French Press Coffee Bad For You Health Featured

Is French Press Coffee Bad For You? Uncovering the Truth Behind Diterpenes

If you’re a coffee drinker who likes French press brews, you might have heard about the health concerns surrounding the popular brewing method.

But is it really true, or just another myth floating around the internet?

In this article, I will delve deep into the topic to provide you with all the facts so we can finally answer the big question: Is French press coffee really bad for you?

Key Takeaways

  1. French press coffee contains diterpenes, organic compounds found in coffee beans, which can have both health benefits and risks.
  2. Diterpenes in French press coffee may raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease when consumed regularly in high amounts.
  3. Coffee, including French press brews, has various health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and promoting weight loss.
  4. Consuming moderate amounts of French press coffee is unlikely to have a negative impact on overall health.
  5. The maximum recommended daily coffee intake is 4 cups of unfiltered or 5 cups of filtered coffee, with caffeine intake not exceeding 400mg.

What is French Press Coffee and How It’s Made

One of the most popular brewing methods, French press coffee involves steeping coffee grounds in hot water for a few minutes before pressing a plunger to filter out the grounds. The result is a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee that many people love.

Here is a detailed recipe I wrote on how to make coffee with a French press.

As for its history, the French press was first invented in the mid-19th century by two Frenchmen named Jacques-Victor Delforge and Henri-Otto Mayer. Today, different variations of the French press have emerged with varying sizes and materials. Each type has its own unique qualities that can cater to different needs.

What I enjoy about brewing coffee with this method is that it’s really easy to use a French press. In minutes, I can already enjoy a cup rich with robust flavors and notes of chocolate, nuts, or caramel depending on the beans I use.

french press coffee

So, Is French Press Coffee Bad for You?

There’s no easy yes or no answer to this question, but to put it simply, there’s less health risk if you drink filtered coffee than unfiltered coffee like the French press.

But this doesn’t mean that the French press poses a serious threat to your health right away.

Let me explain.

Unlike filtered coffee, French press coffee doesn’t use any paper filters for brewing. This leads to more oily residue from the coffee beans going into your cup, which contain the following main diterpenes:

Diterpenes are organic compounds found in many plants, including coffee beans. And due to its immersion process, your cup of French press coffee contains more diterpenes than paper-filtered coffee.

While they can have health benefits like anti-inflammatory properties, studies show that diterpenes can also raise bad VLDL and LDL cholesterol levels and increase heart disease risk when consumed regularly in high amounts. It’s also important to note though that diterpenes are also present in many other foods and beverages we consume.

Overall, consuming cups of unfiltered French press coffee may contain higher levels of diterpenes than filtered coffee does; but its consumption alone may not necessarily have a significant impact on your overall health unless consumed excessively. In fact, studies like this have shown that their benefits outweigh their health risks, including extensive anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Diterpenes Coffee Effects

Finding the Balance in French Press Coffee Consumption

So how much French press coffee can you safely drink? You can consume the same recommended amount of coffee brewed with other methods. If you’re watching your cholesterol though, you might want to explore brewing filtered coffee instead.

What is the maximum amount of coffee you can have in a day?

According to a large number of studies, 4 cups of unfiltered or 5 cups of filtered coffee is the maximum you should drink per day, making sure that your caffeine intake is not more than 400mg per day.

This is in line with the recommendation of the FDA: the safe amount of caffeine intake is 400 milligrams a day. This is about four to five cups of coffee. Drinking any more than that is not recommended and may have a negative effect on your health.

If you do drink more than the daily recommended amount of French press coffee on a regular basis, watch your LDL cholesterol levels to make sure your they remain at a normal level.

Here are a few tips to help you find the proper balance in consuming your cup of joe:

  • Pay attention to your body’s reactions when consuming caffeine and adjust accordingly.
  • Choose high-quality beans that have been ethically sourced with less chemicals and pesticides.
  • If you’re struggling to reduce your caffeine intake but still want to drink coffee; opt for decaf French press coffee. Here are some of the best decaf coffee beans you can get in 2024.
  • If you want to drink coffee with less diterpenes, opt for other brewing methods like drip-filtered or espresso.
  • Do not overload your coffee with sugar. Avoid adding sugar to your coffee because if you regularly turn your coffee into a sugary treat, you might be eliminating its overall health benefits.
french press coffee

Benefits and Risks of Drinking Coffee

Not limited to French press brews, coffee has a number of benefits that have been found to outweigh the risks. Aside from the caffeine kick that keeps you perked up throughout the day, coffee can also lower the risk of the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Certain cancers
  • Depression
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Type 2 diabetes

Coffee is also rich in antioxidants and minerals, plus it is known to promote weight loss. These are just a few of the known factors that have a positive impact on your body. Check out my in-depth article on the many health benefits of coffee to learn more.

On the flip side, excessive consumption of coffee, just like with any beverage or food, can have temporary negative effects:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Fast heart rate
  • Dehydration

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I receive many questions about French press coffee and its risks. Here are some of the answers to frequently asked questions:

What are some alternative brewing methods to French press coffee?

Some popular alternatives include drip-filtered, espresso, pour-over, and Aeropress coffees. Each method may require different equipment and ratios for your coffee, so be sure to do your research before making the switch.

Can adding sugar or creamer make French press coffee less healthy?

Adding excessive amounts of sugar and creamer to your cup of coffee can increase its calorie content and negate some of the health benefits associated with moderate consumption.

Does decaf French press coffee still contain diterpenes?

Yes, decaffeinated French press coffee still contains small but insignificant amounts of diterpenes.

The bottom line

Remember, drinking French press coffee isn’t necessarily bad for you if consumed moderately. It all comes down to finding the right balance between enjoying its rich taste while also being mindful of potential health risks. By following the tips above, you can still indulge in this beloved beverage and reap its many benefits safely and responsibly.

French press coffee isn’t really bad for you. While it does contain more diterpenes than filtered coffee, consuming moderate amounts of this popular brew shouldn’t pose any serious health threats.

As with anything in life, finding balance and listening to your body is key. So go ahead and indulge in a rich cup of French press coffee without any worries.


  • Ren, Y., Wang, C., Xu, J., & Wang, S. (2019). Cafestol and Kahweol: A Review on Their Bioactivities and Pharmacological Properties. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(17).
  • Sousa Teixeira, M. V., & Jacometti Cardoso Furtado, N. A. (2018). An Overview of Biotransformation and Toxicity of Diterpenes. Molecules : A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry, 23(6).
  • Gokcen B.B., Sanlier N. Coffee consumption and disease correlations. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 2019;59:336–348. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1369391. – PubMed
  • Barrea L, Pugliese G, Frias-Toral E, El Ghoch M, Castellucci B, Chapela SP, Carignano MLA, Laudisio D, Savastano S, Colao A, Muscogiuri G. Coffee consumption, health benefits and side effects: a narrative review and update for dietitians and nutritionists. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2023;63(9):1238-1261. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2021.1963207. Epub 2021 Aug 28. PMID: 34455881.
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