Espresso Roast vs French Roast | Everything You Need to Know

While there are many coffee roasts, the most popular ones are the Espresso and French roasts. But you will notice some significant differences between Espresso roast vs French roast.

These two roasts differ in many ways, including in the roasting process, flavor profile, acidity levels, caffeine content, texture, and popularity. For example, Espresso has a bitter-sweet flavor, while French roast tastes smoky and bitter-like. Meanwhile, Espresso roast boasts more caffeine content than the French roast.

Stay right here to find out more about their differences & similarities.

Espresso Roast vs. French Roast: Comparison Table

Below is a head-to-head comparison of Espresso and French roast so you have an easy time choosing the best one for your needs.

AspectsEspresso RoastFrench Roast
Flavor ProfileRich caramel sweetnessSmoky or charcoal-like
Roasting processCoffee beans are roasted a little hotter but for a short period.Coffee beans are roasted at higher temperatures and for longer periods until they turn dark brown with an oily sheen.
Caffeine LevelsHighLow
PopularityMore PopularModerately popular
TextureThick and creamierMild and smooth
Benefits1. Higher levels of antioxidants.
2. Rich in anti-inflammatory properties.
1. Easy on the digestive system.
2. Effective in weight management.
3. Rich in Niacin or vitamin B3.
Acidity levelMore acidicLess acidic

Espresso Roast vs French Roast (Comparison & Variations)

Espresso roast
Espresso Roast

Torn between choosing Espresso vs. French roast? Let’s check out how these two compare against each other.

1. Flavor Profile

Espresso roast tastes almost similar to regular coffee. However, it is highly concentrated, giving it a rich caramelly sweetness flavor that is bitter-sweet. It also has a strong scent and thick taste.

Compared to Espresso roast, French roast is robust in flavor. It boasts an intensely smoky, ash, or charcoal-like flavor [1]. This is because its roast level is very dark. Therefore, you might find it bitter instead of bitter-sweet, like Espresso roast.

French roast coffee is a popular style and one that many coffee drinkers prefer. This dark roasted coffee has a smoky sweetness and can often have a charred taste. This has caused some coffee geeks to refer to it as a ‘burnt’ coffee.

Lindsey Goodwin,

2. Roasting Process

An espresso roast typically involves roasting green coffee beans a little hotter for shorter periods to reduce acidity [2]. If using medium roast beans, heat them to 410 – 430 degrees Fahrenheit until they reach the second crack.

An espresso roast is simply a way of roasting any green coffee with the intention of it tasting good brewed as espresso. It’s not stronger, or a different type of green coffee, but usually roasted differently to suit the espresso making process.

 Geoff Woodley,

But for medium-dark roasts, you should heat them a little longer at about 25 degrees Fahrenheit roasting temperatures than medium roasts.

Meanwhile, French roast requires roasting the beans until they are dark brown with an oil sheen. During the roasting process, the internal temperature should reach around 464 degrees Fahrenheit, and the beans must make two cracking noises [3].

In the first crack, steam is released, and the second crack involves cell walls breaking and releasing oils.

Home roasters looking to try their hands at French roast will be looking for the “second crack,” signifying that the coffee beans’ internal structure is beginning to collapse. This corresponds to an internal temperature of at least 240 C (464 F).

Alex Mastin, homegrounds

3. Caffeine Levels

Unlike French roast, Espresso roast is roasted from coffee beans with a medium-to-medium dark roast level. Meanwhile, French roast has a higher dark roast level.

And as it turns out, coffee beans that have been roasted lighter have higher caffeine content than those roasted darker. This means Espresso roast has more caffeine than French roast. The reason being French roast is roasted at higher temperatures, burning off most of the caffeine molecules [4].

A coffee bean with a lighter roast has a higher caffeine level than a French roast. This is because, in the roasting process, coffee beans’ caffeine molecules are burned.


For example, one ounce of Espresso roast may contain 51 to 63 mg of caffeine. Meanwhile, an 8-ounce cup of French roast coffee has around 205 mg or 27 mg per ounce of caffeine.

