The French press has become a very trendy way to make coffee at home but it might be bad for you. Research says that some unhealthy particles can end up in your drink, which can be harmful. But is there any truth in it? Let's take a closer look at the evidence to find out.
What Is a French Press?
A French press is a manual coffee-making device that resembles the drip coffee maker. You brew coffee in it by suspending coarsely ground beans in hot water, letting them steep for a few minutes, and pressing it all down into the brewing vessel. This is how you end up with a delicious brew.
Despite the name, its origin is unsure. The first mention of the French press was in the 1850s when a Frenchman made a cup of coffee using that method. Nevertheless, the device was first patented in 1928 by an Italian.
The French press is an easy way to make delicious coffee at home, no matter the origin. You only need some coffee grounds and hot water. However, even though today the French press is very widely spread, there has been some information online that it might not be that healthy.
Can French Press Coffee Affect You Negatively?
Most coffee brewing methods are healthy and can even positively affect your body. However, you need to be careful with unfiltered brewing methods, just like the French press, as they can be unhealthy. According to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, drinking unfiltered coffee can increase both total and LDL cholesterol levels. The study included multiple trials over 7 years with trial groups of between 12 and 120 participants, averaging 47.
While this kind of coffee offers a personal and straightforward way to enjoy your drink, drinking unfiltered French press can be unhealthy for your heart. What you can do is start filtering it.
How Do You Filter French Press Coffee?
Filtered French press coffee can be just as healthy as any other filtered brew, and it's effortless to do at home. You can do that best with a disposable paper filter. While these will usually be too big for your press, you can easily cut them and wrap them around the default steel mesh. Doing so will make your brew healthier, and you can keep enjoying it.
What Are the Pros and Cons of French Press Coffee?
Now that we've looked at how you can make drinking French press coffee healthier let's look into what makes this method such a popular choice. There are also a few reasons why it might not be for you.
The French Press is Cheap
As you probably know, a coffee maker can be costly. A good espresso machine can set you back a thousand dollars. That's not the case with the French press, though.
Most models will only cost you around $30. However, there's a variety of sizes among them, and which one is best for you depends on how many people you're usually making coffee for.
If you usually find yourself making coffee for your family or often have people coming over, you can get a French press that's big enough for 8 cups. Of course, that's a lot of coffee, but you can be sure that it will be delicious.
Other factors that affect the pricing are the materials used to make your French press. Just like with anything, the more expensive the materials, the better the product is. What's different about it, though, is that even a cheaper model will work just fine in most cases. The difference here is the feel when making your coffee and the durability.
It's Very Easy to Make Coffee in a French Press
As the French press is a straightforward device, you will find making yourself a round of brew very easy. All you need to do is grind the beans, boil some water and mix everything.
A brew usually takes around six minutes. But, of course, it depends on the amount of coffee you're making, so if you're only making one cup, the brewing time will be significantly shorter.
Another great thing about this type of drink is that there are a lot of recipes online that can help you make the best cup of Joe for your taste.
A French Press Is Easy to Clean
As a result of the simple design of the French press, it's also elementary to clean it. Depending on the model you own, it should only take a few minutes to clean it thoroughly.
However, most of your attention should go to the beaker and the plunger. If you own a press that has no cover on the outer shell, you will need to clean that every once in a while too. It's also a good idea to clean the outside of the beaker and base.
You Can Use Coarsely Ground Coffee
As a French press requires you to brew your coffee manually, you won't need to use as finely ground beans. This means that the grinding time is very short, and you're less likely to end up with a bad cup.
If you're grinding your beans at home with a manual grinder, it will usually take up to two-three minutes to have them fine enough for an espresso machine. However, it will only take half the time for a French press, and you will be able to have your coffee pressed out evenly.
A French Press Is Easy to Master
You have probably concluded yourself, but yes, the French press doesn't have a steep learning curve. You can learn how to brew a delicious cup of coffee in a single day if you make a couple of rounds. Of course, you might need to adjust your technique, but you will easily get there.
The crucial moment here is to get the correct coffee to water ratio. Once you have that right, the rest is easy.
When making coffee in your French press, you will end up with some sludge on the bottom of your cup. This is probably the biggest problem that people have with the technique. As you're steeping ground coffee with water, there will be small particles on the bottom unless you're using a quality filter.
When drinking your French pressed coffee, in the end, you will feel the thicker substance with a bitter taste. So while it isn't necessarily bad, most people don't enjoy it.
Even though making French press coffee is easy to grasp, there are a few things you can get wrong that can be hard to get at first. These can be the coffee to water ratio, the water temperature, and over or under extracting your coffee.
You're Likely to Over Extract Your Coffee
Because of how you brew your coffee, you can end up with an over-extracted drink. If you leave your French press loaded with coffee and water for too long, that can happen. Therefore, you should always time your brews as accurately as you can.
Are there any healthy French press alternatives you can brew?
Yes, there are several good alternatives to French press coffee. One is the pour-over coffee maker. With a pour-over coffee maker, you put coffee grounds in a cone-shaped filter on top of a coffee pot. You then pour hot water over the coffee grounds, and it filters down through the coffee grounds and into the coffee pot. This makes a smooth cup of coffee with little or no coffee sludge.
Another good alternative to French press coffee is the drip coffee maker. It’s straightforward and requires little input from you. You only need to load the machine and select a program. Then, a few minutes later, you will have your cup of delicious coffee.
Finally, another good alternative to French press coffee is the espresso maker. It is arguably the best way to make strong coffee. Depending on your espresso maker, there are a few types, but most of them make coffee with just the press of a button.
Is Coffee Good for Your Heart?
Coffee can affect you positively in some cases and help protect you from diseases. It lowers your bad cholesterol and raises your good cholesterol. It also helps keep your blood pressure in check. Whether coffee is good for your heart depends on your caffeine tolerance and body, so be careful.
How to Drink Coffee Responsibly?
There are a few things that you can do to potentially lower the negative impact coffee can have on your heart. Here are the four best methods we found:
- Check your cholesterol regularly. Doing that is your best approach. Schedule regular doctor's appointments to ensure your LDL cholesterol doesn't go beyond the recommended Harvard Health Publishing levels.
- Listen to Your Body. You must listen to your body's signals. If you start feeling sick, weak, or some parts of your body start feeling numb, stop drinking coffee and make an appointment with a doctor.
- Drink in Moderation. Even if you feel just fine drinking coffee, you should do so in moderation, as too much of it can negatively affect your heart.
- Filter Your Brew. As we previously mentioned, a great starting point for making your coffee healthier is to filter it.
The coffee you drink is a very personal choice. Some people prefer the taste of filtered coffee, while others want coffee with some coffee sludge. It's essential to determine how your body reacts to caffeine and adjust accordingly. Even if you're not feeling any adverse effects from your French press coffee, you might still want to filter it.If you still think that the French press is too dangerous for you, you will want to consider buying a Moka pot. It is just as manual as the French press, but the coffee is even more delicious and stronger. Check out our high-quality stainless steel Moka pots.