You can never enjoy that smooth cup of joe that keeps you energized all day long without there being coffee filters since you would be chewing the bitter coffee grounds in every sip.
A coffee filter is a brewing utensil made of different materials to trap coffee grounds and allow the liquid coffee full of rich flavor into your coffee jug.
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- How a Coffee Filter Works
- Types of Coffee Filters
- Coffee Filter Shapes
- Coffee Filter Sizes
- Best Metal Coffee Filter
- Best Paper Coffee Filter
- Coffee Filter Substitutes
- Brand-Specific Coffee Filters
How a Coffee Filter Works
Coffee brewing involves passing hot water through coffee beans to dissolve the coffee compounds and absorb their rich taste, aroma, and dark color. Coffee filters are used at the end of the process to stop the grounds from getting into your cup of coffee. This happens with ease since coffee filters are thin and porous enough to let fluids pass through while keeping away tiny coffee grounds, and other unwanted particles.
Types of Coffee Filters
The type of filter you decide to use influences the flavor of your brew. This is because the filter material you use determines what gets into your cup of joe and what is left out. There are various types of coffee filters with the most common being; metal, paper, and cloth.
Metal Coffee Filters
Coffee made using a metallic coffee filter has a different taste because they have larger pores. They allow small grounds and substantial natural oils to pass through them. Some residuals and particles will pass through them, but they are barely noticeable. Some people find the extra particles, oils, and residues giving a richer taste and a fuller mouthfeel. Some flavors are felt only when oils are present.
Cleaning and maintenance of a metal coffee filter can be a little tricky. For easier maintenance, consider doing daily upkeep and regular deep cleaning. After daily usage, toss out the old coffee grounds and wash the filter with soap and water. If there are grounds trapped in the filter holes, wipe or pluck them out to avoid clogging. Daily washes help prevent a lot of build-ups, while regular deep cleaning is to ensure that your coffee is always fresh.
Here are some of the ways you can do a deep cleaning:
- Boil your filter in white vinegar and water solution and leave it to soak overnight.
- Use coffee filter cleaners such as urnex espresso machine cleaning powder to clean your filter.
- Soak your filter in soap, citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and water for around four hours.
After any of the above methods you choose to use, thoroughly rinse, and wash your filter with soap and water as the last step.
Paper Coffee Filters
Paper coffee filters are more popular and can be found in any grocery store on the coffee aisle.
The filters are used in a drip coffee maker. They are tightly woven and highly absorbent, sieving most oils and ground residues for a cleaner coffee drink. Coffee filters come in basket, and cone shapes.
They come in different sizes, which are compatible with various coffee makers. They are available in different colors white, bamboo, and natural brown.
How to use a paper coffee filter
Depending on the brewing method, there are multiple ways to use a paper coffee filter. The most common way is using a coffee filter with a coffee maker since they are both readily available and affordable in many stores. Procedure:
- Set your coffee machine, pour water in the tank, and set the paper filter in the removable compartment.
- Put coffee grounds in the filter paper.
- Return the compartment and start brewing.
Using a paper filter in the pour over method.
- Get a cone paper filter and a cone, and boil your water separately.
- Place your filter in the cone and wet it with the hot water and place it in your coffee jar.
- Put coffee grounds in the filter, pour in hot water, and allow it to dissolve compounds from the coffee grounds as it passes through and gets collected in the coffee jar.
Materials used to make paper coffee filters
Paper coffee filter papers are made of a paper that weighs 0.22 pounds per square meter. Some are bamboo based. They type of used influences the brewing process since the filter pore size determines what goes through it.
Colors of the paper coffee filters
There are white and brown coffee filters, although the color of the filter does not affect the quality of the coffee. The color of a filter paper is determined by whether it is bleached or not.
Bleached coffee filters are white since they undergo a manufacturing process, which makes them look white. Natural paper is not white, but it is added bleaching agents such as chlorine or oxygen to make them acquire the white color. Papers bleached using oxygen are a better quality compared to those bleached using chlorine. Generally, bleached coffee filter papers are not environmentally safe. When discarded, they pollute the environment due to the bleach added in the manufacturing process.
Unbleached coffee filters are brown, natural, and environmental friendly since there are no chemicals added to them. However, when using an unbleached filter, you can end up with some taste of the paper in your coffee. To avoid a papery tasting cup of coffee;
- Drape the filter in its compartment.
- Pour hot water to soak the filter.
- Discard the water and use the filter to brew.
Cloth Coffee Filters
Cloth coffee filters are the least common, although they have many benefits. Like paper filters, they filter all the coffee grounds and particles, but they let oils which give great flavors pass through them. A coffee brew from cloth filters is creamy and without grains or particles, providing a middle ground between metal and paper filters.
