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I’m Jen Hansard, mom of two, ultra runner and lover of green smoothies, coffee & tacos. I took my family's health into my own hands while broke and without health insurance...and have helped 1 million+ other families along the way.

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How to make healthy coffee (and actually enjoy it)

Just like I believe in a daily green smoothie, I also believe in a daily ritual of healthy coffee to kick start the day. Coffee’s not just a caffeine boost, but an opportunity to infuse a variety of health benefits into your daily routine. Not all coffee is created equal… and it’s starts with the beans. 

I learned a lot about beans and the impact they can have on farmers, soil and health benefits from Raj Jana, founder of JavaPresse, a small-batch coffee company. We were at an event in New York City together a few weeks ago and I had a great conversation about morning routines with smoothies and coffee. (go figure, right?!) Java Presse has a coffee subscription service and created a special offer for only SGS Rawkstars where you get a FREE burr grinder when you sign up right here. You pretty much great coffee and a great grinder for just $20… it’s an insane deal.

Yet that’s not why I am blogging today. I really want to take you on a deep dive into what I learned from Raj about how we can get the most out of our daily cup of coffee by making it even healthier. 

A hot mug of coffee isn’t just any drink for most of us—it’s the launch pad for each day. And yet, we often treat our morning coffee like an indulgent treat, rather than an opportunity to start each day with a healthy, life-enhancing habit.

I also am trying to be more intentional with my entire morning routine. Enjoying a cup of coffee while reading a good book has been a recent experience for me. Right now I’m reading Rachel Hollis’ book, Girl Wash Your Face and feel like she’s been inside my head and talking right to me. You should read it if you want a good laugh and good “wake up and start living your life” pep talk from a new friend. 

Back to my point: Your morning mug can be so much more flavorful, rewarding, and healthy (if you choose to embrace it!)  Here’s some tips on how you can do it:


1. Keep your coffee simple

I used to say “I like coffee with my half and half,” which was the truth. I would pour in the cream to make the coffee less bitter and much creamier. Over the years, I’ve transitioned from love for cream to grass-fed butter in my coffee… and the results are where it’s at! Removing loads of dairy from my coffee has helped with tummy troubles, acne and bloating. And the extra dose of healthy fats keep me satiated, create a creamy coffee and also kick start my digestive system. That’s all I need to make a perfect cup of coffee.

Maybe dairy never has been a thing… maybe it’s sweetener. Well, it’s time to remove the sweeteners, which are creating artificially energy at the sake of leaching nutrients from your body. It’s a short term win (happy energy) for a long term loss (weight gain, nutrient deficiencies). Try adding a dash of cinnamon or ground vanilla bean to naturally sweeten it.

Or, maybe even try drinking black coffee. According to Raj, this is the BEST way to get the most out of a cup of coffee. And yes, there is a way to do it without gagging from the bitterness or harsh acidic bite. Here’s how:

Buy specialty coffee and brew it the right way. A good specialty-grade bean ground fresh and made in a french press—bitterness? Gone. Gross acidity? Gone. It’s incredibly balanced and full of flavor on its own. No additives necessary.

2. Buy from the right farms and roasters

Not all coffee is grown equally. Buy from roasters who work with farmers focused on quality and sustainability. Did you know…

  • Commercial coffee is heavily treated with chemicals at the farm level
  • For a 100% pesticide-free coffee, buy from farmers obsessed with environmental sustainability

To ensure his beans are naturally grown and healthy as can be, Raj only sources coffees from farmers as excited about sustainability as he is—and they are almost always certified by an environmental organization.

By the time coffee beans have been extracted from the coffee cherry, roasted, and brewed into rich coffee, there’s hardly any chemical residue left from pesticides. However, especially with low-grade commercial coffee, many of the pesticides being used abroad are actually banned in the United States. This means there’s always a small chance you could be negatively impacted if one of these chemicals finds its way to your beans.

But here’s how you can easily avoid this risk: by buying naturally grown coffee.


Healthy coffee environmental certifications

There are a few environmental certifications you can look for to ensure your coffee’s grown naturally. These have strict standards about what kinds of chemicals can be used (making them a safe bet):

  • Certified Organic
  • Bird-Friendly
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • UTZ Certified

There is a potential downside to only sticking with Certified Organic coffee, however. Most coffee farms don’t have enough financial security to invest in that particular certification (which can be costly for these small, rural families). By only buying Certified Organic beans, you may unknowingly penalize incredible farmers that cannot afford the certification—so make sure you enjoy beans with some of the other less costly certifications mentioned above as well.


Our take on healthy coffee | Simple Green Smoothies

3. Go with the lighter roast

Light and dark roast coffees are both full of healthy nutrients.  Yet you’re going to reap slightly more benefits from coffees on the lighter side. To get the maximum health benefits, opt for a light to medium roast when you’re picking your next coffee instead of a darker Vienna or French roast.

Research has shown that light roasts have 10-15% more chlorogenic acid concentration than dark roasts.  This means this lighter coffee has a greater ability to reduce inflammation and maximize the efficiency of antioxidants. So while light roasts have only slightly more antioxidants than dark roasts, your body uses them more efficiently when paired with those chlorogenic acids. I am loving the Fresh Start coffee beans that Raj sent me for the coffee of the month— and if you order now you can get them too for June! 

