Starbucks French Roast vs. Italian Roast: Which One Is Better?

The smell of coffee used to wake me up each morning when I was young since my mother was a fan of brewing it. My love for coffee continued growing even when I became an adult, and I am now a Starbucks regular. If you enjoy dark roast coffee like me, you probably wonder about the difference between Starbucks French roast and Italian roast. I created this post to help you discover how they differ. You will also learn who they are best suited for. Read on.

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


French roast

Italian roast


100% arabica coffee

100% arabica coffee

Taste profile

Burnt and bitter

More burnt and bitter

Caffeine content/ Nutritional value


Significantly reduced

Availability/ Accessibility

Easy to access

Easy to access

Roast level

Dark roast

Dark roast

Starbucks French Roast vs. Italian Roast – How They Compare

Starbucks French Roast vs. Italian Roast

What it’s made of (ingredients)

Starbucks French and Italian roasts are made of 100% arabica coffee. This type of coffee is of high quality.

Since both are types of dark roast made up of arabica coffee, they draw in this category.

Taste profile

French and Italian roast coffee beans get to the second crack during roasting. French roast coffee beans are removed around the second crack, while Italian roasts are left slightly longer. This leads to a difference in their taste.

Though both are dark roasts, Italian roast tastes more bitter than French roast.

Caffeine content/nutritional value

The roasting duration of coffee beans directly impacts the nutrients and caffeine content. Since Italian roast takes more time than French roast, it has less caffeine and fewer nutrients. If you are looking for a roast that can give you more caffeine boost, consider the French roast.

Starbucks french roast wins in this category since it has higher caffeine content and more nutrients compared to the Italian roast.

Availability/ Accessibility

The good thing about these roasts is that they are both available at Starbucks. You can order either of them directly from a Starbucks store and use them to make different drinks like Americano, Caffe Macchiato, or Caffe Mocha.

Starbucks French roast and Italian roast draw in this category since they are both easy to access from Starbucks.

Roast level

Starbucks Italian and French roasts are both examples of dark roasts. They are both roasted up to the second crack. However, they differ in that Italian roast is roasted a little bit longer than French roast.

Starbucks Italian roast wins in this category since the extended roasting duration leads to a darker appearance on the coffee beans, stronger flavor, and more oil on the surface.

Starbucks French Roast vs. Italian Roast: A comparison overview

Starbucks Italian Roast – Overview

Starbucks French Roast

Contrary to popular belief, the Italian roast is not called that because it is grown in this country. The name refers to the style of roasting coffee beans. Starbucks Italian roast is one of the darkest roasts available in the market. This goes through a long roasting duration.

Coffee beans get roasted in stages. For Starbucks Italian roast, the coffee beans have to pass the first stage. The energy inside the beans accumulates, making them explode. The coffee beans continue roasting until they get to the second crack. When they get to this point, the structure of the coffee beans expands. After the second crack, the coffee beans move from medium to dark roast.

Starbucks Italian roast has an oil look since, after the second crack, the oil inside the coffee beans starts penetrating and covers the surface. This dark roast, therefore, has an oily look and intense color. Due to the extended roasting period, Italian roast has a bitter flavor. It sometimes tastes burnt. During roasting, Starbucks has to be more vigilant so that the coffee beans do not become charcoal.

What I liked

  • The strong flavor
  • Oily appearance

What I didn’t like

  • The fewer nutrients

Who it’s best suited for

  • It is suited for a person who does not want too much caffeine in their drink.

Starbucks French Roast – Overview

Starbucks Italian Roast

Like Italian roast, French roast is also a type of dark roast available at Starbucks. In this case, the coffee beans get roasted until they get to an amber-brown color. The type of roast also takes place over an extended duration. Special equipment is also utilized to enhance the heat distribution throughout the coffee beans.

The result of this is dark- colored coffee beans that are not too oily but retain a high amount of moisture compared to lighter roasts. The color of the coffee beans resembles that of dark chocolate after roasting. Coffee made from french roast usually has a smooth texture and rich taste. French roast coffees also tend to have a smoky flavor.

The coffee beans get to the second crack during the roasting process, like in the case of Italian roast. At this stage, the internal structure of the coffee beans starts collapsing, and the oil starts getting to the exterior. This means that coffee beans have a glossy look.

What I liked

  • It has more nutrients and caffeine content

What I didn’t like

  • It has an odd aroma

Who it’s best suited for

  • For coffee fans who are used to a bitter taste

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

Starbucks Italian Roast is better than French roast. This is because the dark roast is stronger since it has a full-bodied and rich taste. Though this roast has less caffeine, it is great for making espresso-based beverages. Adding things like milk can make your Italian roast coffee taste better.


Which is stronger between Italian roast and French roast?

Italian roast is stronger than French roast since it is roasted for a longer duration leading to a stronger flavor.

Which one is more bitter between Italian roast and French roast?

Italian roast features a more bitter flavoring than Starbucks french roast.

Which is darker: French roast or Italian roast?

Italian roast is darker than French roast.

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