Is French Press Coffee Bad For You?

French press coffee is a popular brewing method that involves using a French coffee press to brew unfiltered coffee (via The Healthy). The process involves manually plunging the coffee press to separate the grounds from the actual brew. While drinking coffee comes with many important health benefits, there are some rumors abound that drinking French press coffee may actually cause harm to your health. This is because unfiltered coffee contains diterpenes — chemical compounds found in oil droplets in coffee. 

"[Diterpenes are] believed to potentially raise the 'bad' LDL cholesterol among people who drink five to eight cups of unfiltered coffee a day," registered dietician and nutritionist Vicki Shanta Retelny told The Healthy. While diterpenes almost never pass through a filter, many of them can actually end up in your coffee cup without one (via Livestrong). In fact, just 1 cup of unfiltered coffee contains 30 times more diterpenes than a single cup of filtered coffee, according to the Harvard Medical School.

French press coffee may increase risk of heart disease

A 2020 study published in the ​European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggests that drinking unfiltered coffee may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death. Researchers surveyed and analyzed the brewing methods of more than 500,000 Norwegians between the ages of 20-79 over the course of 20 years. During this time, over 12,000 participants died of heart disease and almost 3,000 died of a stroke.

Based on the data they collected, researchers concluded that participants who drank filtered coffee were 15% less like to die prematurely, and those who drank between 1-4 cups of filtered coffee per day maintained the lowest mortality rates (via Eat This, Not That!). Unfiltered coffee, however, was associated with higher mortality rates. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that unfiltered is directly linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death. It just suggests that you may want to consider drinking beverages, such as French press coffee, in moderation.