Specialty coffee for me is like the nectar of the gods. Delightful and diverse in its forms it can be enjoyed in a variety of beverages, be it espresso based or filter. Whilst I and millions of people share this sentiment, worrying about cholesterol is probably the last thing on peoples minds. Furthermore, if I were to say certain brew methods could be better for you than others, would you change the way you drink it? Today we look into the health properties which can make coffee better or even bad for you depending on how you drink it, namely regarding Cafestol and filter coffee.
What the… Cafestol?
Cafestol is a diterpenoid molecule present in coffee beans. It is one of the compounds that may be responsible for the biological and pharmacological effects of coffee. Although some studies have shown it to help combat diabetes the vast majority cast a grey cloud on coffee with its impact of increased blood cholesterol levels if consumed excessively.
There is some debate as to whether high or low cholesterol is worse for you and which is the lesser of two evils. The most pronounced being higher cholesterols association with a higher risk of heart problems. To be more specific, Cafestol has been linked to increase Low Density Lipo-Protein Levels (LDL) known as the ‘bad’ type cholesterol to make matters worse.
Unfiltered vs. Filter Coffee
Cafestol levels within coffee differ from drink to drink based on the brew method. Cafestol is found mainly within the less soluble oil and fatty parts of coffee that aren’t always stripped out.
Espressos and the more rugged unfiltered brew methods like french press allow for more coffee compounds to enter the end drink, which includes Cafestol. Conversely, paper filtered coffees are much more restrictive in what enters the end coffee. Cafestol is actually blocked in filtered coffees as the oils and grounds are trapped within the paper filter. On top of this, filtered coffees still retain all the health benefits associated with Caffeine. This suits me as a massive advocate of filter coffee that is a more unadulterated way of drinking whether it be for a change or for something a little more regular.
Cafestol may be a darker side of coffee, but in the grand scheme of things it’s only an issue if you allow it to be. Excessive consumption of unfiltered methods or even any drink for that matter is normally bad for you. Of course for those more in tune with lowering cholesterol levels, filter coffees make for a great and alternative way towards a healthier coffee experience. That all being said I would go as far as to say the real nemesis lies in the use of added sugar or sweetener in your coffee.