Starbucks Italian roast vs. espresso roast: which one is better?

Most people who frequent Starbucks stores are coffee lovers. I must admit that I cannot have enough of Starbucks coffee since it is expertly crafted. What some people may not know is that Starbucks coffee beverages are made from whole coffee beans that have been roasted with varying intensities to create three roasts, including blonde, medium, and dark roasts. Italian roast and espresso roast are two of the Starbucks dark roasts used to make coffee drinks. If you are wondering how these two roasts differ, read on to learn more about them.

What are the differences between Starbucks Italian roast vs. Espresso roast?

Feature/Starbucks Coffee Roast

Starbucks Italian Roast

Starbucks Espresso Roast

Ingredients

Blend of Latin America Coffees

Blend of Latin American and Asia/Pacific coffees

Taste Profile

Sweet and roasty, with caramelized sugar, chocolate and spices complementary flavors

Rich and caramelly, with spices, caramel, nuts and chocolate complementary flavors

Caffeine Content/ Nutritional value

260 milligrams in a Grande serving

260 milligrams in a Grande serving

Availability/ Accessibility

Easy to access every day in a Starbucks store near you all year round.

Easy to access every day in a Starbucks store near you all year round.

Roast level

Dark roast

Dark roast

Starbucks Italian roast vs. Espresso roast – How They Compare

Starbucks Italian roast

What it’s made of (ingredients)

The Starbucks uses to create a specific coffee roast determines its taste and flavors. The company uses a blend of Latin America Coffees to make the Italian roast. The Italian roast came about when Starbucks attempted to create a slightly darker coffee than the signature espresso roast.

On the other hand, Starbucks Espresso roast is made with a blend of Latin American and Asia/Pacific coffees. The quest to create Starbucks espresso started in 1975 when the company was searching for the perfect melding of coffee beans and roast. After months of experimentation, Starbucks created an espresso roast.

This category is a draw because Starbucks creates its Italian roast and espresso roast from a blend of different coffees to bring forth unique flavors. 

Taste profile

Starbucks Italian roast has a sweet and roasty taste, with caramelized sugar, chocolate, and spices complementary flavors. The Italian roast is roasted a bit darker than the espresso roast giving it a medium mouth feel and sweet taste. The Italian roast does not have the smoky edge of the French roast; thus, it has a depth of flavor that you can feel even with cream and sugar.

On the other hand, espresso roast has a rich and caramelly taste, with complementary flavors of spices, caramel, nuts, and chocolate. Espresso roast features tender acidity and a strong scent that balances perfectly with rich caramel sweetness.

Starbucks espresso roast wins in this category because of its rich and caramel taste, and the medium acidity balances well with the caramel sweetness. 

Caffeine content/nutritional value 

Both Starbucks Italian roast and espresso roast are dark roasts, meaning they have 260 milligrams of caffeine. Thus, while the two roasts differ in taste due to the different roasting processes, they have the same caffeine content.

This category is a draw because both Italian and espresso roast have the same caffeine levels. 

Availability/ Accessibility

Knowing that you will always find your favorite Starbucks coffee in the stores is the most fulfilling feeling for coffee lovers. Starbucks Italian roast and espresso roast are readily available from a Starbucks shop near you all year round.

This category is a draw because Starbucks Italian roast and espresso roast are both easy to access at any time in a Starbucks store near you all year round.

Roast level 

Starbucks’ roasting process is vital as it gives coffee its unique flavor and taste. Starbucks Italian roast is a dark roast with a medium mouth feel. Italian roast is roasted a bit darker than espresso and without the smoky edge of the French roast to give it the deep, full-bodied taste with hints of caramelized sugar.

Similarly, Starbucks espresso roast is a dark roast but with a strong mouthfeel since it is not roasted as dark as the Italian roast. Its roasting process gives it tender acidity and a strong scent, with rich caramel sweetness.

Starbucks Italian roast wins in this category since it is roasted slightly darker than espresso but without the smokiness of French roast, giving it a flavor that holds its own with sugar and cream. 

Starbucks Italian roast vs. Espresso roast: A comparison overview

Starbucks Italian roast – Overview

Starbucks espresso roast

Starbucks Italian roast is a blend of Latin America Coffees. Although it falls under the dark roast category, it is roasted slightly darker than the Espresso roast, giving it a sweet taste and moderate mouth feel.

I liked its sweet and roasty taste, which is accompanied by caramelized sugar, chocolate, and spices complementary flavors.

It is best suited for individuals who want a dark roast but with a moderate mouth feel and low acidity.

What I liked;

  • Its sweet and roasty taste
  • Caramelized sugar, chocolate, and spices complementary flavors

What I didn’t like;

Who it’s best suited for.

It is suitable for individuals who want a dark roast but with a moderate mouth feel and low acidity. 

Starbucks espresso roast – Overview

Starbucks Italian roast vs. espresso roast

The espresso roast is the core of every espresso drink that Starbucks crafts. The quest to create Starbucks espresso started in 1975 when the company was searching for the perfect melding of coffee beans and roast, and after months of experimentation, Starbucks created espresso roast.

I liked its rich and caramel taste, and the medium acidity balances well with the caramel sweetness.

Starbucks espresso roast is best suited for individuals who want a strong mouth feel, with a strong scent and medium acidity in their coffee.

What I liked;

  • Its rich and caramel taste
  • The medium acidity balances well with the caramel sweetness
  • Spices, caramel, nuts, and chocolate complementary flavors

What I didn’t like;

  • Its acidity level

Who it’s best suited for.

  • It is suitable for individuals who want a strong mouth feel, with a strong scent and medium acidity in their coffee.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Starbucks Italian roast vs. espresso roast

Choosing either of the two is unfair since each roast presents unique features. Starbucks Italian roast has a sweet and roasty taste, with caramelized sugar, chocolate, and spices complementary flavors, while the espresso roast has a rich and caramelly taste, with spices, caramel, nuts, and chocolate complementary flavors. Additionally, they have the same caffeine content. Therefore, Italian roast and espresso roast are boot good options.

FAQ Section

Is espresso roast healthier than Italian roast?

Both roasts have the same caffeine content and thus are similar in terms of healthy levels.

What is the main difference between Starbucks Italian roast and espresso roast?

The main difference between Starbucks Italian roast and espresso roast is that the former is roasted slightly darker than the latter.

Which one has a higher roast level between Italian roast and espresso roast?

Italian roast has a higher roast level since it is a bit darker than espresso roast.

Which one tastes better between Italian roast and espresso roast?

Espresso roast tastes better since it has a rich caramel flavor.

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