By now, you can tell my love for coffee run deep (almost up there with a green smoothie!). Yet you have to make sure you’re drinking coffee a certain way to reap the health benefits. These tips will help ensure you’re maximizing those rewards and eliminating risks.


6 months of free coffee, a grinder, and a french press ($174 value)

JavaPresse is doing a giveaway exclusively for all you Simple Green Smoothies Rawkstars out there!

One lucky person will win:

  • 6 months of fresh, organic, coffee grown by sustainable-minded farmers (one bag a month)
  • 1 burr coffee grinder (most-preferred style of grinder to unlock rich flavors and freshness)
  • 1 french press (portable coffee brewing system)

To enter, all you have to do is scroll down and leave a comment below sharing your favorite way to make coffee from home!

The winner will be contacted on June 21 via email.


Use a French Press to make Healthy Coffee


Using a fresh press coffee system allows you to effectively extract essential oils from your favorite beans and deliver bold flavor into each cup of healthy coffee.



  • 50g (10 Tbs) Coffee Beans
  • 850ml (28 oz) Water


  1. Grind the coffee at a coarse setting just before brewing to preserve the freshness and flavors and pour into your press.
  2. Heat your water to boiling, then pour it over the grounds.
  3. Start a stopwatch.
  4. After one minute, take a spoon and gently submerge the grounds that have formed a ‘crust’ on the surface.
  5. After four minutes, press down the plunger, pour into a few mugs, and enjoy.


  • Standard pre-ground coffee is generally too fine for french press brewing and may get stuck in the mesh filter, creating a lot of resistance when you try to plunge.
  • After plunging the filter, make sure to decant all the coffee—otherwise it will slowly continue to brew and become bitter within the press.


  • Serving Size: 3

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  1. Kevin M

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    I buy my coffee from a local roaster (Coffee Times) where the beans are regionally sourced directly from the farms. I drink too much for a French press in the morning so its fresh ground, into my trusty drip coffee maker, and poured straight into my cup. Buying good coffee makes all the difference!

  2. Elizabeth

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    We add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda on top of the grounds before brewing to alkalize our coffee. Once brewed, most of the time I like my coffee just the way it is- black, pure, unadulterated- for that full-bodied yummy coffee taste mmmm. But sometimes I like to indulge myself with a few spoonfuls of cocoa mix stirred in… Don’t judge. =)

  3. Jamie

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Coffee is good anywhere. I know you said that the light roast is slightly better however I love the dark roast. I always buy organic coffee and grind it myself. Sometimes I use a french press and sometime a brewer. ( depending on the crowd). Great article I enjoyed reading it.

  4. Linda Lee

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks for al te good information. I would love to try grass fed butter in my coffe.

  5. Minda

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Since I’m preggo and limiting my coffee intake, a percolator is how I make my coffee the majority of the week because it’s so quick. On the weekends, I love French Press and chill leftovers for iced coffee. While I usually drink my coffee black, if I’m feeling fancy, a splash of pure maple syrup and almond milk is quite the treat!

  6. Jen Hansard

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Congrats on being prego!!!!!!! So much fun!!!! Love your plant-powered coffee style.

  7. Jolene

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    I make cold brew, which also cuts the bitterness. I have to do decaf though, my body canNOT handle caffeine. Thanks for the giveaway!!

  8. Lori

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    As a former coffee barista, I have tried coffee almost every way possible. I would love to try this coffee! I still enjoy my morning cup with a splash of half n half. 4 out of 5 kiddos enjoy a half cup while snuggling with us on the couch every morning before work and school. (Before our green smoothies of course!)

  9. Richard Vasconi

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    I make a pot of French Press coffee every morning. If I buy coffee that is finer grind, not course ground, I use the pour through method. Then add half and half.

  10. Donna

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Right now I am using a Keurig to make my coffee but I have always wanted to try a french press. I too put Kerrygold butter in my coffee and use Stevia as my sweetener.

  11. Sharon Lentz

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    When I want a good cup of coffee, I use an Aeropress and just brew one cup at a time. Thanks for the information. Hope to make lots of great coffee in the future!

  12. Amanda Campbell

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I’m a middle school teacher – coffee is my lifeblood during the school year! I usually brew at work, and my preferred method is a pour over funnel and a funky mug. I can drink it black, but I prefer a little bit of organic unsweetened almond milk. I can’t live without it on busy school day!

  13. Christine Lynch

    June 14th, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    My favorite is having a cup of coffee made especially for me with love from a friend or family member

  14. Suzanne Perry

    June 14th, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Double espresso coffee with my Breville machine with homemade almond milk / vanilla / pinch of salt in almond milk …cinnamon on top

  15. Cathy McCra

    June 14th, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    I use a Kurig, I like flavored coffee and drink it black. Would like to try something different.

  16. Bernie

    June 14th, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I’m currently using an aeropress and I love it but I dream of learning how to make great french pressed coffee and hosting brunches for my friends and family. I know a coffee is good when I enjoy drinking it black but sometimed i like to fancy it up with a dash of cinnamon and a splash of organic cream.

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