Coffee is a daily component for people all over the world. And while there are those that instantly turn to instant coffee to cater to their craving, there’s a large percentage of people who prefer a more professional approach. Should you find yourself converting into a coffee connoisseur and wish to turn a corner of your kitchen into a coffee station? There are a few things you will need to pay special attention to. While coffee and a coffee machine usually fill the top two spots on the list, there is an item that at times gets lost in the crowd.
We’re talking of course of coffee filters. The key element that is often assumed insignificant, can play a key role in controlling and altering the taste of your coffee. And so to ensure you don’t make any mistake too grave, we’re going to walk you through a complete guide to various coffee filters.
What is Coffee Filter
Before we jump into the deep end and wade through the world of coffee filters, let’s start at the first rung of the ladder.
What exactly is a coffee filter?
It is what stands guard between your coffee and your cup. A coffee filter allows you to relish the flavor of freshly ground coffee beans. While holding back unwanted bits that would otherwise prevent you from enjoying your beverage.
Coffee filters are usually a required element should you choose to brew your coffee using any form of drip, or pour-over coffee maker. Manual, semi-automatic and automatic machines following this method will all need a coffee filter to complete their work.
The first recorded use of a coffee filter dates back to over a century ago. Melitta Bentz; a German housewife, decided to solve one of the primary dilemmas that had been plaguing the global coffee community for a long time. Linen, which had been a common supplement for present-day coffee filters, couldn’t manage to keep out a lot of the loose grounds that would corrupt the taste of the coffee. The result was frustrated coffee drinkers digging into their brewed cups of coffee with spoons trying to trap errand grinds. Melitta made the smart move to replace linen with some blotting paper she had lying in her home. Quick to realize the importance of the act, the coffee filter was patented and Melitta; a company selling these coffee filters came into being.
The rest as they say is history.
Types of Coffee Filter
To understand the impact the choice of filter has, it is first necessary to comprehend the categories of coffee filters that exist. Broadly, coffee filters sit under one of two labels. They are known amongst the coffee community as cone filters and basket filters.
Cone Filters and Basket Filters
The cone coffee filter as its name suggests is shaped like a cone. It is the more mainstream option amongst the two and can be found in most households today. If you have a pour-over or drip coffee machine in your home, you’re probably familiar with these already.
Basket filters on the other hand are more commonly spotted in a barista or commercial setting. They can carry more coffee grinds at a single time. They do however at times fall short to the cone comparative. The flat base of the basket filter means the coffee grinds are more spread out. As a result, the water from the kettle interacts with the grinds for a shorter time when compared to a cone filter.
Reusable Coffee Filters
As the taste of and temptation for coffee spread, demand spread with it. People started noticing a rise in the waste that coffee filters cause. After all, they were thrown away as soon as the coffee was done brewing. Metal and cloth filters offered up as a sustainable solution to the problem. Even the composition of certain paper filters was altered to ensure they were reusable.
Over recent years, however, the coffee community has seen a rise in single-serve coffee drinkers. K-cups and single-serve pods are the callings of the day, and single-serve capsule filters have also made an appearance.
The coffee industry has thrived for centuries adapting over the years according to the wants and needs of its most loyal customers and with it the face of the coffee filter.
Disc Coffee Filters
A Disc filter as the name would indicate is a flat filter that mimics the appearance of a CD disc. While they aren’t the most common amongst their counterparts. There are those who chose to use them when the apparatus in the kitchen is either a French Press or an Aeropress.
The purpose of the filter is to weed out the tiny threads of coffee grinds that escape through the natural filter of the coffee maker. While the aim is to improve the experience, a lot of people opt-out. One of the reasons cited is the resulting waste created is not worth the extra layer of protection.
Bleached vs Unbleached Coffee Filters
If you’ve ever wished to learn more about coffee filters or simply enter the words into a search engine bar, chances are you’ve encountered the terms bleached and unbleached coffee filters. So what exactly is everyone talking about?
Bleached Coffee Filters
The name should have allowed you the chance to guess.
That’s right, these are the white paper filters. If you want the science behind it, let’s go into more detail. Paper is not white in its natural form. The filters get their color through a process that utilizes oxygen or chlorine. If you’re offered up a choice, opt for the oxygen bleached filters as they have fewer chemicals in them. Unfortunately, they also generate a little waste in the process of changing color. As a result, bleached filters are not the best friend of environment-conscious coffee drinkers.
The resulting coffee filter is the favored choice amongst most coffee drinkers. Reason? Some claim a cup of coffee brewed using this filter is crisper. Unlike its counterpart, it does not allow the taste of paper to leak into the flavor of the beverage.
Unbleached Coffee Filters
These refer to the raw and natural paper filters. Since they don’t undergo any additional process before coming to you, they are more environment friendly when placed across from their bleached counterpart.
It is advised when using a non-bleached coffee filter to first wet the paper and throw away the water collected. This is done before brewing for a multitude of reasons. It allows the paper to stick in place while warming up the collecting vessel. It is also meant to expel the water that contains any traces of the taste of paper.
