Starbucks French Roast vs. Espresso Roast: Which One is better?

If you are a coffee lover, then you must be able to make it at home just in case you cannot order from Starbucks. There is a variety of coffee that you can use, and you must choose the best. A few years back I found myself with two equally good coffee roasts and wondered what the difference could be and which one was better. I began to research and found valuable information that made my decision-making easier. In this post, you will learn the significant features of Starbucks French Roast and Espresso Roast and which one is the best.

What are the differences between Starbucks French Roast vs. Espresso Roast?


French Roast

Espresso Roast

Type of coffee beans



Taste profile

It is smoky, intense with light citrusy notes and a burnt after taste. It is bitter

Sweet or bitter-sweet, dark chocolate or spicy taste or caramel taste

Caffeine content

Slightly lower

Slightly higher


The almost black color with a shiny, oily surface

Darker color with a slightly shiny surface due to oil

Roast level

Dark roast, 4500F to 5000F

Medium to medium-dark 4100F to 4500F

Starbucks French Roast vs. Espresso Roast – How They Compare.

Starbucks French Roast

Type of coffee beans

Starbucks French Roast is made using Arabica coffee beans from around the world. Arabica coffee beans are unique because they contain less caffeine. Therefore, they produce coffee that has a less bitter taste and is smoother.

Starbucks Espresso roast is made using Arabica coffee sourced from many countries worldwide. Arabica beans produce a better tasting coffee as compared to Robusta beans.

This category has no winner because Starbucks French Roast and Espresso roast use Arabica coffee beans.

Taste profile

Starbucks French Roast has an intense smoky flavor with light citrusy notes and a burnt after taste. It is bitter. Coffee lovers will find the taste to be excellent. However, you might find it a little bitter and highly intense if you are not used to it.

On the other hand, the Starbucks espresso roast has a sweet to bitter-sweet taste. The bitter-sweet taste results from roasting, acid, and caffeine. Acidity decreases with the level of roasting, and the coffee may have a spicy, dark chocolate or caramel taste if the roast is medium-dark. You will experience the full flavor of the coffee.

The Starbucks espresso roast is the winner in this category because it provides coffee’s ultimate taste and flavor. Conversely, the French roast has an intense bitter taste that only a few people may enjoy.

Caffeine content

Starbucks French Roast has slightly lower levels of caffeine. The process of roasting impacts the caffeine content. The higher the roast level, the lower the level of caffeine. Caffeine has negative health impacts because it causes addiction and a higher heart rate.

The espresso roast has a lower roast level than the French roast. As mentioned, roasting reduces the caffeine quantity. It has a slightly higher caffeine level.

Starbucks French roast is the winner in this category because it has a slightly lower caffeine content. Therefore, coffee made from a French roast has fewer side effects than espresso.


Starbucks French Roast is almost black and has a shiny, oily surface. The black color is a result of exposing beans to high temperatures. The shiny surface is caused by oil from the beans due to the intense heat. It produces dark-colored coffee. The oil can damage coffee machine components and needs cleaning after use.

The Espresso roast has a slightly dark color and a slightly shiny surface. The coffee produced is dark brown. The oil produced is insignificant and can hardly damage the coffee machine.

The espresso roast wins in this category because dark brown coffee is more appealing than dark coffee.

Roast level

The French roast has the highest roast level, a dark roast. The coffee beans are exposed to temperatures of about 4500F to 5000F.

Espresso roast is medium to medium-dark roast level. The temperatures are about 4100F to 4500F.

The espresso roast wins this category because they use less energy to roast. French roast requires high energy to roast, increasing production cost and damaging the environment

Starbucks French Roast vs. Espresso Roast: A comparison review

Starbucks French roast – Overview

Starbucks French Roast vs. Espresso Roast

The French espresso is excellent for seasoned coffee lovers. It has an intense taste that may put off individuals who are not used to it. Besides its taste, French roast is healthier because it has the lowest level of caffeine. You need to try the French roast, and the more you get used to it, the better it becomes.

What I liked;

  • It has lower caffeine content than the rest

What I didn’t like;

  • It has a rather intense, bitter taste and a burning after taste

Who it’s best suited for.

  • It is best suited for seasoned coffee drinkers who crave an intense coffee taste

Starbucks espresso roast – Overview

Starbucks Espresso

Starbucks espresso roast is the ultimate coffee for everyone because it produces excellent coffee flavors. The caffeine levels in the coffee are manageable, making it a good stimulant. You will also love the coffee’s color, which has no unpleasant aftertaste. Try the espresso roast coffee with milk and various sweeteners and experience the real taste of coffee.

What I liked;

  • I liked the taste and the appearance after coffee preparation

What I didn’t like;

  • The slightly higher level of caffeine

Who it’s best suited for.

  • It is suited for individuals who love coffee but cannot withstand intense coffee taste.

Final Verdict: So, Which is Better? – Starbucks French Roast or Espresso Roast

The espresso roast is better than the French roast because it tastes better and has authentic coffee flavors. The French roast has an intense and bitter taste that can put off inexperienced coffee drinkers. The espresso roast is cost-effective since it uses less energy during roasting and is hence environmental friendly.


What is the big difference between Espresso Roast and French Roast?

The taste and roast level are the most significant differences between the two. French roast has a higher dark roast level and an intense coffee taste, while espresso roast has a medium to medium-dark roast level with strong to average coffee flavors

Which is stronger between espresso roast and French roast?

French roast is stronger than espresso roast

Which one is more bitter between, espresso roast and French roast?

French roast is bitter than espresso roast because the burning process turns chlorogenic acid lactones into phenylindanes which has a bitter taste.

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