French Roast is a dark roasted coffee characterised by its intense and long roasting process. The beans are roasted for a longer time, resulting in very dark brown, almost black, glossy coffee beans. French Roast is the darkest roast, widely found in coffee houses and roasteries. It has a distinct smoky flavour that comes from the roasting process and overrides the original characteristics of the beans. Blends of different coffee beans are often used to minimise the influence of the individual characteristics of the beans. The roast has a low acidity and a tart-sweet flavour that comes from the longer roasting and caramelises the sugar in the beans.
Despite the name, French Roast coffee does not necessarily originate in France. The term originated in late 19th century Europe when dark coffee was gaining popularity. American coffee houses adopted the name to convey a certain elegance. Today, French Roast simply refers to a very dark roast without referring to its origin.
Contrary to popular belief, French Roast coffee does not contain more caffeine than lighter roasts. Lighter roasts usually have a higher caffeine content because shorter roasting times release more caffeine. As the roasting time increases, the caffeine content gradually decreases. Therefore, French Roast coffee does contain caffeine, but in smaller amounts compared to other roasts. French Roast coffee can be prepared in different ways. The French Press is particularly suitable, where the coffee blend is steeped in hot water and then pressed down with a filter. Espresso machines and conventional filter coffee machines are also often used to prepare French Roast.