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ruk
Senior Member
ruk
Joined: 30 Dec 2005
Posts: 123
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Infinity, Zassenhaus
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Moka Brew, Melitta Cone,...
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Posted Mon Jan 16, 2006, 2:23pm
Subject: Re: French Press and Cholesterol
 

Thank you for your informative responses here. I'd rather error on the side of being too cautious about cholesterol levels than the other way around.

AlanAdler Said:

Matt 18 is correct, my figures were accidentally typed in g (grams) and should have been mg (milligrams).   But, of course, the harmful increase in LDL cholesterol still ocurred from drinking brew with the mg levels.

Matt 18's source reported Scandinavian brew as worse than French press brew, while the source I quoted reported the opposite.   It varies from report to report, but the clinical trials which show increased LDL cholesterol in people drinking French press brew are all concordant.

People's resistance to acknowledging the dangers of French press brew remind me of decades ago when the facts on smoking first came out.   Smokers refused to believe it, or else they said, "We all die sooner or later anyway".   Some of you may choose sooner, I prefer later.

Sincerely,

Alan Adler

Posted January 16, 2006 link

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counting
Senior Member


Joined: 8 May 2005
Posts: 823
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posted Tue Jan 17, 2006, 5:45pm
Subject: Re: French Press and Cholesterol
 

Alan,

I have no reason to distrust the institution that hosts Urgurt's lab. I had no reason to distrust Seoul National University before Hwang Woo-Suk's massive fraud was exposed, and I have no reason to distrust it now - they were victimized. I have no reason to distrust the dozens of trusted and respected U.S. universities that knowingly employ scientists who do research funded by pharmaceutical companies, and whose research is published if the results are favorable to the funder, or is published if it can be edited to make it favorable to the funder, or buried if it cannot be made favorable to the funder.

That wasn't my point.

My point was, and is, knowing who pays for the research helps us put our sceptical hats on straight. I should have said that I applaud you for spotlighting your financial interest in this discussion. The fact that you can benefit from the perception that paper filtration is a good thing doesn't mean you're wrong, but I'm continually exasperated by the fact that in the realm of human health and nutrition, as in no other field, the no-standards mass media is littered with reports flawed by phrases such as "might be", "tends to", "seems", "could be expected", etc. People who lack any ability to think critically read this piffle and accept each report as gospel, even though an objective literature review turns up reports that are completely contradictory. We are awash in really bad information about how various elements of our diets affect our health, and knowing who pays for the research can only help us decide how important it is. Urgurt's research might be completely accurate, but the simple fact is that much of his work hasn't been replicated, and he benefits in direct proportion as to how apocalyptic and shrill his reports are - it begets more funding.

With regard to LDL, I'm not sure if it can be said that there is an actual consensus about this - there always is a lag between current research and community apprehension of it - but agreement is widespread and growing that the problem isn't LDL as such, but rather oxidized LDL is the real problem. Many reports about the beneficial health effects of coffee link them to anti-oxidative properties, which is why we can't assume that an increase in LDL automatically implies increased mortality or even increased coronary disease. (Yes, yes, I agree - I can't cite reports that French Press is better than paper-filtered coffee.)

Urrgurt's work might be important. The determination awaits controlled double-blind studies.

It must be said that I don't question the assertion that foodstuff components can elevate LDL or total cholesterol. Excellent research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including a controlled double-blind study of a cohort of human patients, shows that, for example, moderate amounts of dietary cinnamon reduce blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and I accept that other constituents can increase these levels. The important question is, so what? How is this expressed in mortality data?

This entire discussion reminds me of Northern European (Scandinavian) studies from the 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s of the effects of first and second generation statins. They decreased blood cholesterol levels, but they killed more people, mortality data worsened. My impression is that some current statin therapies not only decrease cholesterol levels, but actually improve mortality results. My point in this case is, the equation is neither simple nor straighforward.
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AlanAdler
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AlanAdler
Joined: 31 Dec 2005
Posts: 711
Location: Palo Alto, Calif
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: AeroPress
Grinder: Baratza - Virtuoso
Roaster: Fresh Roast SR-500
Posted Tue Jan 17, 2006, 7:49pm
Subject: Re: French Press and Cholesterol
 

Many of the findings of Ugert and his associates at the Department of Human Nutrition, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, have been well replicated by other researchers at other institutions.   This work has been ongoing for about two decades and I am not aware of any challenges to its validity.

