What Is French Roast Coffee & How To Make It Yourself At Home

what is french roast coffee

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If you’re a new lover of coffee, chances are you don’t know what is french roast coffee.

You’ve researched it on the internet, read a few reviews and now you’re a little more informed.

But before you go back to your coffee maker to brew up a batch of french roast, maybe take a minute and read this article for even more info on the type of coffee you want to try.

What Is French Roast Coffee?

French roast is a type of coffee that has been roasted to a darker, more developed, flavorful profile than the typical American roasted coffee.

The color of the beans tends to be darker and deeper, especially after being roasted but before being packaged.

In other words, this darker-roasted brew often has a milder flavor profile than that for which plain old American ground coffee is typically roasted.

A French roast is often associated with an experience where you are drinking something really nice.

French roast is the darkest form of coffee that’s been roasted. It’s traditionally made from arabica beans that have been roasted for hours until they reach dark brown or black color.

But don’t worry, I’m going to tell you what it is and everything else you need to know about this type of coffee.

Before we dive deeper, note that although French roast is a dark roast coffee with a smoky flavor and strong caffeine content, the caffeine content of French roast is no higher than any other dark roast.

Origins of French Roast Coffee

French roast coffee is not a type of coffee, but a way of roasting coffee beans. French roast coffee was discovered in the 1800s by some coffee farmers in Paris, France.

The farmers found that when you roast the beans at lower temperatures, they get darker and have more flavor than if you roast them at higher temperatures.

They sent their beans to a coffee roaster in London, and the roaster made it into a new type of coffee that became known as French roast.

The longer that the beans are roasted, the more caffeine is extracted from them, and the more flavorful they become.

The Development of the Cupping Table

In France after the discovery of this process, there was a demand for higher quality coffee, and soon the term ‘French Roast’ was being used to describe this new method for making a flavorful cup of coffee.

It was not named so in France at first, but in the United States in the 1880s, when a coffee importer in New York started importing these beans.

French Roast coffee beans were mainly used by the high-class European people because of its unique features and higher pricing.

Coffeehouses often refused to serve French roast because its strong flavor was not welcomed at that time, however, sometimes it would be served mixed with other types of coffees to make it more acceptable to customers.

A unique feature of the process is that the coffee beans are roasted at a very low temperature.

This helps to preserve the natural fruit and berry flavors in the coffee and gives it a much deeper flavor than you will get in other roasts.

By roasting in this way, the coffee retains its natural flavor better than high-temperature roasting methods. For some, French roast is an acquired taste, but for others, it is the only way to drink coffee!

The history of coffee started in Ethiopia where people have been drinking the beverage since the 5th century AD.

From there, it made its way around the world and reached Europe by the end of the 15th century.

There was a lot of studying and developing that happened next, and this process resulted in roasting techniques such as French roasting.

Understanding the Flavor Profile

The French roast coffees are made to be medium-bodied, with a flavor profile that is somewhat mild, balanced and moderately acidic.

While this doesn’t mean that French roast coffees are bad tasting per se, they do tend to lack the bold flavor of other types of coffee.

This makes French roast coffees ideal for breakfast when people are in the mood for something more tasteful than plain old black coffee.

It’s also ideal for entertaining because of its mild taste and the fact that it won’t leave you jittery like high-caffeine coffees will.

If you’re new to coffee, French roast is definitely a good choice.

French roast coffees are typically around 14 – 20% acidity and 110 – 130 grams of caffeine.

For comparison, regular American roasted coffee has an average acidity level of 55 – 65% and a caffeine level of 80 – 100 grams per cup. This means that it’s more acidic and it has a ton more caffeine than regular coffee.

Dark roasts usually have a richer flavor, but due to the fact that French roast is roasted at lower temperatures, it tends to be milder.

Therefore, these two characteristics make French roast coffees ideal for making iced coffee in the summertime or when you want a low-acid type of brew that won’t make you jittery or unable to stay awake.

Brewing a Good Cup of French Roast Coffee

Most baristas are taught to always use a medium grind on French roast beans.

While this may seem counterintuitive to what you’ve learned about how the fineness of the grind affects the flavor of your coffee, it is really necessary.

If you use a fine grind on French roast, it will have a very acidic taste with very little body.

This is due to the fact that French roast has an even lower acidity level than regular American roasted coffee.

With that being said, the longer that you brew your cup, the stronger it will taste because your French roast is so dark that less water will be able to penetrate into its full depths.

Are you getting more light on what is french roast coffee by now? I do hope so! Let’s continue.

How To Make Your Own French Roast Coffee At Home

A French roast coffee can be purchased from specialty stores, but you can also make it at home if you have a coffee grinder.

However, if you want to make a lighter version of this coffee at home, I recommend that you use a dark roast bean and a medium grind.

