Cholesterol, from the Greek chole- and stereos (solid) followed by the chemical suffix -ol for an alcohol, is an organic molecule. It is a sterol, It is an essential structural component of animal cell membranes that is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity. In addition to its importance within cells, cholesterol also serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D.

Coffee contains two lipids which raise LDL cholesterol: kahweol and cafestol. From this perspective, concerned coffee drinkers can choose brewing methods that filter most of the coffee oils. Methods that can filter out coffee oils are all techniques that use paper filters.

The evidence connecting foods high in cholesterol and heart disease is not conclusive. Initial interpretation of the data have lead the medical world to recommend avoiding foods containing high amounts of cholesterol. Later on this was reevaluated and is now believed that these foods might not have the impact that was previously thought.