They have tedious upkeep since they need to be washed between brews. They should not also be left to get to dry or too moist. They can be used for several brews before you start losing the natural coffee taste due to pervasion of tiny grounds and oils.
Coffee Filter Shapes
Coffee filters come in a basket, cone, and disk shapes for compatibility with different brewing styles. The shape of the filter plays different roles, just like the type of materials.
Basket Coffee Filters
Basket shaped coffee filters are the most common with a large shape like that of a cupcake wrapper. They are made to fit almost all models of basket coffee makers. They are characterized by a wide opening and a wide flat bottom.
Cone Coffee Filters
Cone shaped coffee filters are ideal for pour over brewing machines. They come in various sizes, one to ten, which are compatible with different types of coffee makers. For instance, size No. 1 used in one cup coffee machines, and size No. 6 is used in ten cups coffee machines.
Cone vs. basket coffee filters
The taste and flavor of your coffee is bound to change if you move from a cone-shaped to a basket filter. This is because a change in the shape of the filter changes the flow of water through coffee grounds and the transfer of coffee molecules into the water.
Disk coffee filters
Disk shaped filters are very suitable for AeroPress machines, but they can also be used in fresh press brewers. They are significantly smaller than both cone and basket filters, but they come in different sizes, which are compatible with various coffee makers.
Coffee Filter Sizes
Coffee filters should be selected according to the number of cups you want to brew.
Cone filters are classified in numbers, according to the amount of coffee you want to brew. They are sized according to the number of short (small-sized) five or six ounces' cups. For instance, size No.2 is used to brew four to six cups, and size No. 4 is used for eight to twelve cups, etc.
Basket coffee filters are made with higher standards. For brews less than six cups, you are supposed to use small size basket filters.
Best Metal Coffee Filter
Bartelli Paperless Coffee Dripper Brewer
- Easy to clean
- Does not absorb essential oils
- Designed to fit most cups
- Easy to use
- Suitable for pour over coffee or French press
Bartelli coffee filter is a laser cut food-grade stainless steel double filter that ensures that no ground residues and particles get their way into your cup. It is durable and the perfect alternative to paper filters, which take away oils and nutrients from your cup. The pour over coffee filter does not absorb essential oils and nutrients from coffee beans, giving you a very clear and flavor filled brew every time.
The metal filter is made to fit on different cups, mugs, pots, and carafes. The filter is reusable and easy to cleanup. It is also safe to wash it in the dishwasher. It measures 5.2 by 4.2 by 5.5 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces.
Brewologist Pour Over Coffee Dripper
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Easily Portable
- Fuller flavored coffee
The Brewologist Pour Over Coffee dripper gives flavorful cups of coffee, making it the best choice for coffee aficionados. This is because it allows more oils and aromas to escape from the coffee beans and into your cup, giving a more complex and delicate brew. It also gives you control over every brewing variable and the entire brewing process to allow you to make exactly what you want.
The filter is reusable and is made of BPA free food-grade stainless steel, which eliminates paper waste and environmental pollution. It is double walled, giving it smaller pores that allow smaller and fresher brews. The fine mesh makes the double filter stop larger particles and residues from making their way into your cup.
The dripper is versatile and easily portable, making it a great camping or outdoor companion. It is user-friendly and easy to cleanup. It measures 4.49 by 5.2 by 2.99 inches and weighs 5 ounces.
Osaka Stainless Dripper Paperless Reusable
- Double layered
- Cone shaped
- Designed to fit most carafes
- Easy to use
Osaka Stainless Dripper is a cone filter from food-grade stainless steel, which is highly durable and can withstand high temperatures. The dripper does not absorb any nutrients and essential oils like paper filters. This serves to give richer, and flavor filled coffee. It consists of a double filter made of laser cut tiny holes and a stainless steel mesh on top, which offers brighter coffee compared to other top brands.
The Osaka dripper has a rubber grip that enables it to fit on several different size carafes properly. The dripper is easy to use and removable for more natural cleaning. It has a large capacity to produce up to 12 cups of coffee. It measures 5 by 5 by 4 inches and weighs 0.634 ounces.
Altura Mesh Aeropress Stainless steel filter
- Stainless steel
- Ultra-slim for Aeropress
- Best used with finer grind sizes
- Ideal for travel
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
Altura Mesh filter is designed for Aeropress and made from food-grade stainless steel material. The mesh is slim and can be used in all Aeropress machines. The mesh is flexible and allows the passage of nutrients and healthy oil essentials for more vibrant and fuller flavors. It is the most durable and corrosion resistant metal filter.
