How Espresso Could Be Affecting Your Cholesterol

It's widely acknowledged that consuming coffee is the way to start the day. However, while a cup of brewed beans has always been a popular way to pack a caffeinated punch in the morning, the National Coffee Association reports that coffee consumption has sky-rocketed to its highest in two decades with approximately 66% of Americans sipping coffee each day. Their report also notes that espresso consumption has soared by 30% since pre-pandemic times.

Espresso is the key ingredient in a latte or cappuccino, and it can be consumed on its own as well. As The Spruce Eats explains, espresso is a type of coffee that is created with high water pressure, which produces a higher concentrated flavor through finely-ground beans.

While espresso is most known for its starring role in beverages you might enjoy at breakfast time, it's also a key addition to desserts like mocha brownies, no-bake espresso mud pie, or a classic, perfect affogato. It's also no slouch on the savory side, especially in morning meals that incorporate a red eye gravy over biscuits and eggs.

Whether you prepare it at home, pop into your local coffee shop, or do drive-thru Starbucks for your delicious morning drinks, you're likely to enjoy the buzzy results of the morning beverage. However, recent studies suggest that as much as you might "heart" coffee, you might want to consider how coffee, namely espresso, is affecting your heart.

Many factors come into play

Besides the obvious boost that coffee gives, there are numerous cited benefits from its consumption. As Healthline notes, consuming coffee can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, possibly protect against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and it may even improve liver health.

However, Open Heart, a British Medical Journal, published in March results of a study that suggest that coffee in general, and particularly espresso, could pose a threat to heart health. The study hypothesized that serum total cholesterol is raised by coffee because of the diterpenes, cafestol, and kahweol. It also suggested that brewing methods affected the level to which cholesterol may be a factor.

The findings of the study suggest that espresso most increased serum total cholesterol, especially for men. While plunged coffee (think: French press), filtered coffee, and instant coffee also showed increased numbers for serum total cholesterol, the researchers concluded that further research is warranted regarding cholesterol outcomes for consumers of espresso.