Is French Press Coffee Bad for You? (Yes! But have some Benefits!)

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Johny Morrisson

French Press is the most rewarding and simple coffee brewing method. With the French Press, you can prepare a rich and bold cup of Coffee without having a lot of fuss. 

But Is French Press coffee bad for the health? This is the hottest question in the coffee World. Every French press lover wants to know if the French Press has any harmful effects on their health. But some die-hard fans of Cafetiere simply don’t care.

I also love French Press coffee very much, and I used to hear from people that drinking French Press coffee can be harmful to health.

So, I decided to research the topic of the benefits and How French Press coffee can be bad for health. Whether the benefits dismiss the bad effects or drinking how much French Press coffee is safe for you.

I came to know about some interesting facts during my research which I am going to share with you.

Key Takeaways

  • French press contains compounds cafestol/kahweol which can raise cholesterol levels if consumed in excess
  • 2-3 cups of French Press coffee is generally safe and actually healthy
  • Using paper filters can remove nearly all cafestol from the coffee
  • Last sips of French press coffee contain most cafestol – leave them.
  • Avoid French Press Coffee if you have high cholesterol or heart conditions.
Is French press coffee bad for you

why French press coffee is bad for you?

French Press might be bad for your health mainly because of the Cafestol. Cafestol is a dangerous compound found in coffee and it can’t be filtered by the metal strainer of Cafetiere. But it’s completely fine if you drink French Press moderately (2-3 cups a day).

Cafestol can raise the level of bad cholesterol in your body, that’s why French Press coffee is not as healthy and you should avoid it if you have some health conditions like high Blood pressure, Heart problems, and high Cholesterol levels.

How is French Press Coffee different from other brewing methods?

French Press is an immersion type of brewing method. It only has a metal strainer that keeps away the coffee grounds from your cup.

Since French Press only uses only metal strainers, it is essentially an unfiltered type of Coffee. Coffee grounds release more than 1000 compounds during extraction.

Most of these compounds can’t be filtered through a metal strainer of French Press.

That’s why French Press coffee actually tastes better and richer than regular drip coffee.

With that many oils and flavors, it does contain some harmful oils that can raise your cholesterol levels, heartburn, or hurt your stomach.

Traditionally, no paper filters are used with the French Press brewing method. Yes, you can use a paper filter with French Press coffee. But, I must say that if you are a coffee enthusiast, you will notice a considerable difference in the taste after using filters. The flavor will not be as rich or bold as without the paper filters.

What are Cafestol and Kahweol? And how bad are they?

Cafestol and Kahweol are the organic compounds present in coffee drinks prepared through brewing methods that use no proper filter, like Turkish Coffee or French Press.

Cholesterol is a natural substance found in our body; in addition to its natural occurrence in the body, we also get cholesterol from the food we eat.

Cafestol is the most dominant culprit for raising the level of Cholesterol in our body. And too much Cholesterol can put you at risk of cardiovascular diseases

But in addition to harmful effects, Cafestol and Kahweol also have many health benefits. These compounds contain anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory components, which protect our bodies from life-threatening diseases. According to a recent study.

“Cafestol and Kahweol are natural diterpenes extracted from coffee beans. In addition to the effect of raising serum lipid, in vitro and in vivo experimental results have revealed that the two diterpenes demonstrate multiple potential pharmacological actions such as anti-inflammation, hepatoprotective, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-osteoclastogenesis activities. The most relevant mechanisms involved are down-regulating inflammation mediators, increasing glutathione (GSH), inducing apoptosis of tumor cells and anti-angiogenesis.”

How much Cafestol does French Press have?

French Press has 20-27 mg/L of Cafestol, which can surely raise the level of Cholesterol in your body.

This amount isn’t harmful if you drink only 2 to 3 cups of French Press a day. According to Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

 “Five to eight cups a day of unfiltered coffee may actually raise your ”bad” LDL cholesterol.”

If you are drinking more than 5 cups of French Press coffee, it can put you at risk of higher cholesterol levels. So, you should seriously think about reducing the amount you are consuming or using paper filters.

But it’s also the fact that almost 80% of Cholesterol is produced naturally in the human body, and only 20% comes from our diet. That means you can only control 20% of Cholesterol through your diet.

Some people have the genetic problem of producing more Cholesterol. So, if your body has those genes, then cutting the cups of French Press coffee will not make a considerable difference.

Dark-roasted coffee beans are slightly less in Cafestol than medium-roasted coffee beans. And also, Robusta coffee beans have less Cafestol than Arabica coffee beans. So you can also consider the type of beans you are using for preparing French Press

Does filtering Coffee remove the Cafestol?

