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Sensitive to French Press coffee?

by (56596)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:45 PM
Created May 12, 2012 at 9:51 PM

My mother has always insisted that french press coffee is easier on the stomach. I haven't drank much coffee in the past because it seemed to make my stomach more volatile, but I have been having regular drip coffee (I started with bulletproof brand and switched to Crop to Cup with a problem and then in Europe god knows what I was drinking) quite a bit in the past few months and haven't noticed any problems. Then I bought a French press (yes, I started having my roaster do a coarse grind) and all the sudden my stomach is not very happy at all. I started thinking about the sludge at the bottom of the cup that occurs even with a coarse grind. Could this be irritating my stomach? Anyone else had any experience with this?

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1659 · May 14, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Just put less grounds in it right? Or does the paper really filter out the acidity.

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1880 · May 13, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Anyone know if there exists an all metal home drip machine? I go out for drip coffee unless I make instant because I don't want heated plastic chemical crap in my coffee.

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1880 · May 13, 2012 at 4:19 PM

I think it could be the sludge. I have zero issues usually with coffee, espresso etc but when I started pressing regularly, my stomach started bothering me. Went back to drip. Try making a custom paper filter and see if that helps. I never tried this but might because I miss pressed coffee taste.

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4176 · May 12, 2012 at 11:40 PM

The French Press KILLS me. It makes me feel like I have some serious acid belly and cracks me out. People hate my coffee, but I quite enjoy super high grade coffee brewed in a super low grade coffee maker. I brew it weak and I drink it black.

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445 · May 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Acidity in coffee is often misunderstood. It refers to tasting notes and not pH at all (which is usually about 5 - not too acidic, nor worth noting). But the skimming of grounds is real. This video actually address that: http://www.jimseven.com/2008/11/13/french-press-technique/

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56596 · May 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM

I am using a low-acid variety and I never understood the acid thing. I mean I've been drinking kombucha for years and it has a very low PH.

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20519 · May 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM

I was using a Hario V60 ceramic and, like the Clever.. and my Chemex, broke it. That was with the V-Filters. Currently using a Melitta, it bounces!, and #2 If You Care filters. I'm saving up for another Hario ceramic and a Buono kettle. If I have to cover my kitchen floor with bubblewrap, so no more breaking, I will.

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5949 · May 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I've tried French press, espresso machine, and plastic filter holder that sits on top of a mug, and none of those methods makes tastier coffee than the Frigidaire automatic drip machine I bought at Best Buy. I use unbleached paper filters instead of the gold reusable filter that came with it.

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20519 · May 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Ahh, the Clever! Crap - I've used that one too but for tea. That thing is awesome. And then I broke it.

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445 · May 12, 2012 at 10:26 PM

I use a variety of methods, but most frequently return to the Hario v60 (http://amzn.to/KcooVj). I'd probably recommend that you try a Clever Dripper (http://amzn.to/KcosnZ) though, or stick to Cold Brewed iced coffee (http://amzn.to/Kcoxbh). I'd also HIGHLY recommend using http://brewmethods.com/ to check out different techniques. It's a well curated list of the best methods available.

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56596 · May 12, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Thanks for the info! what kind of coffee maker do you use?

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445 · May 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Incidentally, you mentioned having your roaster grind it for you. Here's a list of the aromatics that are lost within 30 minutes of grinding (FWIW): http://shotzombies.com/2009/08/07/the-aromatics-you-lose-when-coffee-has-been-ground-for-30-minutes/

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56596 · May 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM

What kind of filter do you use?

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56596 · May 12, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Yeah, this is part of a Danny Roddy experiment, so actually this time I am getting calcium.

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4163 · May 12, 2012 at 9:59 PM

I read recently that sensitivity to caffeine may be caused by calcium deficiency. I am highly caffeine sensitive, it has gotten progressively worse to the point of which I can't have tea, as an Irish woman, this is a travesty. :) I keep meaning to get around to trying the ground eggshells a la Danny Roddy but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Might be worth a try.

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10 Answers

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445 · May 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM

French Press allows a lot of the oils that are otherwise trapped in a paper filter through. Generally speaking, this creates a beverage with a lot of body (dissolved solids), but less clarity. You can try diluting it with the addition of hot water (post brew), but I would recommend not using this particular method at all, regardless of sensitivity. People have some sort of romantic attachment to their press pots, but it's better to just filter all those particles out properly.

In other words, I don't know why your mother finds it easier on her stomach, but I think you're right to find it unsettling.

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1880 · May 13, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Anyone know if there exists an all metal home drip machine? I go out for drip coffee unless I make instant because I don't want heated plastic chemical crap in my coffee.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d
5949 · May 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I've tried French press, espresso machine, and plastic filter holder that sits on top of a mug, and none of those methods makes tastier coffee than the Frigidaire automatic drip machine I bought at Best Buy. I use unbleached paper filters instead of the gold reusable filter that came with it.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e
20519 · May 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Ahh, the Clever! Crap - I've used that one too but for tea. That thing is awesome. And then I broke it.

B53f530d64ad9e1b128a0358a85ba268
445 · May 12, 2012 at 10:26 PM

I use a variety of methods, but most frequently return to the Hario v60 (http://amzn.to/KcooVj). I'd probably recommend that you try a Clever Dripper (http://amzn.to/KcosnZ) though, or stick to Cold Brewed iced coffee (http://amzn.to/Kcoxbh). I'd also HIGHLY recommend using http://brewmethods.com/ to check out different techniques. It's a well curated list of the best methods available.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56596 · May 12, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Thanks for the info! what kind of coffee maker do you use?