But if any person prefers the flavor of sediment in his coffee, but wants to be mindful of his health, he has the option of having his cholesterol level tested periodically.

For me, the bottom line is:  There is no health risk in avoiding unfiltered coffee but there is a risk in drinking it.  I like coffee, so I'll stick with filtered.

You also referred to studies of the beneficial effects of coffee drinking.  To the best of my knowledge those studies were of paper-filtered coffee, which does not contain the harmful lipids found in French press brew.

Sincerely yours,

Alan Adler
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counting
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Joined: 8 May 2005
Posts: 823
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posted Tue Jan 17, 2006, 8:58pm
Subject: Re: French Press and Cholesterol
 

AlanAdler Said:

You also referred to studies of the beneficial effects of coffee drinking.  To the best of my knowledge those studies were of paper-filtered coffee, which does not contain the harmful lipids found in French press brew.

Posted January 17, 2006 link

Haven't most of these studies actually been epidemiological studies that were analyzed without regard to whether the coffee was paper-filtered or not? I take your good point, however - large U.S. populations such as those in Harvard and University of Washington studies probably did drink mostly paper-filtered coffee. (Just guessing.) Similarly, the preponderance of evidence that shows no detrimental effects on coronary disease, first heart attacks, fatal heart attacks, or total mortality encompasses coffee in general, not isolating FP specifically.
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AlanAdler
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AlanAdler
Joined: 31 Dec 2005
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Location: Palo Alto, Calif
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Espresso: AeroPress
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Posted Tue Jan 17, 2006, 10:16pm
Subject: Re: French Press and Cholesterol
 

Coffee Filtering Methods:

While developing the AeroPress, I often ran blind taste-tests on serious coffee and espresso lovers.  

One category of testing involved filtering methods.   As a straight-espresso drinker myself, I thought people would prefer the taste of metal-filtered “AeroPresso”.   My tasters compared “AeroPresso” brewed with metal filters (literally cut from standard espresso baskets) vs. brew made with paper filters.  To my surprise, every single taster emphatically preferred the paper-filtered brew.

Next I tested filters cut from Swiss Gold drip baskets.  The tasters again chose the paper-filtered brew.

Finally, I had some special filters photo-etched to my design.   These had holes one-third the size of those in standard espresso baskets.   But when we repeated the taste-testing, the subjects again strongly preferred the paper-filtered brew.

So that’s how we arrived at paper filters.   It wasn’t until about a year later that I learned about the health advantages of paper-filtered coffee.

Alan
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andys
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andys
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Posted Sat Feb 2, 2008, 9:05am
Subject: Re: French Press and Cholesterol
 

AlanAdler Said:

the evidence against the harmful diterpenes in French press coffee is overwhelmingly concordant....

Paper filtering, even with a simple cone on a cup, removes the risk....

AeroPress (my invention) is paper-filtered and can brew even stronger than the French press if you wish.   It is also faster and easier to use.  See www.aerobie.com

I apologize for this plug, but it could save lives.

Posted January 14, 2006 link


Alan, I recently received moderately high cholesterol counts in a routine blood screening. So, at my advanced age, I have come back to this topic with renewed interest.

A typical Aeropress paper filter weighs about 0.16 grams. A Melitta #2 filter weighs about 1.2 grams. It is a reasonable first guess that the absorption capacity of a paper filter is proportional to its mass.

I think it's also reasonable to assume that most of the comparison studies used paper filters that were more like the Melitta ones than the Aeropress.

Do you have data showing that the absorption capacity of the Aeropress filters is adequate to support your life-saving claim?

 
-AndyS
picture page:  http://flickr.com/photos/andy_s/sets/
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AlanAdler
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AlanAdler
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Espresso: AeroPress
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Posted Sat Feb 2, 2008, 11:02am
Subject: Re:  Cholesterol
 

andys Said:

Alan, I recently received moderately high cholesterol counts in a routine blood screening. So, at my advanced age, I have come back to this topic with renewed interest.