You can use Paper filters to remove almost all the Cafestol and Kahweol present in French Press Coffee; hence it reduces the risk of bad cholesterol levels. 

There are three methods of using paper filters with French Press coffee. I have prepared a detailed guide on How to filter French Press coffee with paper filters. Have a look at it if you want to learn about it.

If you are not using paper filters, I recommend leaving behind the last 1 to 2 sips in your cup. These last sips are very sludgy and oily, and most of the Cafestol is present in these last sips.

Do using paper filters affect the flavor?

In addition to Cafestol, paper filters also remove many flavorful oils from Coffee. If you are a coffee lover and your taste buds are sensitive, you will surely notice a difference in taste. 

Filtering French Press with a paper filter removes the richness and boldness of your favorite drink.

So, if you are not a cholesterol patient and don’t over-drink Coffee, I will not recommend you to use paper filters. 

But if you want to want to remain on the safer side, use paper filters.

paper filter coffee

Also Read, French Press vs Filtered Drip coffee

Can you drink French Press coffee if you are a cholesterol patient?

Regretfully No! It’s not advisable to drink French Press coffee if your body has a bad cholesterol level or if you are a heart patient. 

Although you can drink French Press by using paper filters, I recommend you consult your doctor first. Doctors usually recommend shifting to drip coffee for such patients.

Also, even if you are not a cholesterol patient but a die-hard fan of French Press who overdrinks French Press coffee. It is recommended to check your cholesterol level at least every six months.

Benefits of French Press Coffee

Now let’s discuss the benefits of brewing your Coffee with French Press and what makes it special!

1- Simplest Brewing Method: French Press is undoubtedly the simplest and easiest way of brewing your Coffee—no need for electricity, no need for heavy machines.

And even with minimum brewing skills, you can brew a perfect cup of Coffee.

2- You Have Complete Control Over Your Brew: While preparing Coffee with French Press, you have complete control over your brew. You can adjust the brewing temperature according to your preference. You can choose the grind size of your liking. You can choose whether to steep your Coffee for a longer or shorter period.

3- Thick And Rich Taste: French Press brewing method essentially results in the thickest and boldest cup of coffee you have ever had as there is no proper filter used in this brewing method, so all the oils remain inside your cup, making it more flavorful.

4- Eco Friendly: This brewing method doesn’t use electricity (if you are not electric kettles for heating water), so it doesn’t contribute to carbon emissions. This brewing method also doesn’t use pods, so it does not have any plastic waste. And even if your French Press gets damaged, it’s completely eco-friendly to discard it as they are made of completely BPA-free material.

5- You Can Use It Anywhere: French Press is a compact and lightweight coffee machine, so you can take it anywhere. It’s best for travelers and backpackers.

Benefits of French Press Coffee

French Press is a healthy drink

Besides the adverse effects of Cafestol and Kahweol, there are many ingredients in Coffee that have health benefits. According to the study:

“Dr. Rimm and his colleagues believe the combination of those ingredients may delay the absorption of blood sugar, help cells draw sugar from the blood, increase metabolic rate, and help blood vessels contract and relax. Those actions, they suspect, account for Coffee’sCoffee’s association with lower blood pressure, a slower rate of weight gain with age, and reduced risks for developing type 2 diabetes or dying from cardiovascular disease or neurological diseases.”

Final thoughts

After researching this topic, my findings are that French Press is only bad for you if you drink it in excess or if you already have bad cholesterol levels. Otherwise, it’s completely fine.

As we know, excess of everything is bad, so does this apply to French Press coffee. It’s completely fine even if you drink 2 to 3 cups of French Press coffee per day.

But if you are suffering from cardiovascular diseases, you have to stop drinking French Press coffee or start using paper filters. Or you might take consultations from health experts.

So, next time someone tells you French Press coffee is bad, show them this article!


Which Coffee Brewing Methods Have The Most Cafestol?

Turkish Coffee, Moka pot, and French Press have the highest amount of Cafestol present in them as these brewing methods don’t use proper filtration.

Which Coffee Brewing Method Has The Least Cafestol?

Drip coffee, Chemex, and the coffee brewing methods which use proper filtration methods have the least amount of Cafestol.

How much caffeine is in a French Press?

On average, an 8-ounce (240 ml) cup of French press coffee contains around 100-137 mg of caffeine.
However, The caffeine content can vary based on factors such as the type and roast of coffee beans used and the brewing ratio.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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