B53f530d64ad9e1b128a0358a85ba268
445 · May 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Incidentally, you mentioned having your roaster grind it for you. Here's a list of the aromatics that are lost within 30 minutes of grinding (FWIW): http://shotzombies.com/2009/08/07/the-aromatics-you-lose-when-coffee-has-been-ground-for-30-minutes/

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20519 · May 12, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Yeppers, I react the way you do. IMO I believe it's the steeping time that does it. I've tried Chemex, pour over, press, cold brew. Press? I don't react well. The other methods - no problems.

When it's hot I make cold brew, 12+hour steeping method then filter = way less acidity, and all the other months I use the pour over method and it's truly aces.

Oh - and I only have one cup a day.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e
20519 · May 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM

I was using a Hario V60 ceramic and, like the Clever.. and my Chemex, broke it. That was with the V-Filters. Currently using a Melitta, it bounces!, and #2 If You Care filters. I'm saving up for another Hario ceramic and a Buono kettle. If I have to cover my kitchen floor with bubblewrap, so no more breaking, I will.

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56596 · May 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM

What kind of filter do you use?

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5853 · May 13, 2012 at 4:39 AM

Try a very dark roast? they are less bitter. And good idea to grind the coffee yourself. Which you are propably already doing, introduces perhaps less contaminants and oxidation.

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3690 · May 12, 2012 at 10:48 PM

I'm not sure. I have a feeling that French Press Coffee makes me feel wonky sometimes. But sometimes not. Too many variables to account for. But since I've stopped for about 2 weeks, I haven't gotten any wonky feelings.

Due to the lack of a filter for french press, I know you're drinking higher amounts of oils and possibly a higher amount of caffeine as well. I've tried both cold and hot brewing, and I feel the caffeine effect on me is the same. Sometimes I'll feel kind of bloaty post-french-press coffee.

Would adding cream lessen the effect? I'm not sure. I recall drinking french press coffee for a while, but never noticing bloating or wonkiness until recently. So take my experience with a grain of salt.

Perhaps when I get off the coffee train, I'll start re-experimenting with different brew types. The Chemex type of brewing always seemed a bit curious to me.

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41297 · May 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM

I live coffee but French press is some intense stuff. It must be the added oils in it or greater caffiene extraction because more than a couple cups of it leaves me jittery. Espresso is not a problem. Drip is not a problem. Cold brew French press is also ok. Just high temperature press... not a stomach problem so might be somehing completely different.

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0 · March 01, 2013 at 3:43 PM

I just purchased a French press this week, and I have had horrible cramping right after I drink my morning coffee. I also switched to a different probiotic, but I'm inclined to think it's the coffee rather than the probiotic. Many years ago, I had my first round of IBS brought on by job stress, and my doctor told me to get off strong coffee. :( I've never really gone all the way off, but I got the IBS under control after a couple of years of really being careful of my stress and changing some eating habits. I will be sad if it turns out the French press is bringing on these horrid cramps - they are in the lowest part of my tummy, and they literally make me gasp. I have a few little come and go problems with my tummy anyway, so I can't be sure what's going on. I drank k-cup coffee in the morning and then gas station coffee yesterday afternoon with no problems. Today, though, as soon as I downed my delicious French press brew, I got a shooting pain across my stomach and felt like someone had stabbed me. So...I'm concerned it's the brew method. One thing I did a few years back was make sure I didn't drink coffee on an empty stomach. I may try to eat toast before drinking coffee and see it that will help a bit; it has helped in the past. I read that in a book about IBS diet, but I can't remember the name. Cheers, coffee lovers, don't give up!

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1002 · May 14, 2012 at 6:08 PM

I react badly to French Press coffee too; by early afternoon, I feel terrible. My grandma turned me on to toddy (cold brew) coffee. It's so great. Very low acidity, and great taste. This link is for a certain brand of brewer, but just wanted you to get the idea... http://www.toddycafe.com/

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1906 · May 14, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Coffee typically makes me feel like someone punched me deep in the stomach. It doesn't typically matter how the coffee is prepared, but somehow my stomach just doesn't do well with it.

Yet, I'm perfectly fine with espresso, and well as with Greek frappés. My guess is it may have something to do with the quantity of coffee, and possibly the temperature as well. A Greek frappé is incredibly strong, for example, when prepared correctly, and while it gets me wired, it doesn't leave my stomach feeling like someone poked a hole in it. A frappé is also watered down with some milk, and maybe the fact that it's prepared cold is another mitigating factor. I'll have to do some more experimentation, I suppose.

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58 · May 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Could be the acidity of the brand you're using? Chris Kresser's recent google+ post linked to the freakonomics article about skimming the grounds before plunging in order to remove the fines. Haven't personally tried it with coffee yet - just loose tea - but it made a big difference. http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/04/22/how-to-make-the-perfect-cup-of-coffee/

We are big fans of the cold brew method overnight in the fridge. It supposedly reduces the acidity of the finished product and is always smooth.

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445 · May 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Acidity in coffee is often misunderstood. It refers to tasting notes and not pH at all (which is usually about 5 - not too acidic, nor worth noting). But the skimming of grounds is real. This video actually address that: http://www.jimseven.com/2008/11/13/french-press-technique/

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56596 · May 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM

I am using a low-acid variety and I never understood the acid thing. I mean I've been drinking kombucha for years and it has a very low PH.

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78417 · November 27, 2012 at 8:20 PM

try organo gold. might help http://mycapturepage.com/cp23.php?id=470

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