Does the French press raise cholesterol?

French press coffee is made by mixing boiling water with ground coffee beans followed by which the coffee beans are steeped for a while. After 4-5 minutes, this mixture is pressed using a plunger to remove out the coffee grounds. The liquid obtained is strained out and consumed. French press coffee is a favorite among coffee connoisseurs owing to its strong and robust flavor as well as better texture.


Inspite of its economical and health benefits though, the French press has gotten itself into bad news. The bad news is that it raises cholesterol. It is no wonder that this news might make many coffee lovers sad and wonder if it’s actually true. For this, we first need to find out what exactly cholesterol is…

What exactly is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy material that is produced by the liver. Cholesterol is required for the production of sex hormones, (Estrogen, Testosterone) production of cell membranes, maintenance of the cellular structure, and membranal fluidity. It is also required for bile production in the liver.

Coffee and Cholesterol: Do they go together?

Several studies have been connected linking coffee to cholesterol. According to Dr. Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, consumption of 5-8 cups of coffee can raise your bad cholesterol levels. This may be due to the fact that there are natural oils released through the boiling of coffee beans.


Consumption of Cafestol and Kahweol was found to increase levels of cholesteryl ester transfer protein and cholesterol acyltransferase which may lead to an increase in LDL levels.

A Japanese cohort study was conducted in order to find a link between coffee and cholesterol. Average cholesterol levels of non-drinkers in the study were found to be 210mg/dL while that of coffee drinkers was found to be 220mg/dL i.e a slight increase was observed.

The association between coffee and cholesterol was also examined in a study conducted in Jerusalem where it was seen that men who drank 5 cups of coffee or more had about a 0.5mmol increase in cholesterol levels compared to non-drinkers.

It was also found by certain researches that filtration of coffee through paper reduced the cholesterol-raising property of coffee. Boiled/non-filtered coffee was found to have a higher cholesterol-raising effect compared to filtered coffee.

Factors influencing Cafestol levels:

A 2012 study published in Elsevier found that boiled/French pressed coffee had higher Cafestol concentrations. Mocha was found to have the lowest. They found three factors influencing Cafestol values.

Cafestol concentrations depend on:

  • Roasting time: Increased roasting time reduced the Cafestol levels. A 42% reduction in Cafestol was seen with an increase in brewing
  • Preparation method: Cafestol content is highly influenced by brewing and preparation methods.
  • Colour: It was seen that darker roast coffee brews had lower Cafestol content compared to a lighter roast

So should I stop consuming coffee?

Definitely not! The above studies do not recommend that we have to stop drinking coffee immediately. The benefits of coffee far outweigh its disadvantages. French pressed coffee has been found to be beneficial against metabolic diseases, cancer, liver diseases, and depression. Caffeine also acts as a stimulant, keeps you awake and energized. There are also loads of polyphenols, phytochemicals found in coffee that acts as an antioxidant.

So the take-home message is Moderation is the key. According to the Harvard health blog, it is important to not consume more than 4-5 cups of coffee in a day. Unless you are consuming coffee in large amounts, there is nothing to worry about. So don’t hesitate to enjoy your warm cup of coffee, first thing in the morning!

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