4. Popularity

The Espresso roast is the most popular of the two worldwide. This is because of its full, balanced flavor that is bitter-sweet. Not to mention, it can be roasted using any roast of coffee, including medium and dark roasts.

Although some may find its bitter, smoky flavor too strong, French roast has become a beloved option around the globe.

5. Texture

The espresso roast boasts a thicker, creamier, and more balanced texture than the French roast. The thickness is because of the foam it contains called crema. If watery and thin, it means the roast is under-extracted.

On the other hand, the French roast has a mild and smooth texture hence its rich flavors. Its consistency is more tea-like.

French roast
French Roast

6. Acidity Levels

Acidity usually reduces as a roast becomes darker. This means dark roast beans have less acidity than their lighter counterparts.

So, while both roasts have low acidity levels, French roast is less acidic and easier on the tummy. This is because a French roast is usually a type of dark roast.

Besides, espresso roast may become highly acidic depending on the coffee beans you use and your brewing technique. Also, adding sweeteners or brewing the beans may make the Espresso roast very acidic.

7. Benefits

Espresso roast contains higher levels of antioxidants, including polyphenol and chlorogenic acid than French or dark roast. It is also high in anti-inflammatory properties.

This is because the roasting process is shorter hence these compounds are not destroyed. Therefore, this roast may help reduce the risk of various illnesses like heart disease.

One of the benefits of the French roast is that it is easy on your digestive system. This is because it contains less caffeine content and acidity levels. In addition, it is more effective in weight management than the Espresso roast.

Also, French roast contains Niacin or vitamin B3. Therefore, it may help lower cholesterol levels, improve brain health, and reduce blood pressure.

Brewing Tips for An Ideal Espresso or French Roast Brew

Brewing the perfect Espresso or French roast brew requires patience and practice. Below are tips for brewing the ideal Espresso roast:

  • Always use freshly roasted beans to achieve the sweet caramel flavor.
  • You must use a consistent grind size that is not too coarse or too fine.
  • The ideal brewing time for espresso roast should be between 20 and 30 seconds. If you brew for longer than 30 seconds, it will be burnt due to over-extraction.
  • The brewing temperature should range between 190- and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Medium roasts are the best for brewing espresso.

How about brewing the ideal French roast brew? Here are some tips to help you:

  • The best brewing temperature for a dark French roast should be 185 F and 190 F for a medium roast.
  • Always allow your French roast to brew for 4 to 5 minutes for the best smoky flavor.
  • The ideal ratio for brewing French roast is a 1:12 coffee-to-water. So, if using 30 grams of coffee, the water should be around 360 grams.
  • Dark roast beans are the best for brewing French roast brew.

Creating Your Own Espresso or French Roast Blends at Home

You can create your own French or Espresso roast blends at home by mixing two or more single-origin coffee bean varieties. For example, you could combine light and dark roasted beans.

But before you start creating your French or Espresso roast blends, you must record each coffee bean:

  • Aroma and flavor
  • Acidity
  • Fragrance
  • Aftertaste
  • Body

However, to create your own blend, you should roast the coffee beans separately and in small batches. Then, grind and brew them separately before mixing them at different ratios until you achieve your ideal blend.

Where To Buy Quality Espresso Roasts and French Roasts?

If you want freshly roasted Espresso or French roasts, you could buy them online directly from the roaster. However, this option may be a bit costly in terms of shipping.

You can also buy quality roasts on e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay, which offer friendly shipping costs. In addition, you can get the roasts from specialty coffee shops like Starbucks or at your local grocery shop.


Espresso and French roast are famous, with many differences. For instance, French is more potent and tastes more bitter than Espresso. However, Espresso roast has more caffeine content and is thicker in texture than French roast.

Now, if you are thinking of brewing any of these roasts, there are many tips to help you get the best results. The best part is that you can create your own Espresso or French roast blends at home. You just need to know where to get quality roasts.


Dipan Shaw

Leave a Comment