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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. Linda zarnett

    June 14th, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    I love my 2 cups of coffee every morning, it does jump start my whole body for the day. I was a 1 tsp. Sugar And cream drinker but several years ago I dropped the habit and added 1-2 tsp.of Saigon cinnamon (it doesn’t get gelatinous) and a couple dashes of turmeric to my cup of coffee. I didn’t lose weight , just a bad habit and I reap the benefits of the cinnamon and turmeric which satisfy my sweet tooth and stimulate my brain cells.

  2. Paige

    June 14th, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Great info! I had no idea lighter coffee is better for you and a French press actually has extra health benefits

  3. Leshara Lee

    June 14th, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    I use my Keurig to brew my coffee and I add French vanilla or hazelnut creamer!

  4. S Emory

    June 14th, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Wow, I’ve alwayshated the way coffee tasted and whenever I drank it, I had to load it with sugar and cream, or honey and cream. It never dawned on me that maybe because of the darker roast and the fact that the beans hadn’t been sustainably grown, were the reasons for the awful taste of black coffee. Now with this new information in your blog, I can give coffee a try again. And the giveaway would go perfectly well with my new found information and restart of coffee journey!!

  5. ShowiesAnn

    June 14th, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    I like the experience of coffee (and food). It’s a great pleasure to see others experience this also. The warmth of the mug pressed against your palms, the aromatic steam that rises to greet you, just before your sip. It relaxes my body and soul. I rarely miss the taste of coffee, but the whole shabang of it. Thank you for helping spread this joy! Have a blessed day!

  6. chelsea

    June 14th, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    We LOVE using our french press, we got hooked on it at a local restaurant and got rid of our bunn coffee maker! We paid a lot for that coffee maker, we used Christmas money and splurged on it. But we got rid of it and got a French press for WAY less and it was so much better coffee, we have used one for about a year now and will never go back! Best purchase ever! So easy to make it that way. I read that coffee makers get moldy inside cause of the little tubes and that really grossed me out too. I just recently purchased a cold brew french press for $10 and it is fabulous! My favorite way to drink coffee is with a little dark chocolate almond milk in it, yum! My husband just drinks his black, yum! We buy fair trade organic coffee we notice a big difference in how we feel, other coffees do really hurt our stomachs. We love a great cup of joe!

  7. Jim

    June 14th, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    You might as well sever an arm as ask me to quit my long standing coffee habit. It’s my comfort food and what gets me through each and every crazy day. I enjoy a pour over or french press depending on the bean but honestly most days its auto drip. I do make bullet proof coffee several days a week which consist of cinnamon, butter, MCT oil, Cacao and a splash of coconut milk, which makes a frothy delicious cappuccino like beverage. I do try to support fair trade practices and source my beans from small reputable farmers.

  8. Rhonda

    June 14th, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    My favorite way to make coffee at home is with my French Press. It really is a simple way to brew. I love drinking my coffee black, but have been known to add cream or a touch of chocolate or peppermint.

  9. Derek Snyder

    June 14th, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Interesting to learn that light to medium roast coffee is healthier. I love dark roast coffee. This will be an interesting change for my pallette. I do prefer a good cup of joe from a French press. It is a cool ritual to drink coffee this way.

  10. Christy Webster

    June 14th, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    I like to use chocolate protein powder and sugar free creamer in mine.

  11. Charis

    June 14th, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    I’m recently and cautiously getting to like coffee. Drank my first real cup of coffee with my husband during our 21st anniversary trip in Hawaii this past April. We visited Hula Daddy’s plantation and I was surprised that I didn’t gag on the straight up coffee, but we figured out it was a light roast. Since then, I occasionally enjoy a cup made in our single cup french press blended with butter or coconut oil, some cocoa and a scoop of protein powder.

  12. LC

    June 14th, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    I love to have my morning cup of coffee BY MYSELF at the dining room table looking outside at the birds. No kids, no husband, just me, my cuppa coffee and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for life.

  13. delilah demers

    June 14th, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    I enjoy a pour over every morning. I sit outside and enjoy the morning and lovely nature. Listen to the birds, look at the green garden. Remind myself how special life (and my coffee) is… I also add a bit of coconut milk to my coffee. Gives it a wonderful nutty taste and a tad bit of natural sweetening.

  14. Josh McComas

    June 14th, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I love making my coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil, teaspoon of cinnamon, and a couple packets of stevia! Yum!

  15. Tabitha Good

    June 14th, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    As a nurse who works the night shift, coffee can sometimes be a lifeline
    I currently brew coffee with a standard drip coffee maker but I recently found a French press that I’ve been waiting to try. I’ve also changed to lighter roast coffee and am enjoying the lesser acidity!

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