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In taking a look at the function of good oils and bad oils in coffee, we will be going to go down 2d ifferent paths taste & health
On the one hand, it is the “good oils” in coffee the produce a great deal of the flavor and complexity of aroma that makes coffee what it is.
When taking a look at the “bad oils” in coffee, the major concerned is a health issue. The culprit is cholesterol.
The type of brewing method used also becomes a component on both paths. One of the most popular brewing methods gaining traction is the French press. It is what I use, and I love the taste of the coffee, (good) but, it can also trigger your body to produce more cholesterol (bad) than other brewing methods.
We’ll take a look at each branch of the coffee oil discussion the good, and the bad, and then wrap them up together.
Whenever possible we will cite sources of our information and you can use your judgment on the credibility of the sources.
The ‘Good Oils’ In Coffee – Taste Enhancers
Let’s talk about the good oils and flavor production in coffee. Coffee oils are naturally found in caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. Some people mistakenly believe that strong flavored coffee with good body must use oily beans.
My favorite coffee for many years was Sumatran. This is a “hard-core, manly” coffee with a heavy, earthy taste. People either love it or hate it. It can almost be a jolt to the system.Although I didn’t know it at the time, I’ve come to learn that Sumatran coffee is one of the few copies that can handle a long deep dark roast.
In fact, oily dark coffee beans do you have a strong taste, but it is usually bitter and too bold. In the roasting process you are burning off sugar and at a certain point bitterness creeps in and the qualities that make the coffee taste good leak out.
Oil is produced from the reactions that occur with the internal part of the bean and oxygen. If you get old roasted beans in a bag or shipped to you, they will produce an oily surface eventually, even without roasting.
During the roasting process with the addition of heat, the chemical reactions with the beans and oxygen’s are accelerated many times over.Most roasters know that one of being starts to produce oil there is a good chance that it is been roasted too long. The formation of that oil occurs when the internal coffee bean shell cracks in the CO2 escapes.
That CO2 instantly reacts with oxygen to form the oil. If the beans were stopped in their roast shortly before the point where they produce oil, you’d still have a bold tasting well-developed bean. You may think of oil on the surface of beans as being in indicated they have been roasted too long.
To sum it up oily beans are usually an indicator of one of two problems:
- The beans are old, losing flavor and starting to go bad.
- The beans have been subjected to a too long roast and have probably moved from beyond bold to bitter and burnt.
The ‘Bad Oils’ In Coffee – Health Problems
We talked about both good and bad oils as it pertains to the taste of coffee.
Now we going to talk about the bad oils as it pertains to health problems possibly caused by coffee. In doing so, in often misunderstood word is going to pop up and it really is the meat of the matter when it comes to “bad oils” produced in coffee.
That Word Is ‘Cholesterol’ What is cholesterol?
It is beyond the scope of this post to provide a complete education on good and bad cholesterol. But, let’s give a quick rundown on what cholesterol is. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus:
“Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in some of the foods you eat.
If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries. This buildup of plaque is known as atherosclerosis. It can lead to coronary artery disease, where your arteries become narrow or even blocked.
Now what we will do is focus on cholesterol as it relates to coffee.
A fact that you should be aware of is that unlike beef and pork which actually contain the cholesterol you’re putting in your body, coffee does not contain cholesterol by itself.
But rather, coffee is an ‘activating agent’ that signals your body to produce natural cholesterol. Basically, what you are doing is increasing the production of cholesterol not adding it to your body from an outside source.
What Is The Connection Between Coffee And Cholesterol?
The oils within coffee are known as diterpenes. Several of these oils have been identified but to have been identified as culprits in bad cholesterol production, cafestol, and kahweol.
Here is what research has discovered: Cafestol is one of the regulators of cholesterol that affects your body’s ability to metabolize it.
Research indicates that: Cafestol affects the body’s ability to metabolize and regulate cholesterol. According to a compilation of many peer-reviewed, professional studies on coffee and cholesterol, coffee oils may decrease bile acids and neutral sterols. This may lead to more cholesterol in the system. Researchers concluded that Cafestol is the “most potent cholesterol-elevating compound identified in the human diet.
How You Brew Your Coffee Can Affect The Bad Cholesterol Potential
The previous discussion on cholesterol sounded pretty scary. But, the fact of the matter is that the small amount of raised cholesterol that can occur in some people (notice the qualifiers), is negligible.
