What Is a Full City Roast?

What is a Full City Roast? Many people think it’s just another name for a medium roast, but there’s more to it. This guide will help you understand what it is, the benefits of taking one, and tips for making one at home.

What Is a Full City Roast? 

A full city roast is a medium-dark roast, which means it has been roasted to the second crack.  A dry appearance, a dark brown color, and a few patches of oil generally characterize it. It also is a darker roast of coffee beans and has more body and sweetness than city roasts with modest acidity.

This degree of roasting reduces the complex origin flavors of coffee, in particular, more acidic tones. In place of these, the coffee has dark caramel and sweet chocolate tones with lower acidity and body. Whole city roasts take 11 or 12 minutes to roast. 

A close-up view of coffee beans being roasted on a coffee roaster

The Difference Between Full City and French Roasts

There are a few different roast levels you can reach when it comes to coffee. The darkest roasts are French roasts, and the lightest are city roasts. The full city comes in between the two in color. 


Full City has a sweet, smoky flavor combined with a thin body, giving it a delicious mouthfeel. French roasts have a very strong flavor that can be described as bittersweet or burnt.

The reason for this difference in taste is because of how long the beans are roasted. When making a French roast, an extra step is taken after roasting to heat the beans in a drum or other container until they reach their final temperature (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit). 

This process caramelizes some of the sugars in the bean, creating what is known as the Maillard reaction (or “roasted” flavor).


The Full City roast has a brownish-black color, a reddish tinge, and a rich, full body. The French Roast is the darkest of all roasts and produces an almost black bean that has an intense, smoky flavor.

How to Make a Full City Roast at Home

You can do four different types of coffee roasting at home, each with its pros and cons. 

I will roast with the home coffee roaster method.

What you’ll need:

  • Green beans
  • Roasting machine 
  • Air popper

Step 1: Pick Your Beans

The first step to making a full city at home is choosing the right beans. You’ll want to look for high-quality, fresh-roasted green beans from a trusted source.

Step 2: Set the Oven to Preheating and Start Roasting the Beans

If you’re using an air popper, then preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re using an electric popper, then plug it in and set it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A close-up view of a white mug filled with roasted coffee beans

Step 3: Start Roasting the Beans

When using an air popper, start slowly (about 10 seconds per batch) until you hear your first crack. Then increase the speed to about 30 seconds per batch until the desired brownish-black color is reached. 

When using an electric popper, just leave it on at full speed for 4-6 minutes after hearing the first crack or until the desired color is reached. Keep the beans inside the oven for at least 11 minutes before turning it off.

Step 4: Cool the Beans

Put the “No Heat Rotation” setting on for 5 minutes. This will allow them to cool down and also assist in removing chaff.

Step 5: Degas

Take the roasted beans out of the drum and wipe any remaining chaff with a cloth or paper towel.

After roasting, the internal temperature of your coffee beans will continue to rise for a few days as they release CO2 gas. This process is called “degassing.” Letting them sit in a cool place (like an air-conditioned room) will help speed up this process.

Related Questions

What Is the Other Name for Full City Roast?

There are several names for Full City Roast. Some people call it “light French,” though that’s not exactly accurate because it’s not as light as the French roast. Other people call it “light espresso” or “Continental.”

Which Brewing Method Is Best for Full City Roast?

The best brewing method for Full City Roast is the one you like best. Some people like drip coffee or Keurig because it’s easy and consistent. Others like pour-over methods because they’re more interactive and can be tailored to their tastes. Some people love the non-China manufactured French press, vacuum pot, siphon, or any of the many other ways to brew coffee.


A full city roast refers to a darker roast of coffee beans than a city roast. It is characterized by a dry appearance, dark brown color, sweetness, and modest acidity. It differs from a french roast in terms of taste and roasting temperature.