Also, I think that espresso drinkers would be better off with an espresso-based French roast because the bitterness of water is more pronounced in espresso than it is for brewed coffee.

Whereas in brewed coffee the bitterness comes from the acidity level of the water and not necessarily from other roasted beans.

French Roast Coffee Buying Guide

1. French Roast Coffee Bean Selection

This choice will depend on what type of variety you’re going for. If you want the very best, the fruity African coffee beans are what you are looking for.

They are grown in Africa near the equator, where it is hot and wet.

The soil there is fertile, allowing for them to develop a lot of fruit notes in their body they are just one of many choices you can choose from.

How to Grind Your Coffee Beans

If you’re brewing your coffee with a coffee maker that filters through grounds before the water gets to them then this won’t really help any.

This style of brewing does not let the water come into contact with the beans long enough for them to get all of there flavor out, so it’s very important that you grind your own.

If you’re using a blade grinder, go for the lowest speed possible so you can control how light or dark your coffee is.

For French roast, I recommend that you grind the beans in between medium to coarse ground.

To achieve this, try to take away all of the oils from the beans by grinding them either in your AeroPress or with a blade grinder at varying speeds until you get what looks like lightly powdered dirt.

French Roast Coffee Bean Preparation

The following steps are not absolutely necessary, but they will improve your coffee-making experience.

The French roast process puts the coffee through very long roasting times at their highest temperatures.

This means that when you grind the beans, it’s very important that they are evenly roasted.

If you grind them too long at one stage in the roasting process, then the next stage will not be properly roasted and it can make a big difference in each cup of coffee.

French Roast Coffee Brewing Process

Now that you know what is french roast coffee and its origin, why not brew some?!

If you want to brew French roast coffee in a drip-style coffee maker, start by putting in approximately twice as much ground coffee as recommended and follow the steps for your typical brew method.

Then add more water according to what you need to fill your French press so that your French roast is brewed to its maximum potential.

This process will give you a much lighter flavor profile with a very smooth body.

However, I don’t recommend it as the sole method to enjoy your French roast as it tends to make it seem as though you’re drinking hot chocolate rather than coffee.

French Roast Coffee Enjoyment

It is very difficult for me to describe the flavor of French roast without entirely spoiling it so I’ll just say that there is softness, but also the beginnings of bitterness.

It’s not unpleasant, but if you don’t like strong flavors then this may not be the coffee for you.

French roast is suited to just about any style of brewing technique including drip, pour-over and even cold brew.

French Roastin’ It Yourself!

If you prefer to have French roast in your regular coffee day to day, then I recommend that you brew it just as you would regular coffee.

If you’re not making French roast regularly, then I recommend that you use half-and-half for your regular coffee.

This way it will be very close to the flavor of French roast without the punch, but it has enough body to still taste like itself.

We’re going to do some French roast brewing with a dark brew that’s got the right level of balance for those who love a rich flavor that isn’t overpowering.

This is my personal favorite way to make French roast coffee, and I’ve found that most people like it as well.

First, we’ll need some beans and a grinder. If you haven’t already, consider getting yourself an electric burr grinder.

If you haven’t yet, the one I like is the Capresso 560. It costs less than $100 and has 10 different grind settings, which is perfect for making French roast coffee because you will most likely want to use a medium-coarse grind setting.

Check Out One of The Best Grinder for French Roast – The Capresso Infinity

what is french roast coffee - capresso infinity for french roast

You can also use a blade grinder, but if you want to get the right grind for this, you’ll need to experiment with different settings.

Once you’ve got your beans and your grinder, you should check the roast date on the bag.

This will tell you how fresh or stale your coffee is. Ideally, look for beans that have been roasted within the last week or two. If they’re older than that then move on and choose a new bag.

👉 You want to make sure that when you’re making French roast coffee at home that it’s going to be flavorful enough to satisfy your taste buds, and old beans won’t help in this regard.

👉 Now, place your beans in the grinder.

👉 Grind them for about 10 to 15 seconds or until they are coarsely ground.

👉 You’ll want to make sure they aren’t powdered, but neither should they be big chunks of beans that are still too full of oils for this style of coffee.

👉 That’s the most difficult part, but it’s one you’ll get used to after doing it a few times. Because I use a burr grinder, my grind is always consistent.

👉 If you’re using a blade grinder then keep in mind what I’ve said about different grind settings and experiment with the two different levels of coarseness until you get it right.

After you’re done grinding your beans, it’s time to brew.

👉 Put the right amount of grounds into your French press and then add some hot water.

👉 You want to make sure that there is enough room for your coffee grounds to expand as they absorb the water, so dump some hot water in first and then the rest once it’s been absorbed.

👉 Let this sit for about a minute or two, stirring occasionally so that you have a consistent grind – about medium-coarse.

