taste with nearly no acidity left. Some coffee drinkers even describe the flavor of this variety as that of charcoal and tar. In addition, dark roast coffee varieties like Italian roast have the least amount of caffeine per scoop in comparison to lighter roasts.

Coffee beans in a mugs

Coffee Essentials

With the basic knowledge you now have about the additional types of coffee roasts, it’s time to get brewing! In general, it’s a good idea to have the proper kettle to make sure your coffee preparation runs as smooth as possible. The premium-grade stainless steel Coffee Gator Coffee Brewing Kettle is a necessary kitchen item for all home baristas that has a gooseneck spout and built-in thermometer to help you avoid coffee spills and achieve the perfect temperature.

Gooseneck Spout

  • Ensures steady water flow, giving you complete control over the speed and strength of your pour. Who doesn’t want to achieve hand drip perfection?

Built-in Thermometer

  • Measures the temperature of your water so you won’t have to deal with burnt or cold coffee that will mess with your flavor profile. Brewing coffee shouldn’t be a guessing game.

Final Questions and Thoughts

Is Dark Roast Coffee Stronger?

Although dark roast coffee has a tendency to taste stronger, this doesn’t necessarily indicate higher caffeine content. In fact, some sources say that lighter roasts have a slightly higher concentration of caffeine. In addition, a number of other factors are also said to influence the the strength of your coffee, such as the: 

  • Type of measurement (weight vs. volume)
  • Variety (Robusta vs. Arabica)
  • Brewing method (espresso vs. french press)
  • Grind size (fine vs. coarse) and
  • Filter (paper vs. metal)

In short, it depends on how you prepare your coffee. However, if you’re looking for ways to add a little more kick to your cup of joe, you can try the following:

  • Finely grind your coffee beans
  • Brew your coffee longer
  • Increase the coffee grounds to water ratio
  • Raise the water temperature — but be careful to not burn your coffee, otherwise you’ll lose the flavor!

Which Coffee Roast Has the Most Flavor?

Each type of coffee roast has its own unique taste, so making the decision on which one has the most flavor depends on your personal criteria. For example, if you prefer a roast that has a rich and sweetened taste similar to that of honey or caramel, then medium roasts like American roast would suit you best. Or, if you favor a bitter and smokey flavor with a hint of spice, then dark roasts like Italian roast would be best for you.

Which Coffee Roast is Best?

Now that you’ve read about the different coffee roast levels and their varieties, you might be wondering which one is the best. While you might be dying to know, there’s no clear answer for this question because the ideal roast is subjective!

In fact, individual coffee preferences are sometimes influenced by factors like geographic location or national preference. In the U.S., for example, people living on the West coast usually prefer to drink darker roasts while those on the East coast have a tendency to drink medium roasts.

Given that each type of coffee roast has its own unique set of characteristics, the best coffee roast is the one that you decide on!

Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee

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