Best French Roast Coffee: Our Top 5 Choices

In a hurry? Our top pick for the best French roast coffee is Lion French Roast Coffee.

If you like your coffee dark and bold, then you’ll love French roast.

But with so many brands making their own take on this type of dark roasted coffee, picking a great one can be hard.

Well, I’ve done the homework, so you don’t have to.

In this article, I’ll share with you the best French roast coffee on the market, as well as a few close follow-ups.

Let’s get straight to the point.

Best French Roast Coffee: Top 5 Picks

Lion French Roast Coffee 

Lion French Roast Coffee 

Ever tried coffee grown in the volcano region? The soil, topography, and climate of such regions really cause the beans grown there to be more flavorful. This French Roast coffee bean by Lion is good proof of that.

This coffee comes from Hawaii, which is known for growing delicious Arabica coffee varieties. And truth be told, you can really feel the premium quality of the beans in a cup. 

This French roast is full-bodied with a slight fruitiness and spicy notes. But even though it’s so bold and dark, there’s practically no bitterness to it. It’s the kind of coffee you can chug down easily. 

It’s also worth noting that this dark roast coffee bean has a high level of polyphenols.

What these compounds do is act as antioxidants, meaning they protect your body from free radicals. It’s always good to know what you’re drinking is not just tasty but healthy as well.

This roast is sold both as a whole coffee bean and ground coffee. So whether you own a grinder or not doesn’t matter, you can still enjoy this delicious dark roast at home.

Pros

  • The volcanic soil rich in minerals gives these beans an intense and bold flavor
  • For the price it retails at, this product is quite a steal
  • Sold both as whole beans and ground coffee, depending on whether you own a grinder or not
  • The beans are rich in antioxidants

Cons

  • The beans are quite oily, meaning they leave quite a mess after grinding
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Volcanica French Roast Coffee 

Volcanica French Roast Coffee 

This is the darkest roast this brand makes, and definitely one of the most flavorful ones as well. 

After all, the coffee beans are grown at an altitude of over 3,000 feet. At such high elevations, the drainage is better, so the beans are of higher quality and more enhanced flavor. 

And that’s exactly what you feel in a cup of coffee. This French roast has a very deep and complex flavor profile, with pronounced smokiness and notes of cherry, lemon, and chocolate.

But don’t let those citrus notes fool you. This coffee is low in acid, so it’s great for those with digestive issues.

You can get your French roast as either whole bean coffee or coffee grounds. In the case of the latter, you can choose between the drip, espresso, or French press grind, depending on which coffee maker you have.

What’s more, the Volcanica coffee brand also offers a subscription option, ranging from 1 to 8 weeks. Plus, there’s also a small discount for using this option. 

Pros

  • Low acidity makes this coffee suitable for people with digestive problems
  • Sold as ground and whole bean coffee, so you can choose whichever is more convenient for you
  • The brand also offers a subscription option that delivers coffee to your door on a schedule
  • High in caffeine, this is the best coffee for espresso

Cons

  • The bold profile can be too strong for those not used to this type of dark roast coffee beans
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Starbucks Frech Roast Ground Coffee 

French Roast is one of Starbucks’ best-selling coffee, and I can totally understand why.

Even those complaining about the brand’s coffee not being that great agree that French Roast is something else.

Made by combining Arabica beans from Latin American and Pacific regions, this blend is robust and intense. Just what you’d expect from the French roast.

This coffee is as dark as it gets. It has a full body and bold flavor, with prominent notes of dark chocolate and sweet smoke. But even so, you won’t taste any bitterness in your cup. 

It’s also worth noting that Starbucks follows the Coffee And Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices standard. What this means is it sources coffee sustainably, with the protection of workers and biodiversity in mind. 

While that’s expected from such a huge global brand, it’s also praiseworthy.

One thing to keep in mind. Even though Starbucks sells its coffee in both ground and bean form, this one, in particular, is sold as preground coffee. So don’t go overboard with stocking on it, as the coffee can go stale rather fast once opened.

Pros

  • The notes of sweet smoke and dark chocolate make this coffee bold but well-rounded
  • The intense but bitter flavor profile makes this coffee beginner-friendly
  • Sold as ground coffee, making it suitable for those who don’t own a grinder
  • Coffee is sourced in accordance with sustainability standards

Cons

  • Since it’s preground, it goes stale relatively fast
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SF Bay Coffee French Roast Coffee 

To be honest, I don’t know why acidic coffee has such a bad rep. Personally, I love the crispness and subtle natural sweetness it gives to a cup of java. If you’re like me, then you’ll surely like this French Roast by SF Bay.

For such a dark roast, it’s actually rather surprising to have a medium level of acidity. But that characteristic is mainly thanks to the careful combination of Arabica beans from Central and South America. 

