Is French Press Coffee Bad For You? Here are the Facts
For all of the good things that we get from drinking coffee, one must always remember the adage, “you can always have too much of a good thing.”
Moderate consumption of coffee is no biggie (in fact, it's good for you), but can there be adverse side effects from multiple cups of coffee consumption daily? Or better yet, is one brew method worse for you over another?
I want to take some time to look seriously at one of the more popular brewing methods and ask the hard question, is French press coffee bad for you?
Today we will be looking at some myths, truths, and hard facts about drinking French press coffee.
French Press Coffee
French Press coffee is a unique way to make coffee as compared to other individual coffee brewers.
Unlike, say, the Hario V60 or Kalita Wave that use paper filters, a good French press uses a metal mesh strainer to separate the coffee from the grounds after steeping.
Because of the plunger extracting the coffee and the filter not being as fine as a paper filter, a lot of the natural oils prevalent in coffee will be in your cup.
Not only that, there will be a lot of grit and sediment present in the cup which will lead to a much thicker mouthfeel and stronger coffee taste.
French Press Coffee and it's Impacts On Your Health
Let’s take a look at the good and the bad (in regards to your health) of French press coffee.
Please keep in mind that one french press brew per day is not going to leave you with health problems, we are talking about excessive use here (i.e. 5+ cups per day)
Your Cholesterol May Rise
New studies show that the increased amount of oil in your French press cup of coffee can lead to increased cholesterol causing heart disease, adverse liver symptoms, and cardiovascular problems. The oils in your coffee include a substance called cafestol. Cafestol is the most potent cholesterol elevating agent currently known.
This study reveals that drinking 5 cups of french press coffee per day for four weeks can increase your cholesterol 6-8 percent!
The best way to avoid cafestol in your coffee consumption is to use a paper filter which reduces cafestol to negligible amounts in your cup. Think about maybe changing your morning coffee routine over to a brewer like the Hario V60 for single serve or a Chemex brewer for a larger multiple cup serving.
You May Stain Your Teeth
Although tea causes more teeth staining than coffee, your black brew can still be very averse to bright, white teeth.
Coffee has natural acids that break down tooth enamel and chromogen compounds that cling your teeth. As you eat and drink foods with these two compounds, you increase the likelihood of browning and staining your pearly whites.
The good news about drinking French press coffee is that it will not stain your teeth any worse than other coffee brewers. But the bad news is that it doesn’t protect them any better.
The best way to prevent teeth staining is to brush your teeth immediately after your last cup of coffee for the day with whitening toothpaste. If you can’t do that, at least, rinse your mouth out with water to remove some of the chromogenic compounds.
If you need to do something about it, you can always purchase a teeth whitening kit for rapid white brightening if you’re overly concerned.
It (could be) Harmful During Pregnancy
The caffeine that you consume from your french press coffee could negatively affect the fetus during pregnancy. Because the baby fetus can’t process caffeine like an adult body can, the baby will not be able to consume all the necessary nutrients for proper development.
A British study found that the risk of stillbirth pregnancies increased significantly with each cup you drank. 1-3 cups of coffee a day showed no real significant impact, but after that, it detrimentally increased the chances from 40% all the way to 220% the more you drank.
The best way to prevent any issues with the pregnancy is to reduce your caffeine intake down to one cup or less a day. If you can’t say no to your coffee, why not think about instead of using your 7 cups French press, invest in a single serve French press to reduce waste and temptation.
You've probably noticed that I used the word *may* a few times above, and this is because most studies on coffee are not done for one type of brew (i.e. the french press) - they are done for coffee as a beverage.
French Press coffee, although delicious, MAY have some health problems if you consume copious amounts of it. Come to think of it, if you consume copious amounts of water you're in trouble, so just do it in moderation!
- To avoid increasing cholesterol levels, think about switching to a paper filtered brewer.
- Brush your teeth or at the very least rinse your mouth out after your last cup of coffee.
- Reduce your caffeine intake to one cup or less a day when pregnant.
If you have any questions about caffeine, health, or French press coffee let us know in the comments below.
If you are ready to throw away your French Press, replace it with another coffee maker by checking out this page.