Italian Roast vs French Roast

If you are a lover of dark roast coffee, you might have found yourself stuck between an Italian roast and a French roast coffee. The difference between these two is not about the type of beans but roasting styles. Here is an in-depth comparison of Italian roast vs. French roast.

Italian Roast vs French Roast

Both the French and Italian roasts are believed to be one of the darkest roasts in the market. However, many people don't understand the differences between the Italian and French roast. Let us dive into the Italian roast vs French roast overview to understand what each coffee entails. 

Italian roast coffee beans

Italian Roast 

Italian roast coffee is a coffee that has been roasted in a style that leads to exceptionally oily and dark beans. The coffee beans have undergone the second crack at this roasting level, and most of the tests at the oils have surfaced. 

This results in a robust flavor that is sweet and charred. It is the darkest roast coffee on the market and is mainly used to prepare espresso. However, if roasted excessively, the taste might be burned off and might become extremely dark. 

This way, you will not be able to know whether the coffee beans are of poor quality or old. Apart from the enhanced flavor, this roasting style improves the digestibility of the Italian roast.

French Roast

French roast refers to the hue of the coffee beans after they have been roasted. The coffee beans generally attain the color of dark chocolate and are on the dark side of the spectrum. 

The tradition of the French roast began back in the 19the century, the time when dark roast coffee got famous. The French roast type holds the title to be the darkest roast after the Italian roast. 

Many different types of coffee beans can undergo the French roasting process. The Specialty Coffee Association of America's darkness grading ranges between 25 (darkest) to 95 (lightest), and the French roast type scores between 28 to 35. 


Both the French and Italian roast stay longer during the roasting process, making them dark roasts. However, the Italian and French roast have distinguishable differences that a coffee connoisseur can easily notice. Here are some of the differences between the French and Italian roast.


The Indonesian-type French roast coffees give a mushroom-like and earthy taste that complements the dark brown level of roasting beans. French roast beans are more intense and smoky with a thin body than Italian roasts. People often go for darker coffee, such as French roast, as it seems stronger.

The dark French roast coffee has a taste similar to that of 'real coffee.' The Italian roast coffee will have a richer taste or flavor than the French roast, as it has a better sweet balance between medium & dark roast. The roasting process continues until a point where the darkness level matches the desirable output.

The French roast beans are not heated enough to take away the fruit flavor in them. Hence the fruity flavors are intact, just like the medium roast beans, but slightly burnt taste. With Italian roast, you might also get the taste of caramelization. Along with that, the coffee will possess a nutty and smoky taste, with other light flavors.


Both French Roast and Italian Roast fall under the dark roast coffee technique. The dark roast technique makes the beans look bigger than other roast techniques. And it happens after the first crack.

The second crack within the beans is not that loud, but it is important to know that they have now moved from medium roast to dark roast level. Do not roast them for long; else, they would become charcoal.

Although both the French and Italian roast undergo the same roasting process and become dark, the Italian roast takes much longer. This makes the oil seep out of the beans in the Italian roast, making it stronger than the French roast.

Caffeine & Chlorogenic Acid 

The level at which the coffee beans are roasted significantly impacts the caffeine level. Although the coffee beans that have been roasted for longer are darker and have an intense flavor like the Italian roast, they have minimal caffeine levels.

That means the caffeine and chlorogenic acid content within the French Roast coffee are somehow higher than the Italian roast coffee. When it comes to acidity, the French roast has the same pH as other medium roast coffee. 

The good thing is that the dark roasting process helps in the extraction of a stomach acid inhibiting chemical. This makes even the more acidic French roast be equally a tummy-friendly coffee like the Italian roast.


The Italian roast takes longer to roast than the French roast. Due to this prolonged roasting, the oil in the coffee beans starts to sip out, covering the surface of the bean. This makes even the color of the Italian roast to be more intense. 

The Italian roast coffee beans, therefore, appear oilier than the French roast. Since the Italian roast takes an extended roasting time, it has a much darker color compared to the French roast.

Freshly roasted coffee beans


Although the Italian and French roast coffee have some differences in strength and flavor, they are both dark roasts and they do have some similarities. Here are some of the similarities between Italian roast and French roast. 

  • Both the Italian and French roast help in suppressing the cancer-causing symptoms and improving health. 
  • Considering that they are both dark roast coffee, they consist of many minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins responsible for offering health benefits.
  • Both the Italian and French roast contains Riboflavin, which is an essential vitamin that plays a significant role in improving the healthy growth of cells, and their development is also present. This makes them useful in maintaining the blood levels within your body and assists the body in producing amino acids and using them effectively.
  • Both the Italian and French Roast coffees contain significant amounts of antioxidants. This helps in fighting the free radicals within the body to prevent cellular damage concerns, minimizing the risk of cancer.
  • The caffeine in both the Italian and French roast coffee improves brain health, eradicating the possibility of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Both the French and Italian roast are believed to be the darkest roasts on the market. 

Major Distinguishing Factor: Roasting

The Italian roast is roasted longer than the French roast making it have a stronger flavor and darker in color than the French roast. Also, the Italian roast has a more bitter flavor compared to the French roast. On the other hand, the French roast contains more chlorogenic acid and caffeine than the Italian roast

French roast coffee beans

When to use the Italian Roast 

Considering that the Italian roast is stronger and darker than the French roast there are some beverages that it can suit better. Here are some beverages you can prepare using the Italian roast.


The American beverage comes with a water to espresso ratio of 2:1. Although the taste might be indistinguishable from a regular coffee, it will provide you with an energy boost due to the extra espresso.


It is an Italian drink that consists of espresso and some cream or milk. The cappuccino is almost similar to the Caffe macchiato, only that it uses a lot more cream or milk. 

When to use the French Roast 

The French roast contains more chlorogenic acid and caffeine than the Italian roast, making it fit some beverages better than the Italian roast. Here are some of the beverages you can prepare using the French roast.

Caffe Macchiato

Unlike the cappuccino, the Caffe Macchiato consists of a small amount of milk or cream with a shot of espresso, giving it a sweet flavor.

Caffe Mocha 

The Caffe Mocha is prepared using espresso cream or milk and some chocolate flavoring which can either be dark chocolate or milk chocolate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Nutrients Does French Roast Coffee Have Within It?

The French roast coffee possesses some valuable nutrients that are the building blocks of a healthy body. 

The nutrients include antioxidants, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, thiamine, and others. These nutrients are somehow the same in Italian roast coffee due to the dark roast technique sharing aspects.

What Will Happen If I Consume Too Much of These Coffees?

Too much caffeine might just give rise to certain side effects in your body. These side effects include restlessness, headaches, dehydration, anxiety, rapid or abnormal heart rhythm. 

What Beverages Can I Make With Dark Roast Coffees?

The Italian dark roast coffee is preferable when it comes to making espresso. However, the dark roast coffee beans, irrespective of whether they are French or Italian, are used for making Americano, Caffe Macchiato, Caffe Mocha, Cappuccino, and others.

Italian Roast Vs. French Roast: Verdict 

The difference between an Italian and French roast is all about the level of roasting and not the type of beans used. Although the taste between these two is almost indistinguishable, the above comparison of Italian roast vs French roast will help you make an informed choice between the two.