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French Roast Coffee
French roast coffee is one of many coffee roasts designated for regional roasting styles. It was popular throughout Europe in the late 19th century. French is the name applied to a degree of roast of coffee beans those results in a dark brown coffee bean. In this roast, the beans are well the second crack. French-roasted beans will be dark brown with an oil-shiny surface. Coffee made from French roasted beans has the natural flavors of the bean, especially the acidic notes.
Bitter tones from the roast will dominate the flavor. French roast coffees are common in coffee associated with the American West. This roasting technique is also frequently applied to American espresso. Sometimes, French roast coffee is also called (colorfully) turkey roast, (incorrectly) espresso roast, or (simply) dark roast.
Taste of French Roast Coffee
French roast is considered a double-roast coffee. It is a category of deep-roasted coffee characterized by an intense and smoky sweet flavor, with a thin body and mouthful. Compared to light roasts (such as cinnamon light roast coffee, which is highly acidic), French roast coffee is much less acidic and roasted in flavor. It often has a burnt, charcoal-like note. Dark roasts such as French roasts completely overwhelm the nuances of flavor and aroma of coffee beans. This makes it almost impossible to taste the origin of the beans or the variety of the coffee.
Following is a summary of the French roast coffee profile
• Fierce and bold
• Very dark (almost burnt, often smoky)
• something sweet
• Much less acidic than lighter roasts
• Thin in body, with a more mouthwatering mouthful than some coffees
Roasting Method of French Roast Coffee
During the roasting process, the internal temperature of the coffee beans reaches 464 F (240 C). As the coffee roast becomes “darker,” the color of the coffee beans darkens and more coffee oils appear on the surface. In keeping with these characteristics, French roast coffee beans are dark brown and shiny with oil.
French roast beans are also at the end of what is called a “second crack”. This means they are cooked so intensely that they make two cracking sounds while roasting:
• A crack comes from steam escaping.
• Another crack occurs when the cell walls break and release oil on the surface of the beans.
Light roasts are not roasted as much as medium or dark roasts and thus will not get a second crack. This means that the cells inside the beans are less likely to release the oil, so lighter roasts don’t contain oil. Because they are not roasted for long, they still retain much of their ‘natural’ flavor, and as a result, tend to taste a little more herbaceous or fruity and more acidic.
And one more thing; they don’t roast long enough to burn off the caffeine molecules inside the beans, so they’re quite high in caffeine. Stunningly.
Medium roasts are similar to light roasts because they don’t leave the oil on the surface of the beans. However, they maintain an excellent balance of flavor as they are not overly acidic, but retain some of the natural flavor and content through the roasting process.
Now, dark roasts, like French roasts, are roasted the longest (of the three types of roast), and that means they’ll have a bolder flavor. As we discussed earlier, they have an oily sheen to them and almost a slight bitterness. For some people, this is a great thing and for others, not so much.
Quality of French Roast
Because it’s hard to tell what real coffee beans were like before they were roasted, many roasters use less than exceptional beans to make their French roasts. Instead, they focus on the quality of the roast itself. If the roast is what’s important to you and you like French roast, quality is subjective and you should get what you enjoy.
Many people find French roast coffee enjoyable even when it’s almost burnt (like grilled meats or dark toasted bread). Some coffee enthusiasts who prefer the flavor of the beans themselves (terror) consider this to be simply burnt.
Brewing Method of French Roast Coffee
A French press is a manual method of brewing coffee, using a type of coffee plunger machine to pressurize and brew. Traditional coffee filters absorb a lot of the oil (and flavor) from the coffee bean and capture all the tiny bits of coffee that can add more depth of flavor. With a French press, the coffee is steeped and fully saturated, producing a stronger cup of coffee. And because the temperature of the water can be easily manipulated.
Here’s a quick guide on how to make French press coffee.
1. Measure out about 11 tablespoons of coffee beans.
2. Grind the beans to the consistency of sea salt.
3. Pour the grounds into the bottom of a hot French press.
4. Heat the water to 200°F.
5. Feed the coffee with water. Let rise for 3:30 minutes.
6. Fill the press with water.
7. Push the plunger down gently.
Why is it called French Roast?
French roast, like other types of coffee, is named after the regional method of roasting the coffee. This is no surprise as the roasting process is one of the most important parts of the whole coffee treatment before it ends up in your cup. There are also other popular regional varieties such as Viennese roast and Italian roast.
Europe French roast method is used by coffee roasters in Europe and many other parts of the world. This tradition became popular in the 19th century, spreading to many different places. Today, almost any type of coffee bean that has a high level of roast or is considered dark is often called a French roast. These beans are sometimes called espresso roast or dark roast coffee.
Coffee, like all things in the food world, is a very personal choice and the bottom line is: you can choose any coffee you like. What’s better than that? A little background information before making your choice – who knows? You can become quite the expert yourself!
Throughout this article, I’ve mentioned some of how French roast coffee differs from its counterpart, the lighter roast alternative. In general, French roasts have a stronger flavor and less caffeine. If you want to try a great French roast, I recommend French Roast Coffee.