Coffee Filter Buying Guide
If you’re someone who has ever done a little behind-the-scenes research before making a purchase, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a buying guide. There are certain boxes you’re going to want to tick as well as certain red signals you’re going to want to watch out for. Well, coffee filters aren’t secondary to anything since they stand as an element impacting the enjoyment of your daily cup of coffee. Take a few minutes to check what you need to watch out for before heading for the checkout line.
Sticking the Right Size
It might seem like an obvious issue but it remains an important one. It’s best to be sure you’re getting the right size of the coffee filter. Not just the right size to fit your coffee maker, but the right size of a coffee filter to suit your household needs. Most paper coffee filters allow you to choose between four primary sizes. If you live alone, or only need to brew a single cup of coffee at a time, the #1 is the right fit for you.
If however, you choose to brew for more than one person at a time, there are a number of options. The #2 coffee filters can hold enough coffee grinds to brew anything between two to six cups of coffee depending on whether your coffee maker is automatic or manual. Similarly, the #4 filters can cover anything between four to twelve cups. If you find yourself in a more social situation in need to brew for more than ten people, the #6 filters should meet your needs comfortably.
Global warming and climate change are a very present reality in our lives today. As a result, people have become more environmentally conscious. We’ve started watching our footprint so to speak in other words, you might say we’re wearier of the waste we leave behind. Paper filters are mostly single-use and the most wasteful of the bunch. If you are partial towards them for your morning cup of coffee, however. Try and opt for biodegradable ones which are safer for the environment.
If cloth coffee filters are more your jam, remember you will still need to dispose of them periodically (after roughly between 90 to 110 uses.) If you want to leave zero additional waste. A metal filter is simply the best fit for you.
As you’ve probably gleaned by now, coffee filters come in a wide variety of materials. Most pour-over and drip coffee makers will allow you the option to choose the one you prefer. An important thing to acknowledge is that the material used to filter the coffee at times plays into the taste of the end product in your cup. Paper filters for instance are used when you wish for a sharp cup of coffee with a clean finish. Paper filters acquire the talent of providing that to you by holding back oily seasoning when you brew.
Coffee blends that boast refreshing fruity flavors often hide those flavor bombs in the oily grinds. If you don’t want to miss out on them, a metal filter is a choice you should reach for. For a compromise between the two don’t be shy to reach for a cloth filter. They were used all over the world for the longest time. Once paper and metal filters entered the landscape they took a backseat for a little time. But now they’re back.
The least favorite part of every creator’s day; cleaning up after the art is created. A flawless cup of coffee is often no less than a tempting work of art. While you can opt for a coffee maker that is easy to clean, don’t forget to pay attention to the filter as well. A filter that is not cleaned properly after every brew can in turn begin to impact the taste of the coffee. It can also cause bacteria and other harmful and unnecessary things to grow and affect the functionality and life of the coffee maker.
Since the paper filters are disposable, all you really need to worry about is wiping down the place they sit. Most metal filters are still easy to clean as long as you clean them immediately after brewing. If you allow the coffee grinds to sit in the filter for long and possibly dry up, there are chances that they could get lodged in crevices difficult to reach. The cloth filters might be easy enough to clean however, it’s the storage department where you might hit a bit of a snag. Experts advise, you properly wash a cloth coffee filter after every use after which you should place them in water in the fridge. The purpose of the exercise is to aim to avoid mildew. If you don’t have a problem adhering to the proper care and maintenance. It can be a match made in heaven.
Money always matters. A coffee maker is often an investment in a household. While off-the-top metal filters are the most expensive when compared to cloth and paper. It is important to remember they also last the longest. While paper filters may seem the option that hits your wallet the lightest the notes start building up every time you need a fresh bunch. Though cloth filters can in theory be made at home if you want one that actually works well you might need to shell out a little. Not as much as its metal counterpart of course. But still, more than you would on bleached or unbleached paper filters.
At the end of the day remember to look at the big picture. Take into account the quantity of coffee brewed each day as well as how often the coffee maker is used. Don’t forget to set your site on the waste column. It will all come down to personal priorities.
Top 6 Coffee Filters
1. Melitta Coffee Filters
It should come as no real surprise to spot Melitta at the helm of our list. They are after all, as mentioned before, the people who introduced the modern world to coffee filters. The German-based company has been contributing quality to the coffee community for over a hundred years. They have used their time in the industry well. The people at Melitta are always working with the latest minds and technology to bring new and innovative offerings. For example, the 6658076 filter papers have patented Armazones that are in place. Each layer plays a role to guarantee you’re getting the best flavor out of your coffee every time you brew.
The best part, they do all this without punching a giant hole in your pocket. That’s right, the company has grown big enough and spread far enough that they manage to get you good quality for a good price. One of the factors that set them apart from their contenders, is the fact that the paper they use is thicker than what you would normally find on asking around. This means you don’t have to worry about the common concern of the filter paper tearing when the water is too hot or the grinds get too heavy.
Melitta offers coffee filters in a range of sizes allowing the option to choose whatever coffee maker you prefer. They have both bleached and unbleached paper filters. They even offer disposable filters composed of bamboo for the more environment-conscious amongst you.
