Numerous epidemiological studies have evaluated the association between coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and various cancers. This paper briefly reviews the evidence for a relation between coffee consumption and these conditions, with particular attention to methodological issues. Several early studies suggested that coffee consumption could result in a marked increase in risk of coronary heart disease and several types of cancer. However, more recent prospective cohort studies that are less prone to selection and information bias have not confirmed these findings. High consumption of unfiltered types of coffee, such as French press and boiled coffee, has been shown to increase low-density-lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations. In addition, limiting caffeinated coffee intake during pregnancy seems a prudent choice. However, evidence has been accumulating that frequent consumption of coffee may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. Further experimental studies are warranted to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and possibly identify the components in coffee that are responsible for these putative effects. In sum, the currently available evidence on coffee and risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer is largely reassuring, and suggests that, for the general population, addressing other health-related behaviors has priority for the prevention of chronic diseases.