Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Unhappy news for beloved French press coffee

I love my java, and my French press too! Photo: Sally Kneidel
I fell in love with French press coffee while getting my hair cut. The friend doing the cutting served me a cup of java that she said she had made the day before from the cheapest coffee available at the grocery store. I am very picky about coffee, but I didn't want to be rude, so I tasted it. Omg! The coffee tasted like a fresh expensive blend brewed at a good quality coffee shop! Aromatic, rich and full flavored, no bitterness, no stale taste. What the heck? She said her new French press was responsible. Wow!! I ordered one immediately when I got home, tired of the burnt taste and general substandard flavor from my electric drip coffeemaker. I find it very challenging, if not impossible, to get a really tasty cup from that thing. It resides under the kitchen sink now, for emergencies only.

So, yes, I use a French press now and I'm totally smitten with it. Right this minute, I'm having a cup of yesterday's coffee, and it's excellent! I'm purring as I sip. I do still shop for organic and Fair Trade coffee, but the cheapest variety of it I can find.

So where's the bug in this love story? Yes, there is a bug

A couple weeks ago, while savoring a cup from my darling device and perusing the newspaper, I stumbled upon an article that said coffee can be a health drink...if it's filtered. What? What kind of sacrilege is that? My darling doesn't filter! But I had to read the article, having written a post in July about the health benefits of coffee.

The article agreed with what I'd read and written before, when it said that coffee drinkers are less likely to have heart failure or develop type 2 diabetes (according to research "during the past decade"). The next sentence was new to me (and still good). Research also suggests that regular coffee consumption delays the onset of Alzheimer's and may help protect against prostate and uterine cancers. Nice! The long-term study of coffee benefits that I blogged about last month didn't report that.

Oh, no...

Now here's the part of the recent newspaper article I didn't like: "The problem with French press and other unfiltered coffee techniques lies with blood lipids. Compounds from coffee can raise total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol. The culprits are in coffee oils that get trapped by filters, so people drinking filtered coffee should get the benefits without the higher cholesterol."

Wah! Have my total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides been going up even though I eat no meat, no eggs, and almost no dairy? YES, they have!!! Do I drink a lot of unfiltered coffee from my darling French press? YES, I do!

Husband solved problem for himself

I showed my husband the article, he freaked out too, and now he pours his French press coffee through a coffee filter before he drinks it. He puts the filter in a kitchen strainer, rests the strainer on the rim of a sauce pan, and pours the coffee through the filter into the sauce pan. Yes, it tastes all right like that. But I can taste the absence of the oils that got filtered out. And it's not as good!!!! That makes me very sad. For now, I am still drinking my French press coffee with its cholesterol-raising lipids. But I'll probably cave before long.

Anyway, I thought it was something everyone should know, assuming it's all true. Sad. But good to know. Maybe some of you can continue on and have your blood cholesterol unaffected. I hope so! Still, cheers to the French press!! Even if my guzzling of its product may have to be tempered sooner or later.

Keywords: French press coffee cholesterol coffee lipids coffee oils coffee health benefits


Betsy said...

Phew. Will keep my Mr. Coffee around awhile longer :)

Betsy said...

Am keeping my Mr. Coffee.

aProjekty said...

Nie mogę przestać o tym myśleć

mikea said...

You need not panic, and your husband does not need to pour his coffee through a coffee filter. I've been using a French press since before they were the 'in' thing and after they became the 'out' thing thanks to Kerig. Furthermore, I've been french pressing coffee with a coffee filter before the studies came out. Simply place an unbleached coffee filter around the screen or at the top of the french press and press the coffee with the filter in place (my french press is stainless steel so I don't have to worry about stressing the glass). The filter will press to the bottom and all the coffee above it (the coffee you pour and drink) will be filtered and uber healthy. Yes, the press time takes another 10 seconds because you must push slower but it is worth it. As for those of you commenting that you will keep your Mr. Coffee, the little bit of CETP you get from your unfiltered coffee is nothing compared to the damage you are doing to your body by brewing through plastic. In addition to BPA, you are dealing with other leached carcinogens as well as mold and nasty little bugs that are festering deep inside the workings of your coffee maker. One last thing, just because CETP mimics triglycerides does not mean that it is triglycerides or that it is necessarily bad for you. I remember the day when olive oil was supposedly bad for you because of overly simplistic scientific studies even now the tide is turning on tropical oils and medium-chain-triglycerides are being touted as healthy. For all we know CETP may mimic triglycerides making your body think it has too many and not producing more - which would be a healthy effect. The bottom line, stick with your French Press - the simpler the method the healthier it will often be.