Unfiltered vs. Filtered Coffee: A Health Comparison for Every Coffee Lover

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Anyone who loves coffee has no doubt heard that there’s a debate going on about whether drinking unfiltered coffee is as healthy and beneficial as drinking filtered coffee. No matter what brewing method you use, there are benefits and drawbacks to each one of them – how flavourful is one brewing method compared to another? Does one type of brewing method offer greater depth and richness? And what about your health? Is one style of brewing better for you – safer for your tummy, your heart, your blood pressure and your intestinal track? The answer to all these questions about coffee and well-being is yes! There are indeed differences between brewing methods in terms of your health.

In this post, we do a deep dive into the health benefits of brewing filtered coffee, and explain the reasons why you might want to consider brewing coffee in this way.

Understanding The Basics of Unfiltered and Filtered Coffee

Unfiltered coffee: Brewing unfiltered coffee means not using a filter – a mesh or paper filter that the water passes through before draining into the pot. Techniques include French press, espresso, moka pot, and Turkish coffee. All of these methods produce delicious coffee that’s robust and deep. But no filter means no barrier to trap oils and fine particles – these remain in the coffee once it’s brewed. And these tiny compounds affect the depth and flavor of the coffee, making it richer and stronger.

Filtered Coffee: This method uses filters, typically paper or stainless steel mesh, to trap coffee oils and fine particles. Popular methods include drip coffee makers, pour-over systems, and single-serve machines. The result is a clean, smooth cup with minimal sediment and a clear flavor profile. The filters effectively remove certain compounds that can impact both flavor and health.

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The Health Implications Between Unfiltered and Filtered Coffee

When you’re trying to sort through the filtered coffee versus unfiltered coffee debate, it’s important that you examine taste preferences and health factors as completely separate issues – and examine them objectively. Let’s look at some of the health implications for both filtered coffee and unfiltered brews.

Cholesterol Levels

Science has shown that filtered coffee may have a positive impact on LDL cholesterol levels. That’s the “bad” cholesterol level that you want to be as low as possible! Filters made of mesh or paper keep out compounds that raise LDL levels.

However, unfiltered coffee, such as that made in a French press, is present in higher concentrations. These compounds can potentially increase LDL cholesterol. If you or someone in your family has high cholesterol already and you drink unfiltered coffee, you may want to consider switching to filtered coffee.

Heart Health

One study, in particular, revealed that filtered coffee could also contribute to lowering instances of heart disease. This research, and other scientific investigations, indicate that people with heart problems should definitely think about switching to filtered coffee. It’s a small change that can have a big impact! Nonetheless, scientists agree that more research needs to be done into the cause-and-effect relationship between coffee brewing methods and heart health.

Antioxidants and Polyphenols

Both types of brewing – filtered coffee and unfiltered – have positive levels of antioxidants, those wonderful compounds that fight disease and inflammation. The level varies somewhat depending on the brewing method you use – an electric coffee machine, a pour-over type, or a percolator, just to name just three. But coffee has antioxidants no matter how you brew it, and that’s a health benefit that’s been established for a while now.

Other Health Considerations

Filtered coffee: Because filters trap oils and fine particles, making coffee this way causes less intestinal distress for most people.

Unfiltered coffee: Although brewing in this way means a full-bodied, rich cup of coffee, the oils and tiny particles that aren’t trapped by a filter can cause you stomach problems. This may happen more frequently as you age, as tummies tend to grow more sensitive with the years!

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Making Your Choice Between Filtered and Unfiltered Coffee

Whether you choose to brew filtered coffee or unfiltered, there are indeed some health benefits you’ll get from both brewing methods. Coffee itself is loaded with antioxidants and other healthy compounds. These can help reduce inflammation in your joints and can help prevent certain types of disease, like cancer, from starting in the body. (One caveat here is that more research needs to happen on this link between coffee and disease prevention). However, the amount of these compounds is measurably higher in filtered coffee, which is another reason it might be the best choice for health-conscious coffee lovers.

Because filters remove fine particles and oils from your coffee, this brewing method is easier on the stomach. If you find that your tummy gets a bit upset after your morning coffee, you might want to make the switch to filtered coffee; in all likelihood, it will ease any gastrointestinal symptoms you’re having after drinking unfiltered coffee.

On the other hand, some folks insist that unfiltered coffee has a more robust flavor and a deeper and richer taste. Yet the very particles and oils that lend unfiltered coffee that depth can also irritate the stomach lining. If you find that your favorite coffee has started causing you stomach problems, consider switching to filtered coffee even temporarily. You might find that because your tummy doesn’t get upset and irritated, you love that cup of morning Joe even more than you usually do!

Holar - Blog - Unfiltered vs. Filtered Coffee A Health Comparison for Every Coffee Lover - Making Your Choice Between Filtered and Unfiltered Coffee


Practical Tips for Health-Conscious Coffee Drinkers

Whether you choose to drink filtered coffee or unfiltered coffee is a decision only you can make. Many people find it tough to switch, particularly if they relish that first cup of espresso in the morning to launch their work day. However, there are ways you can have the best of both worlds: the healthier option of filtered coffee, yet not giving up unfiltered coffee entirely.

Choose the right filter. Experiment a little. Try paper filters, and if you just don’t love the coffee they produce, switch to a mesh filter instead. Play a little with how many grounds you put in the filter – an extra teaspoon just might strengthen the coffee to a level you enjoy. Keep in mind that a metal filter won’t trap as many oils and fine particles as a paper one will, but still, it’s an improvement over unfiltered coffee.

Buy a high-quality manual coffee grinder. A manual grinder ensures that the coffee you use is at its peak freshness every time. A manual coffee grinder lets you determine the grind size, which is always preferable when you use different brewing methods.

Track your daily coffee intake. Like so many things we consume, the key to getting the greatest health benefits from coffee is moderation. Drinking too much coffee – no matter how you brew it – can lead to a rapid heart rate and an increase in nervousness and insomnia.

Stay current with the science and research. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes! Keeping up to date with research into coffee consumption and its health benefits allows you to make smart choices that are best for your individual health concerns.

Examine your diet and lifestyle habits. Coffee is only one element of the food and drinks you consume, so look at all of your nutritional habits and choices in a holistic way. Do you smoke? How much exercise do you get? How much-processed food do you consume? Choosing to drink filtered coffee is only one aspect of a healthy lifestyle!

Holar - Blog - Unfiltered vs. Filtered Coffee A Health Comparison for Every Coffee Lover - Practical Tips for Health-Conscious Coffee Drinkers


In Summary

Deciding to drink filtered coffee is one way to instantly improve your health and well-being. But it’s not the only factor you should be considering. Your health is impacted by everything from stress levels to how many fruits and vegetables you consume each week and how much exercise you get on a regular basis. Nonetheless, switching to filtered coffee from unfiltered coffee has an immediate impact on your health. Doing this is an important step toward lowering your cholesterol levels and taking a big stride toward good health. You can live a healthy life and still enjoy a fabulous cup of coffee by choosing to use a filtered coffee brewing method!

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