👉 Now it’s time to press. After you’ve stirred the grounds, let them sit for a minute or two more before you begin to press.

👉 You want to make sure that the grounds are evenly saturated with water first.

👉 Press your French press down on the coffee really hard to make sure that all of the remaining water is out of there, and then onto your cup!

So there you have it! You’ve made French roast coffee at home, and now you know how it’s done.

Use this recipe as your starting point, and try some new variations on it until you find something new that tastes great! I hope this answered any questions you may have had about making French roast coffee at home.

Other Approaches to Making a Quality Cup of French Roast Coffee

There are a few different approaches to making a good cup of French roast coffee.

If you want to make French roast coffee yourself, the best approach is the one that I discuss above.

This method does take some time to grind your beans, but it is definitely worth it.

After you’ve built up the grinder, you will most likely not be able to find French roast beans at your local grocery store due to their low volume.

They’re just too uncommon and don’t sell well because of their somewhat mild flavor profile.

To get around this problem, I recommend purchasing beans online or finding sources that sell only French roast beans online (a lot of specialty coffee shops pay attention to these things).

In the past, you could make French roast coffee at home by using a Percolator.

This has been a widely accepted way of brewing coffee at home for a very long time. In fact, people were already doing it in the 16th century when coffee was first introduced to Europe.

However, there are problems with this method that make it very inefficient and ineffective to brew French roast coffee yourself.

In terms of efficiency, coffeepots require much more work than grinders do because the beans have to bounce around as they go down the pipe as well as being removed from the pot.

This takes a lot of time, which is why it’s usually suggested that you not make French roast coffee with a coffeepot.

Concerning the taste of the brew, grinders are far better at making French roast coffee because they can make a very consistent grind size.

If you use a coffeepot, the grounds will grind at slightly different sizes which will translate into some being over-extracted while others are under-extracted.

This means that your coffee will have an inconsistent quality that is far from ideal. This is just something to keep in mind if you’re considering using a coffeepot to cook your French roast.

The Final Step

Once you’ve obtained your French roast coffee, you simply have to brew it with one of the methods mentioned in the introduction.

You can use an Aeropress, Pour-Over or French Press. Regardless of what method you choose, most people recommend using a dark roast medium-fine grounds because most French roast coffees are less acidic than regular ones.

If you want to make iced coffee or cappuccino, I also highly recommend using cold-brewing methods instead of traditional methods.

This is because the French roast will have a surprisingly rich flavor when it’s brewed with cold-brewed coffee instead of room-temperature water.

Recommended Makers for French Roast Coffee

Is French Roast Coffee Good For You?

Who doesn’t love a rich, dark roast with a smooth taste? Unfortunately, some of the most common options can be pretty harsh on your stomach.

But not all French roasts are made equally and it all comes down to how you brew them.

French roast coffee is commonly known to be a milder and smoother tasting coffee compared to other options.

Yes, it’s got a nice, full flavor but this flavor doesn’t come at the expense of your stomach’s health.

This is because French roast coffee has both lower levels of acidity and caffeine than other roasts.

But Why Does This Matter?

I’m glad you asked! Coffee can be extremely healthy for you, but only if you don’t overdo it.

If your coffee tastes too acidic or bitter, your stomach might rebel against it.

This can lead to cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. If you’re not sure about how much caffeine is in your coffee, know that the darker the roast the more dominant it will be in your cup or beverage.

The same goes for sugar content in your coffee – the darker the roast the more sugar is in there.

If you’re concerned about these things, just pay attention to your roast and try to choose a French roast coffee that’s as close as possible to the traditional medium-dark roast.

Using a French roast has an additional benefit besides being able to drink it without worrying about your stomach.

Since it’s not as acidic, the antioxidants from the coffee will be able to spread throughout your body more easily and you’ll get a lot more out of it.

So what should you do if you want a milder tasting but still flavorful cup? Well, read this article!

You’ll learn all about how you can make a French roast coffee that tastes mild but still offers that great flavor that people love so much.

If you’re looking for a great French roast coffee maker, try the Hario V60, Aeropress or Pour-Over.

These are all grinders that are ready to go out of the box and are pretty cheap compared to other coffee makers.

After you’ve got your grinder, look up some grind sizes I recommend to help make your French roast even tastier.

Final Thoughts On French Roast Coffee

French roast coffee has a unique flavor and is significantly easier on your stomach than other roasts.

If you’re looking for a way to make your coffee taste great and not wreak havoc on your insides, don’t think twice about French roast.

It’s flavorful, easy to find, and easy to brew thanks to the very open nature of how it’s made.

It’s no wonder that French roast is so commonly used at specialty coffee shops around the world!

Are you happy with the explanation about “what is french roast coffee”? If yes, let me know in the comments below.

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