French press coffee = more cholesterol = imminent death?!
February 13, 2008 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Is it true that coffee made in a french press has more cholesterol than that made in a drip (filtered) machine?

Someone told me that the filters filter out the cafestrol, which is the ingredient that contributes to cholesterol increase. I'm hoping it's not true, because french press coffee > coffee made in a drip machine.
posted by delladlux to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How weird, this seemed like a joke, I mean cafestrol? After reading a bit up on it The short answer seems to be that drip coffee has little effect on cholesterol, while French press (and Turkish coffee) raise cholesterol by something like 10%. So your friend was wrong.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:57 AM on February 13, 2008

Coffee, being a vegetable, has no cholesterol. On the other hand, paper filters do capture some of the (delicious) oil, so French Press coffee has marginally more fat than drip coffee.
posted by explosion at 9:58 AM on February 13, 2008

Well it seems like the friend is validated: the friend (seems) to claim that french press = an increase in cholesterol, and through the increase in cafestrol, that seems to be the case.
posted by xmutex at 10:01 AM on February 13, 2008

Sorry, xmutex is right, I didn't read the sentence correctly, your friend is right, not wrong. The information I provided is still correct though.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:05 AM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

From Wikipedia (please double check the sources):

Cafestol is a diterpene molecule present in coffee.

A typical bean of Coffea arabica contains about 0.6% cafestol by weight. Cafestol is present in highest quantity in unfiltered coffee drinks such as French press coffee or Turkish coffee. In filtered coffee drinks such as drip brewed coffee, it is present in only negligible amounts.

Studies have shown that regular consumption of boiled coffee increases serum cholesterol by 8% in men and 10% in women. For those drinking filter coffee, the effect was only significant for women.

Cafestol has also shown anticarcinogenic properties in rats.

According to a 2005 study by the Baylor College of Medicine, cafestol may act as an agonist ligand for the genes FXR and PXR, blocking cholesterol homeostasis.

posted by wfrgms at 11:14 AM on February 13, 2008

Can I just offer a hearty Fuck! at this point?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:23 AM on February 13, 2008 [8 favorites]

Well, it's been a while since I was in biology, so I'm not 100% sure what "blocking cholesterol homeostasis" means... but "anticarcinogenic properties" is good right?

I mean seriously, does anyone know how much cholesterol we're talking about here? I've used my French press nearly every day for five or six years now. And I really hate drip coffee.
posted by wfrgms at 11:28 AM on February 13, 2008

nthing Admiral Haddock here. i've been on the press for 4+ years. doh!
posted by garfy3 at 12:25 PM on February 13, 2008

If the cholesterol connection were at all serious, we'd see studies connecting coffee with cardiac and circulatory problems, but I haven't seen anything persuasive on that account. Drink your coffee. Enjoy your life.
posted by zadcat at 12:28 PM on February 13, 2008

Thank you, zadcat. I will.
posted by drinkcoffee at 12:41 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

The conclusion in the study that blahblahblah linked:
Consumption of cafestol and kahweol cause a long-term increase in CETP as well as PLTP activity; the increase in CETP activity may contribute to the rise in LDL cholesterol.
(emphasis mine)

They're basically saying that it might raise LDL cholesterol. Maybe.

Honestly it hardly seems conclusive that unfiltered coffee == heart disease. If you have a large family history of heart disease, and have major problems with cholesterol, then you might have an issue with unfiltered coffee. Again, maybe. If you're in general good health, don't worry.

Agreeing with zadcat that if it was a problem significant enough to affect healthy individuals, you'd hear about it much more, and docs would being telling you to keep away from the stuff.
posted by Stilus at 12:59 PM on February 13, 2008

This almost makes me cry. But a friend sent me this article from the NYT which seems to posit that perhaps LDL cholesterol isn't as "bad" as we thought.
posted by sneakin at 1:10 PM on February 13, 2008

correlation is not causation. Eat well, enjoy coffee.
posted by gjc at 9:10 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

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