Boiled coffee or filter coffee: Which one is better?

Which is a healthier method to make coffee?

No other psychostimulant drug in the world is as widely guzzled and as adored as coffee is. This is precisely the reason why coffee lovers don't care HOW it is brewed as long as they get their frequent fix every day. In India, however, coffee is made in different ways. In the South, the day breaks with filter coffee accompanied by a piping hot breakfast. In the rest of the country, however, coffee is made just the way tea is, by boiling the grounds in water and mixing it with milk. Some also prefer to use instant coffee that is added to milk. But from a scientific perspective, will the manner in which coffee is prepared have any bearing on our health? It seems like it. Studies clearly say that one type of coffee making is preferable to the other, as far as the health is concerned. So if you are a coffee lover who has cardiovascular problems such as high cholesterol, this article will be of particular interest to you. Read on.

Filter coffee is brewed in a metal device with two cylindrical cups. One of the cups has tiny holes in the bottom and it is fitted onto the tumbler cup in the bottom. The cup with the holes is filled with coffee grounds which are compressed to form a tight layer. Hot water is then poured into the tumbler with the holes where the chicory in the grounds hold on to the hot water, releasing the coffee extraction slowly. Drip-by-drip, it falls into the lower tumbler where it is mixed with water, milk and sugar. Boiled coffee on the other hand is either made by steeping the coffee grounds in hot water or by boiling it at high temperature, releasing the bitter acids of the coffee into the water.

(Read: Science backed reasons why caffeine is good)

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Researchers tested both the methods of making coffee on the serum cholesterol levels of the body. In a 12-week trial, 107 participants with normal serum cholesterol levels were given coffee made by filtering and boiling methods. And then, after a three-week run-in period, when they all consumed filter coffee, the participants were randomly put in groups that were given six cups of boiled coffee, four to six cups of filtered coffee or no coffee at all. They tested the participants for a period of nine weeks and it was seen that there was no difference in the serum total or low-density cholesterol levels of people who were in groups that drank filter coffee or no coffee. But those who drank boiled coffee had increased levels of serum cholesterol levels after nine weeks.

So to prevent cholesterol issues, it would probably be in your best interest to consume coffee that is filtered instead of brewed. Filtered coffee clearly trumps boiled coffee in this debate.


Bak, A. A., & Grobbee, D. E. (1989). The effect on serum cholesterol levels of coffee brewed by filtering or boiling. New England Journal of Medicine, 321(21), 1432-1437.

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