Yet, this coffee still tastes like a dark roast. It’s full-bodied, with an intense flavor profile and a smoky finish. 

In fact, this small family-owned company is so sure of the quality, that they offer a satisfaction guarantee. So in case you somehow end up not liking this coffee, your money wasn’t wasted.

This French Roast is sold as whole beans, so you can grind them yourself for optimal freshness. The hassle is well worth it, as the aroma of the beans spreads across the room as soon as you open the bag.

Pros

  • The coffee is rich and full-bodied, so it pairs well with milk
  • The brand offers a satisfaction guarantee, so you can rest assured your money isn’t wasted
  • With such a low price tag, this coffee won’t break your bank
  • Sold as whole bean coffee, meaning it remains fresh for longer

Cons

  • Only sold in 2-pound packaging
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Amazon Brand Solimo Dark Roast Coffee Pods

What if you only own a Keurig coffee machine? Well, that’s not a problem, because certain brands, like Amazon’s Solimo, also make this dark roast in capsules.

To make these pods, the company uses a 100% Arabica bean. A carefully combined blend gives that bold and smoky flavor French roast is known for. 

The brand is not that popular, so you’ve probably been sleeping on these pods so far. But let me reassure you. The coffee these pods make is at par with coffee made by some of the top capsule brands right now.

Now, what I like about these pods is that they’re sold in large bulk. You can choose between 24 and 100 pods, depending on how big your coffee addiction is. And since pods generally last a very long time, you don’t have to worry about your stack going stale too soon.

But if you end up not liking what you’ve bought, Amazon offers a satisfaction guarantee within a year from the purchase date.

These pods are compatible with both Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 machines. So whichever model from the large Keurig range you might own, rest assured these capsules will work. 

Pros

  • Sold at a very affordable price
  • The capsules are compatible with all Keurig machines
  • You can buy in bulks of 24 or 100 pieces, so you don’t have to repurchase that often
  • A 1-year satisfaction guarantee assures you get your money’s worth or money back

Cons

  • The pods aren’t recyclable
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How to Choose French Roast Coffee

Choosing the right coffee can be hard if you don’t know what to focus on. That’s why we’ll discuss here which characteristics you should pay attention to when choosing a French roast.

Origin

The term “French roast” doesn’t refer to the origin of coffee beans. Rather, it describes the type of roast. In this case, we’re talking about coffee that’s been roasted to the color of dark chocolate. 

And while you might opt for single-origin coffee when buying lighter coffee roasts, that’s not the case here.

Why, you might ask?

Well, with light roast coffee, you can really feel those unique flavors of a certain bean variety. But when coffee is roasted all the way, all those individual notes disappear. What you get instead is a very deep and smoky flavor profile.

Therefore, when buying French roast beans, you don’t need to pay too much attention to the origin of the coffee.

But between the two most popular varieties, Arabica and Robusta, the former is a somewhat better option. That’s because Robusta can turn rather bitter when roasted that dark. That’s often the case when lower-quality beans are used.

Flavor

When green, coffee beans have a grassy flavor profile. But through the roasting process, the profile changes as different compounds are created.

When coffee is roasted to the French roast level, it has a deep and intense flavor profile with a smoky finish.

Some of the most prominent notes of a French roasted coffee are chocolate and cherry, but caramel and spices aren’t uncommon either.

Depending on the blend, French roasted coffee can also taste bitter and slightly burnt. This pungent flavor profile is not for everyone. 

Freshness

The roasting process makes coffee beans more porous. As such, they go stale at a faster rate than a lighter roast. 

This is something to keep in mind when deciding on the amount of coffee you’re buying. Ideally, you should buy only the amount of coffee you plan on drinking that week. 

If you want coffee to stay as fresh as possible, buy whole beans. When coffee is ground, there’s much more surface exposed to air, so it oxidizes much faster.

For a fresh cup of joe, grind your beans just before you plan on using them.

Sustainability

Coffee farming and poverty, unfortunately, go hand in hand. Why? Because conditions favorable for growing coffee plants aren’t favorable for economic development. 

For that reason, many coffee farmers have a hard time earning enough to support a family. This is something many coffee companies are aware of, and are committed to changing. They do this by committing to fair practice.

This means ensuring farmers are paid adequately and treated with respect and equality. At the same time, the Fair Trade label also means the product can be traced from farm to shelf.

Final Words

So there you have it, a list of the best French roast coffee you can find nowadays.

And the one that clearly comes out as a winner is Lion French Roast Coffee.

The high-quality soil these beans grow in really come to light through the robust yet well-balanced flavor profile.

Plus, the coffee is high in antioxidants, meaning it’s not just delicious, but healthy too.

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Viktoria Marks
Viktoria is a writer and a journalist who can't imagine sitting by her computer without a large cup of java in her hand. She loves sampling coffee from all over the world as much as writing about it.