2. GoldTone Reusable Basket Filter
Sliding in next on our list we have a reusable basket filter that has been making rounds in the coffee market over the last three decades. GoldTone offers up a reusable stainless steel micro-mesh filter. The micro-mesh filter is nonabsorbent. Which means it allows the flavor of your blend to seep through. While holding back any annoying residue that would otherwise interfere with the enjoyment of your cup. The basket is a universal size and fits most coffee brewers. It is large enough that you don’t have to worry about wet grinds overflowing and ruining your countertop.
An added color to the rainbow. These baskets are resilient and dishwasher safe. So don’t have to worry about cleaning them up after you brew. If your house isn’t home to a dishwasher. Simply placing the filter under some running water should do the trick just as well. For the reusable variety, the GoldTone Reusable Basket Filter is fairly light on your wallet.
Over the last decade, they even launched a reusable 1-Kup™ Filter. So if single-serve coffee is more your style. You can treat yourself to no while leaving practically zero waste behind.
3. If You Care Coffee Filter Baskets
The next name on our list should pique your interest and attention on account of its name alone. The If You Care filters call The Coffee Company their parent company. The Coffee Company has been dedicated in its service towards the global coffee community. It is therefore safe to assume they know what they’re doing with this offering as well.
The basket coffee-shaped filters they offer up are of the unbleached brown variety. So you’re guaranteed that no chemicals are going to interfere with the taste and texture of your beverage through the filters. The filter papers are certified compostable by Vinçotte. They can even be buried in your own backyard compost pit.
If you’re looking for value for money, you’ve hit the jackpot here. A single pack holds as many as one hundred filters. The filters fit into any coffee maker so you’re not going to be limited on that front at any time.
4. Filtropa Bleached Coffee Filter Papers
Any list would be incomplete without a special glance towards, and mention of the coffee filters from Filtropa. Although only a decade old, Filtropa has managed to flood the coffee filter market. They promise, and offer up a product that ticks all the boxes of international food and beverage quality standards.
Although these filters are bleached they boast of being both odor and taste-free. The filters are put through an oxygen-based process to gain their color. So don’t be worried about chemicals or adhesives of any sort. With a nod towards being environment-friendly, the filters are also biodegradable after use. The sturdy filters do not rip after coming in contact with water too hot, or under the pressure of too many coffee grinds.
Put the days of pinching pennies behind you. A single order will get you one hundred filter paper without breaking a sweat. These filters are available in a size #4. Which allows you to brew anything between six to eight cups. While the filters are designed in a manner that allows them to work well with a slew of coffee makers. They work best when paired with a Clever Dripper.
5. Barista Warrior
Creating your morning cup of coffee is often composed of patient and precise steps. There is a skill to it that is easy to learn and fun to master. However key elements are vital to helping you get things right. As discussed earlier the type of coffee filter used plays one such imperative role. And you can bet your bottom dollar, a filter christened the Barista Warrior is the right man for the job.
While there’s no denying this filter stands towards the higher side of the price scale when compared to its competition. It offers a dual-layer filtration method. The filter does have a rather long life span provided it is looked after properly. Cleaning and maintenance shouldn’t be too much of a concern. A quick wash under running warm water should do the trick. If you find the grinds getting stuck, a quick soak in a mix of warm water and distilled vinegar every two weeks should ease things up.
The cone-shaped filter can be worked off a number of types of coffee makers including the Hario V60 and Chemex coffee makers. The people behind the scenes are so sure you’re going to love what they’re offering, they’re even providing a 6-month manufacturer’s guarantee. If you want to feel fancier. You can even treat yourself to the Gold Titanium Coated one.
6. AeroPress filters
- Aero Press Aerobie replacement Coffee filters, 1400 count
We cannot possibly wrap up this list without setting aside a short shout-out to the AeroPress filters. There’s no denying the AeroPress paper filters have a few naysayers. Their logic dictates the coffee maker comes with a filter of its own.
However, there is a cult following that applauds these filters in their accuracy at catching the stray grinds that pass through the attached filter. It is a common occurrence that is hard to ignore. After all, no one really likes having to pick errant coffee escapees in the middle of enjoying a refreshing cup of coffee. Given that the filter papers are designed by the brand itself you are guaranteed they will fit and work with perfect accuracy. And since they are created for this particular purpose, they won’t work on a coffee maker of any other sort.
It is important to note there are permanent metal filters available in the coffee market through other companies that can do the same job. However if you’re thinking of jumping ship to them on the basis of environmental concerns, Don’t. These AeroPress paper filters are decomposable after use. So with a clear head and conscious pick one that suits your tastes and needs.
At the End of the Day
The coffee filter is a participant in the coffee-making process that is often taken for granted. For many, it simply stands as a necessary step one has to go through in order to get to the reward in the cup. As a result, for some, not a lot of thought is put into the action. There are others however who choose to understand the impact of the choice of every element that goes into making a cup of coffee. Hopefully, by now you do too. Don’t be intimidated by the choices you need to make. Simply understand the reasons and everything will be grand.