However, what type of brewing method you use affects the amount of cafestol that is in your coffee. This might sound almost counterintuitive as our first thoughts might think that the coffee bean itself makes the difference. But, cafestol is found in all coffee beans even in decaffeinated coffee.
The brewing process leaches out the oils that are present in the ground coffee. On the good side, this produces much of the characteristic flavor of any given bean. On the bad side, it can also reach out cafestol which is not so good for you.
The determining factor on how much cafestol (bad oil) is in your coffee is the brewing method.
The longer the coffee grounds are in contact with a hot water the greater the extraction of the oils is.
If you think about it, using an automatic drip machine with a good paper filter reduces the hot water’s contact with the ground coffee to a minimum. Most of the cafestol is captured by the paper filter.
A French press, however, allows the coffee grounds to be in contact with the coffee for a full 4 to 8 minutes depending on your preferred brewing time. Generally, a French press does not use a paper filter in the filters in a French press are more like a sieve. They do not remove cafestol.
In one study I looked at they stated that running the hot water through the coffee grounds with a French press ‘again and again’, led to their conclusions. I’m just wondering if there were any coffee drinkers on the crew. I don’t know that people generally sit there with their French press and pump it up and down several times to ‘get more flavor’.
On second thought, there are probably people who do that, but they need help. Not only from high cholesterol but possibly from a psychiatrist for drinking coffee that way (lol).
Kidding aside, I really do wonder if the test methodology was flawed.
A study published in Science Direct found that Boiled coffee and Turkish had the highest amount of bad oils – diterpenes cafestol and kahweol. Where the amounts of those same bad oils in American process automatic drip filtered coffee was negligible.
Benefits Of Drinking Coffee
Unless you’re living under a rock, you have heard of the many benefits of drinking coffee in relationship to your health.
Check out our post which is a detailed look at 23 health benefits to drinking coffee.
Here are just a few:
1. #1 source of antioxidants.
2. Protection against liver Cirrhosis.
3. Reduced risk of liver cancer.
4. Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Decreased risk of Dementia.
6. Decreased risk of Diabetes Type 2.
7. Protection against Parkinson’s disease.
8. Decreased risk of heart attack.
9. Lower risk of clogged arteries.
10. Decrease workout muscle pain.
11. Increased physical performance and energy levels.
12. Reduced risk of Gout.
13. Reduced risk of some cancers.
14. Lower risk of Multiple Sclerosis.
15. Helps you burn fat by increasing your metabolism.
16. Provides essential vitamins and nutrients.
17. Provides stronger DNA.
18. Coffee can help you live longer in general.
19.Coffee can prevent retinal damage.
20. Decreases risk of depression.
21.Coffee may prevent cavities and periodontal disease.
22.USDA recommends it for inclusion in the diet.
23. Decreases suicide risk and ideation.
Conclusion And Summary
In the beginning of this post, I stated we’re going to look at good and bad coffee oils from two points of view, a halt point of view and a coffee tasting point of view. Let’s summarize:
From a taste point of view, oil within the beans is made up of many flavor and aroma-enhancing compounds. Roasting being should develop the flavors that are there not impart a taste on top of them. If the roast is gone onto one think of the oil produced as flavor being lost to the atmosphere.
If your coffee beans have oil on the outside, it generally is an indicator of being roasted too long or improper storage with the beans starting to go bad.
From a health point of view, we are concerned with certain oils within the coffee being that can be released into the coffee and ingested into the body. Some research has indicated bad oils – diterpenes cafestol and kahweol may be an activating agent for your body to produce higher levels of cholesterol.
The method of brewing has been shown to have an effect on the amount of these bad (cholesterol producing) oils in the brew.
Studies have shown, however, that even the worst case scenario of drinking 4 to 5 pots of French press, boiled, percolated, or Turkish coffee only produced a measurable increase in cholesterol of 6% to 8%.
The amounts of these chemical pine compounds found in paper filtered coffee were negligible.Drinking coffee and raised cholesterol levels shouldn’t be much of a concern. On the contrary, coffee may be able to deliver numerous health benefits.
According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have found no significant connection between coffee and increased risks of heart disease and cancer.Earlier studies that found a link did not consider other high-risk behaviors common in coffee drinkers, such as smoking and lack of exercise. Research has, however, indicated a link between coffee consumption and decreased mortality rate.
Coffee has also been associated with protection against diseases such as type 2 diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s, and depression.
We hope you enjoyed this post.
Wishing you the best in your coffee adventures.