The filter is excellent for traveling and outdoor purposes. It works well with finer grind sizes such as Turkish or espresso, which need less sleep time. It is also easy to use and clean since it is dishwasher safe.
The mesh filter measures 6 by 0.1 by 6 inches and weighs 0.32 ounces.
Mr. Coffee Basket Style Permanent Filter
- Permanent filter
- Basket style
- Compatible with all Mr. coffee 10 to 12 cups coffee makers
- Easy to use
Mr. Coffee basket style is a gold tone permanent filter compatible with all Mr. Coffee's ten to twelve cups coffee machines. It is ideal for all replacements, whether it is broken or stained. It measures 4.8 by 4.7 by 2.5 inches and weighs 1.6 ounces.
Best Paper Coffee Filter
Hario V60 Paper Coffee Filters Size 01 Natural Tabbed
- Cone shaped
- Single time use
- Size 01
- Fits 1 to 2 cups
- Fits size 01 dripper
Hario V60 is a cone shaped disposable one time use paper filters designed for pour over coffee makers. The package comes a hundred disposable branded filters. The ceramic coffee dripper is used to make a great single cup.
The filters are durable, easy to use, and easy to clean. They measure 7.09 by 2.09 by 8.27 inches and weighs 1.6 ounces.
Party Bargains Disposable K-cup Coffee Paper Filters
- Biodegradable paper
- Multiple cups use
- Keurig single serve
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
The party bargains are disposable filters designed for perfect use with your Keurig K-Carafe reusable filter cup. The filters are made of thick, 100% biodegradable paper, which allows the flavor to flow through without any residual grounds for smooth, delicious coffee. The Ekobrew filter can be used to make several cups in a row without a wash between uses. The paper filters are easy to use and clean up.
The excellent set of 300 filters comes to give exceptional value for your money since it can be stocked up for all occasions, and your favorite morning coffee routine. The box of filters comes sealed for freshness, and it is easy to store for future use. It measures 6.4 by 5.2 by 4.4 inches and weighs 4.9 ounces.
Disposable Coffee Filters 360 Counts Coffee Filter Paper
- Fits into all Kcups
- Effective filtration
- Thinner for better flow through
- Easy to cleanup
- Easy to use
- Bleach free oxygen cleansing
The imported German disposable coffee filters are suitable for all K-cup; solo fill, EZ-Cup, K-cup, Ekobrew, simple cups, etc. The filter is ideal for Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 single serve, and it is thinner with a better flow through.
The filter gives an effective filtration for an enriched and smoothened coffee taste. It is easy to use and clean up since there no mess or silting filter mesh. It is environmentally friendly since it uses bleach free oxygen cleansing instead of chemical residues. The disposable filters measure 2.17 by 2.17 by 1.18 inches and weigh 2.39 ounces.
Coffee Filter Substitutes
Imagine waking up to make coffee only to realize that you are out of filters. Disappointment and probably anger ensues, what a lousy way to start your day. Do not let the lack of coffee filters ruin what would otherwise have been a great day. There are so many things around you that you could use in the place of a filter and still end up with a great cup of joe. Pull any of the following hacks, and you will never go without coffee again.
Paper Towels & Napkins
The substitution of paper towels or napkins in the place of a filter is the most common brewing hack. The napkins have almost the same effect as paper filters. However, the paper towel could have some unhealthy chemicals if you can always buy brown, unbleached paper towels since they are safer and better than the bleached and decorated varieties.
You use the paper napkin the same way you apply your filter. Pick the paper napkin or towel, fold it, and drape it to completely cover the compartment occupied by your filter papers. Add coffee grounds and start brewing just like you do during your regular morning routine.
A clean cloth napkin or dishtowel can make an excellent improvised filter. However, coffee leaves stains on clothes; therefore, choose a napkin and towel that you will solely use for this purpose only.
Spread the napkin in the space where your coffee filter sits. Smoothen it out then add coffee grounds. Pour water over the grounds and let it run through like you usually do with your coffee filters. Once you are done making your cup of coffee, be sure to clean the napkin or towel.
Reusable Tea Bags
The reusable tea bag method is not as common. If you brew tea as equally as you brew coffee, you will most probably have reusable tea bags. Despite not being common, you will agree with me that it is the most creative of all the alternatives, and it as well as your filters do.
Carefully pour a few tablespoons of coffee grounds into the tea bag. Get a mug and fill it with hot water. Deep the tea bag into the cup of water and make it sit for four to five minutes. If you are a keen coffee drinker, you can let it sit a little longer, and there you have your cup of joe.
