Italian style brewed coffee: effect on serum cholesterol in young men

Int J Epidemiol. 1996 Jun;25(3):513-20. doi: 10.1093/ije/25.3.513.


Background: Increases in blood lipids have been observed in humans when coffee is brewed by the boiling method. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if giving up Italian coffee might reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Methods: Eighty-four normolipidaemic young adult males, after a 3-week baseline (BL), were randomly assigned to three different regimens of coffee consumption: espresso (E), mocha (M), and no coffee, but tea (T). The average coffee consumption during intervention (I) was 3.1 +/- 1.2 and 2.8 +/- 1.1 cups per day for espresso and mocha group respectively (espresso: 25-35 ml/cup; mocha: 40-50 ml/cup). Total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were measured eight times during the study. Dietary pattern, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, drug use, and anthropometric data were also recorded.

Results: The changes observed in serum cholesterol concentration between baseline and intervention were not statistically different in all groups. The changes were 0.0 mmol/l (T), +0.01 mmol/l (E) and +0.05 mmol/l (M) for total serum cholesterol; 0 mmol/l (T), -0.02 mmol/l (E) and -0. 03 mmol/l (M) for HDL-C; -0.13 mmol/l (T), +0.02 mmol/l (E) and -0. 05 mmol/l (M) for LDL-C. Serum triglycerides showed a significant increase during intervention (P < 0.01 by ANOVA) in all groups with a change of 0.18 mmol/l, 0.18 mmol/l and 0.22 mmol/l, for tea, espresso and mocha group respectively.

Conclusions: The results indicate that coffee brewed in the Italian way does not alter blood levels of total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, since no significant differences were observed in these blood parameters after a 6-week break from coffee consumption.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Coffee*
  • Cooking
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Tea


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cholesterol