Reading the comments from yesterday’s post about coffee, I realized there was a bunch of stuff I forgot to say. So this is Coffee, Part 2. Tomorrow, I’ll get to the white stuff that goes in the coffee.
1) French Press vs. Filtered Coffee: Some readers are advocating the French Press as a filter-free alternative. While this method certainly saves a lot of paper coffee filters, it might not be the best option for those of us with cholesterol issues, like Beth Terry aka Fake Plastic Fish.
High cholesterol seems to run in my family. And the oil in coffee contains a compound called cafestol which raises LDL (the bad cholesterol). Paper filters, and I’m assuming cloth filters, trap much of the oil and therefore reduce the cholesterol-raising properties of coffee. Recent studies have shown that even filtered coffee raises LDL some. But not as much as unfiltered. Here’s an MSNBC article that summarizes the research in terms that non-scientists can understand: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6242467/. And here’s an article that explains the mechanism by which cafestol raises cholesterol: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070614162223.htm.
So, this explains my choice to buy a filtered coffee maker rather than a French Press. But it doesn’t mean it’s not a great choice for other people who have less cholesterol risk than I and who prefer stronger coffee.
2) Buying plastic-free coffee: I totally forgot this part yesterday! Most coffee bags, while they might be paper on the outside, are lined with plastic on the inside. This turns out to be the case at my local coffee shop, Peaberry’s. So, I take my own brown paper bag with me and have them fill it up with a pound of their Fairtrade Organic blend. This is my coffee-buying bag that I bring back with me each time.
At home, I empty the coffee into a metal tin that originally contained popcorn from the Popcorn Factory. It’s got a nice, tight lid. I keep it in the refrigerator. If you have better ideas of how to keep coffee fresh without plastic, let me know. This seems to work fine for me.
3) My travel mug: Cave-Woman asked what kind of mug I use. It’s a Timolino Vacuum Travel mug from Peaberry’s: stainless steel inside and out with a polypropylene plastic lid. Would I rather put my lips on something other than plastic? Yep. So when I’m sitting still, I drink right from the metal mug without putting the lid on. But while in transit, I do use the lid.
Cave-Woman also mentioned that she can detect a metal after-taste drinking from a stainless steel mug. Maybe her palate is more sensitive than mine. I don’t notice any metal taste. But I would be interested to know if any of you know of a travel mug that contains no plastic, is made relatively locally (Mine’s from China, natch. It would be local if I lived in China.), doesn’t leak, and works well for you.
I’m not about to buy a new one for myself. I’ll sticking with mine, imperfect as it is. But your suggestions could be useful to those who are in the market and can’t find a good one used. No Impact Man talks about drinking coffee from a glass jar. But how do you pick up a glass jar of hot coffee without burning yourself? Make a cloth cozy to go around it? Hmmm…