Can French Press Coffee Cause Diarrhea?

As coffee lovers, we all know that there are various ways of brewing our beloved coffee and French Press is one of them. But like me, have you experienced an upset stomach or diarrhea after drinking French Press coffee? Well, welcome to the club! A lot of us experience diarrhea after drinking french press coffr and according to my research, we’re not alone in this. In this article, I’ll explore why French press coffee can upset your stomach and exactly why.

Can French Press Coffee Really Cause Diarrhea?

french press coffee machine

Yes, French Press coffee really can cause diarrhea and tummy aches. When I started experiencing this consistently after drinking a mug of French-pressed coffee, I had to explore why.  French pressed coffee can contain a lot of sediment which typically gets filtered out and also, the longer it steeps, the stronger it gets.

But to really understand everything in much more detail, I’ve broken everything down for you to understand why your body may be reacting this way to French press coffee.

How French Press Coffee Is Made Is What Causes Stomach Aches

Here’s how French Press coffee is made: the coffee grounds are placed at the bottom of the container, and hot water is poured over them. Then, the plunger is pressed down to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid.

Reason #1: Extremely High Caffeine Content Causing GI Distress

bodum french press

One reason why French Press coffee might cause diarrhea is its high concentration of caffeine.

Remember that one cup of French Press coffee can contain up to 8 times more caffeine than a regular cup of coffee! Excessive caffeine intake can cause stomach irritation, leading to diarrhea.

Believe it or not, caffeine has a direct impact on your gastrointestinal system, and can cause unwanted cramping and loose stools. If one cup of Joe makes your bowels more active, imagine what a French Press coffee can do for your bowels: diarrhea! Exactly!

Reason #2: The Coffee Oils Aren’t Filtered

Another possible reason is the method of brewing. Unlike other coffee brewing methods that use paper filters, French Press coffee doesn’t filter out the coffee oils.

You know those oils that float at the top of coffee? Well, those oils contain a compound called cafestol, which can stimulate the production of bile acid. When too much bile acid is produced, it can irritate the digestive system, leading to diarrhea.

Reason #3: Possible Bacterial Contamination

The third reason why French Press might be giving you tummy aches and diarrhea: French Press coffee is typically brewed with water that is not hot enough to kill bacteria.

Because of that, there is a risk of bacterial contamination especially if the device is not cleaned properly. Consuming contaminated coffee can cause various gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea.

Not Everyone Who Drinks French Press Coffee Experiences Diarrhea

joe drinking cuppa joe

However, it is worth noting that not everyone will experience diarrhea after drinking French Press coffee.

Some people may tolerate it well while others may have a sensitive stomach. Personally, I’ve discovered I have a sensitive stomach despite drinking 2-3 cups of coffee on most days for the last decade!

Is French Press Coffee Bad For Your Stomach?

The short answer is no, French Press coffee is only bad for you stomach if you’re experiences constant tummy aches or diarrhea. Because of all the reasons discussed earlier, it can definitely cause that in some people.

If you experience any kind of tummy ache after drinking French Press coffee, try toning down the amount of caffeine in your coffee and switch to a different brewing method. You might find it easier on your stomach!

What Are the Side Effects of French Press Coffee?

Other than the possibility of diarrhea, French Press coffee can also cause other side effects. These include increased heart rate, sleeplessness, and in some cases, anxiety or jitters due to its high caffeine content.

Additionally, drinking too much French Press coffee can lead to dehydration and constipation in some people. This is because caffeine is a diuretic and can lead to dehydration if you’re not drinking enough water alongside your coffee.

What Kind of Coffee Won’t Give Me Diarrhea?

french roasted coffee

If you’re after a coffee that won’t give you diarrhea, then you should opt for brewed versions of coffee such as drip makers and single-serve machines. These brewing methods use filters to minimize the oils, reducing your risk of developing GI distress.

If that doesn’t work, then try low acid, low caffeine, or decaffeinated coffee and here’s why. Lowering your caffeine intake can help prevent GI distress, and decaf contains only trace amounts of cafestol.

Does Coffee Get Stronger the Longer It Steeps?

fresh coffee that's not over roasted has least oil

Yes, French Press coffee does get stronger the longer it steeps. This is because the coffee grounds are in direct contact with hot water for a longer period of time, allowing all those delicious flavors and oils to dissolve into the liquid.

However, it’s worth noting that steeping your coffee for too long can result in an overly bitter cup of coffee so it’s important to get the timing just right.

That said, if you have a sensitive stomach and are prone to diarrhea after drinking French Press coffee, then it’s best to avoid steeping it for too long. The longer the steep time, the higher your risk of developing GI distress due to increased caffeine levels and oils content.


In conclusion, French Press coffee can cause diarrhea in some individuals due to its high caffeine content, the presence of cafestol, and/or the risk of bacterial contamination.

If you’re experiencing tummy aches after drinking French Press coffee like I have, try reducing your caffeine intake or switching to another coffee brewing method that uses paper filters.

Make sure to clean your French Press thoroughly and use boiling water to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.

Listen to your body and drink coffee in moderation.