A typical Aeropress paper filter weighs about 0.16 grams. A Melitta #2 filter weighs about 1.2 grams. It is a reasonable first guess that the absorption capacity of a paper filter is proportional to its mass.

I think it's also reasonable to assume that most of the comparison studies used paper filters that were more like the Melitta ones than the Aeropress.

Do you have data showing that the absorption capacity of the Aeropress filters is adequate to support your life-saving claim?

Posted February 2, 2008 link

Hi Andy,

We commissioned the laboratory in the Netherlands (which has done most of this research) to measure the diterpene content of AeroPressed brew with a mass spectrometer.  The results, after dilution to an Americano, were quite similar to cone filtered drip.  

Although the AeroPress filter is small, it benefits from "cake filtration".  The puck does some filtration.  This same effect also results in lower particle levels in an AeroPress Americano than in cone filtered drip of similar brew strength.

I'd like to add that high cholesterol is a concern for people of any age.

Sincerely yours,

Alan
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andys
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andys
Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 857
Location: NY
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Speedster, Londinium 1
Grinder: EK-43,Robur, HG One, M3
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: various
Roaster: PIDed Popper
Posted Sat Feb 2, 2008, 11:10am
Subject: Re: Cholesterol
 

AlanAdler Said:

Hi Andy,

We commissioned the laboratory in the Netherlands (which has done most of this research) to measure the diterpene content of AeroPressed brew with a mass spectrometer.  The results, after dilution to an Americano, were quite similar to cone filtered drip.  

Posted February 2, 2008 link

Excellent, thank you. Is the actual data available?

AlanAdler Said:

Although the AeroPress filter is small, it benefits from "cake filtration".  The puck does some filtration.  

Posted February 2, 2008 link

How significant is "cake filtration?" Wouldn't it also reduce diterpene when using a metal filter?

 
-AndyS
picture page:  http://flickr.com/photos/andy_s/sets/
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AlanAdler
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AlanAdler
Joined: 31 Dec 2005
Posts: 711
Location: Palo Alto, Calif
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: AeroPress
Grinder: Baratza - Virtuoso
Roaster: Fresh Roast SR-500
Posted Sat Feb 2, 2008, 1:16pm
Subject: Re: Cholesterol
 

andys Said:

Excellent, thank you. Is the actual data available?

How significant is "cake filtration?" Wouldn't it also reduce diterpene when using a metal filter?

Posted February 2, 2008 link

Hi Andy,

Here's a link to my prior post which contains the actual levels.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/268130#268130

You can see some benefits from cake filtration on particulate with the following experiment.

  1.  Use an espresso portafilter with an untamped single shot for a pour-over.  Isolate the particles by pouring that brew through a cone filter.

  2.  Use the same coffee and portafilter to make a regular single espresso.  Pour that espresso through a cone filter and compare the particulate to the first brew.

The University in Wageningen - The Nethelands reported in 1995 that a serving of gold filtered drip had 2.5mg of cafestol.  They reported that single espressos taken from Italian coffee houses averaged 1.5mg of cafestol.  It might appear that cake filtration is of some benefit, but the Italian espresso has short brew time, lower temperature and different coffee grounds than the gold filtered drip.

French press brewing has some cake filtration too, yet they reported 3.5mg of cafestol for that.  The higher level might appear due to the long soak in boiling water, but they reported 3.0mg for Scandinavian boiled coffee which had an even longer hot soak.

Paper drip in that report was 0.1mg and AeroPress brew in my link above was 0.122mg.  We don't know that AeroPress was actually higher because all data was rounded of to the nearest 0.1mg in the 1995 report.

Sincererly yours,

Alan
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Cafetiere
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Jan 2008
Posts: 129
Location: Milky Way
Posted Sun Feb 3, 2008, 12:27am
Subject: Re: French Press and Cholesterol
 

Last time I checked, we were a mortal --

A candle burning at both ends, will not last the night.
But I am here, amongst my friends . . .
So let us have the light, until the candle ends . . .

-- It's from "A River Runs Through It."  Take your coffee fishing . . .

 
Good coffee is not rocket science. It's WAY more complicated than that!
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