Lack of reusable teabag should not worry you since you can use a piece of paper and a string to filter your coffee grounds. Fold the piece of paper into half, add coffee grounds and tie the paper shut using the piece of string, and repeat the same process.
Fine Mesh Sieves
A mesh sieve is one of the common kitchen supplies, especially for people who do a lot of baking. The fine mesh can also be used as a coffee filter. The mesh is easy to use, and it makes some really great and richly flavored cup of coffee.
In a glass cup, pour enough amount of coffee grounds that you need for your morning drink. Measure enough amount of water and pour it over the grounds in the glass cup. Stir the mixture once and steep it for around five minutes. Take the fine mesh sieve over your favorite mug and pour the coffee mixture through. You will get your full-bodied cup of coffee, and the coffee grounds particles will remain trapped in the mesh.
Toilet paper works equally well, too, but you need to be a little more careful with it due to its general softness and tenderness. It is easy to fold it to fit appropriately in the coffee machine. However, while adding coffee grounds, be more careful since it can fall apart and mess up your brew. Once you have added coffee grounds, proceed to brew your coffee just like you usually do.
Brand-Specific Coffee Filters
There are coffee making machines, which have branded and dedicated paper filters, instead of using any common paper filter. Such brands include AeroPress filters, Chemex filters, and Hario V60.
AeroPress coffee machines are known to use AeroPress branded filter papers. The coffee makers have a metal replacement, which is preferred by some people. AeroPress paper filters are designed solely for AeroPress and not any other brewer, and they are fully compostable.
Filters made for Chemex have more weight compared to other brands. The extra weight enables them to remove the finest particles and work almost the same way cloth filters work. However, Chemex filters do not allow essential oils and fats to go through them. The filter is cone shaped and it allows water through coffee grounds to make a clear brew.
Hario V60 filters
Hario V60 uses a uniform cone shaped filter that has one large hole made at the bottom of the filter. These branded paper filters are produced from natural pulp, and no chemical compounds are added during the process of making them. Filter papers with other shapes, such as trapezoid filters, could be used as an alternative. However, the manufacturer categorically states that "delicious coffee" can only be made using their branded filters.
Does The Type Of Coffee Filter I Use Affect The Taste Of My Coffee?
Like we have said above, metal filters and paper filters will make coffee drinks that have very different tastes and characteristics. This can have an influence on the type of filter you will want to use.
Metal filters will not remove most of the essential oils which will end up in your coffee. The oils are known to give a flavor that is more defined and creamy compared to paper filters. If you love a fully flavored cup of coffee with a more defined flavor, then a metal filter is what you should consider buying.
Paper filters tend to remove all the oils and nutrients from your coffee, giving a less flavored cup of coffee that is usually lighter and clearer, which is okay for some coffee lovers.
Additionally, when using paper filters, you can end up with coffee that tastes like paper. You can prevent the paper taste by washing out the filter paper using hot water before adding coffee grounds.
Which Coffee Filters Is More Expensive; Paper Or Metal?
A metal filter is more expensive on the front end compared to paper filters. Paper filters are less expensive per pack; however, you must keep restocking them when exhausted. If you drink a lot of coffee you will need more filters, and you will spend more in the long run. Despite being expensive on the front end, a metal filter is more economical, and that is what you should consider going for.
Can My Coffee Filters Get Expired?
Filters generally are not made with an expiry date. If you bought your filters in bulk and had them just stored for a long time and probably not using them, there are many ways in which you can use them instead of disposing them. You can use them as disposable snack bowls for pretzels, nuts, or popcorns. Filter papers do not have lint, and they can be used as excellent gadgets' screen cleaners. They can also be used to remove sediments in the last pour from a bottle of wine.
Can I Use A Paper Towel If I Do Not Have A Coffee Filter?
Yes, you can. As we have seen, paper towels can be used to substitute coffee filters. Take the paper towel and set it in the space for a filter, add coffee grounds into the paper towel and slowly pour hot water over the grounds and collect the liquid in a mug or coffee jar.
Is It Okay To Use A Coffee Filter More Than Once?
Most coffee filters are made in such a way that you can use them multiple times before they stop producing high quality coffee. All they need is regular cleaning and proper maintenance. Every time you finish brewing, ensure that you immediately rinse your coffee filter and leave it to dry. If you do not want to keep replacing your filters, get a metal filter you can use for many years.
Your coffee taste and preferences often determine the choice of a coffee filter to use. If you love a much more defined and bold cup of coffee and are not bothered by what does not get filtered from your coffee, consider going for a metal coffee filter. However, if you would instead take a lighter coffee cup with a brighter taste, then paper filters will work for you.