At work I usually drink instant coffee, but I found out that one can buy French press mugs. I did some research about which of these methods of preparing coffee is healthier, it seems that there's no consensus. Assuming that the taste doesn't matter, which method would you recommend? We're talking about one, maximum two cups a day, so no extreme amounts.

5 Answers 5


As far as I know there are no health concerns about coffee aside from caffeine consumption. Unless there are additives in instant coffee that I'm unaware of then there ought to be no substantive difference between the two (French Press and instant). Instant coffee is simply coffee which was freeze dried either by spraying droplets in the air or crushed after freezing.

Therefore the health concerns, if any, would be relative to the amount of caffeine you consume. You mention that you drink two cups a day. That is below every recommended max consumption I've ever seen (4 cups).

  • 1
    Acrylamide is a concern and Starbucks is required in California to put a "cancer warning" sign up in their stores with regard to it. For some reason it is not required right now on coffee bags in stores, but I did see one in a Whole Foods coffee aisle.
    – Scooter
    Sep 29, 2019 at 6:35

When I read this question I recalled reading somewhere that a french press was supposed to have health benefits compared to filter coffee since there is no filter to remove the coffee oils from the cup. In looking for an article to confirm however, I found this article from Harvard health blog that said it may increase cholesterol if you drink too much (>4 cups a day).

If you search enough you can also find articles that claim the oils are good for you.

Overall, I do not think this choice will significantly affect your health unless you drink many cups of coffee a day, in which case the caffeine is probably of greater concern.

  • Thanks for the answer, I was compering French press to instant coffee, not filter coffee though. But I guess it's the same story.
    – Paula
    Jul 29, 2017 at 16:21

Based on @MT San's comment, I did some additional research and came up with this article. It appears the antioxidant contents of instant coffee are in general not affected, or possibly even concentrated, but the amount of acrylamide in instant coffee can be as much as twice the levels in freshly brewed coffee. Overexposure to acrylamide can cause nervous system damage and increases the risk of cancer.

As MT says, it is very difficult to say. What amount results in overexposure to acrylamide, and do the antioxidant concentrations negate the negative? Here's the source article.


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    I doubt this Nate. As instant coffee is concentrated, everything is concentrated in it. Therefore, antioxidants are concentrated, too. It may be possible that instant coffee is healthier than french-press in that case. Also, during percolation, there should not be any filtering of oils. Note that, I'm mentioning the 'very' straightforward instant coffee production. Final words: it is hard to say...
    – MTSan
    Aug 16, 2017 at 8:46
  • I am still curious how they prevent the oils in brewed coffee from going rancid. I know instant coffee has a shelf life, but I would think they would go rancid very quickly. When you look up instant coffee processing, they dont' really go into how they make the extraction, other than that they make a concentrate using super heated water (wikipedia says water at 347 degrees)
    – Nate M.
    Aug 16, 2017 at 15:33
  • Industrial brewing is normally percolation. (If nothing else is discovered to be more effective, recently.) So, you may think really huge percolators. The temperature you mentioned must be Fahrenheit, right? I remember it was less than 200 °C. One thing is clear that most aromatics evaporate at that temperature. However, I believe nobody goes after instant coffee for its taste.
    – MTSan
    Aug 16, 2017 at 17:50
  1. the difference is that when making instant coffee you add the coffee in the cup and make it resulting in drinking the coffee together with the "coffee beans". this is difficult for your body to digest. With the french press the raw coffee is not drank but filtered and you drink the coffee juice.
  2. the instant coffee goes through a process and then is sold to you whereas the french press coffee is grinded coffee beans.

So basically the french press coffee is better for you.

  • Nope, instant coffee is not powdered coffee beans but freeze-dried (brewed) coffee.
    – Stephie
    Aug 15, 2017 at 9:34
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    Oh, please... read this other question. coffee.stackexchange.com/questions/411/…
    – MTSan
    Aug 15, 2017 at 11:39
  • en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_coffee: "The main byproduct of the instant coffee production process is spent coffee powder. This powder can be used as biomass, for example to produce heat used in the manufacturing process. Roughly 2 times the mass in spent coffee powder is generated for each quantity of soluble coffee."
    – Stephie
    Aug 16, 2017 at 5:36

Recently, it came out that California is requiring some coffee shops to post that coffee may cause cancer because of the Acrylamide as Nate M and MT San pointed out.
However, many more articles and studies have come out recently to counteract this as more experts are weighing in and saying that if anything at the very least the benefits of coffee is neutral. There is some bad but its not that bad, and the good isn't that great. I linked to a few articles talking about that below.

Regarding the debate for french press vs. instant coffee, this could come down to a personal preference. Some things to think about regarding French Press are how is the coffee grounds stored, how are the coffee ground, is there availability to fresh and clean and hot water, how hot is the water, how much patience do you have, and how do you like it.
I love my french press and would do that over instant any day. However, I get whole beans, store them in an air-tight jar ( coffee vault ), and then hand grind them daily when I brew it in my french press. All of this many people do not have the patience for the coffee, especially since after that, you have to let the coffee steep for a few minutes (similar to Tea).

In the past I had bad coffee (which could affect the health benefits) when the grounds weren't stored properly, or the grinder wasn't cleaned/sanitized properly.
Also, I make sure to measure the temp of the hot water I put in. Currently we have a water purifier that has a "hot water" setting, and I use that. The water is about 170, which is important not to be above 190. Many coffee houses, home brewers and even Keurigs will brew at 200+, but can be adjusted to as low as 180. Coffee shops will do this so it stays hotter longer. The proof is inconclusive, but I think there is some studies suggesting that the temperature has something to do with the production of the Acrylamide. This does greatly affect the taste of the coffee. You can find something here at the Physics Fact Book, and something here at the five senses.

One of my best friends will only drink instant coffee, and loves it, and has been for about 30 years. He likes how quick it is, and likes the taste, but he also adds cream.

Overall health benefits / disadvantage are leaning towards positive results, assuming its in moderation and everything is clean and clear, regardless of the method.

Something new to possibly check things out that might be good for you that is a blend of both world....the MiniPresso. It can make regular coffee, not just espresso, but it has a concept design similar to a french press.

Recent articles on health benefits and such....






  • Hi Keith, the most preferred way of referring in the community is, adding a summary of the original pages as they may disappear in time. Thanks for summing up.
    – MTSan
    Apr 5, 2018 at 12:08
  • Thank you MT San. I am sorry I am verbose sometimes. What do you mean by "referring in the community" and how would you do a summary of the original page? Apr 5, 2018 at 13:36
  • By "referring" I refer adding internet links. The community is indeed the Coffee SE community. Just link the page with a short title in brackets, then add the url in parenthesis, then shortly write down what's inside that page. Thanks for the effort.
    – MTSan
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:14

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