Brewing Different Types of Coffee Filters

Different Types of Coffee Filters

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What type of coffee filter you should use is a hotly debated topic among coffee lovers! A lot of people think that the material of the coffee filter makes a big difference in the flavor of the finished cup of joe. Some people say they can even taste the difference between coffee made with bleached paper filters and unbleached paper filters.

While we don’t think there’s that much of a difference between bleached and unbleached paper filters, we do think that the type of coffee filter you use can affect the flavor of your coffee. A basket filter will produce different results than a cone filter, just like a metal filter will produce a slightly different tasting cup than a paper one.

And flavor isn’t the only consideration when choosing your filter. Certain types of coffee filters are better for the environment than others. When you use a paper filter, you have to throw it away. But if you take just a little more time in the morning to rinse out a metal filter, you’ll be saving tons of paper from going into the landfill each year. 

Today we’ll be going over the pros and cons of each filter so you can choose the right one for you. Let’s jump right in!

Material

The material of your coffee filter can affect everything from the taste of your coffee to your cholesterol levels. Keep reading to find out why!

Unbleached Paper vs Bleached Paper

Ever gotten a brown paper bag from the grocery store similar to this? That’s how unbleached paper looks. To get paper to a crisp, clean white color, you have to bleach it with either chlorine or oxygen.

Bleaching paper with chlorine is worse for the environment than bleaching it with oxygen, but neither method will change the flavor of your coffee.

Using an unbleached paper filter won’t change the flavor of your coffee —all paper coffee filters will pretty much give you the same results. The only thing you should watch out for is the thickness of the paper.

Thin paper filters allow water to flow through them too quickly and can negatively affect your brew. Make sure you choose high quality paper filters, like these from Rockline—they tend to be thicker.

Metal

Some people say that coffee made with paper filters have a “papery” taste.

For most people, rinsing the paper filter with water before they put it in their coffee maker is enough to make that taste go away. But some people with super sensitive palates may still detect it. For those people, a metal filter might be a better choice.

Metal filters, like this one from GoldTone, are better for the environment, but they take a little more work to clean. You’ll have to rinse yours out after each use and put it through the dishwasher every now and then to keep it clean.

But we think the extra work is worth it! Metal filters produce a cup of coffee that has more richness and body than paper filters. They allow more of the oils from the coffee beans to make it into your cup. Paper filters absorb a lot of the oils in the coffee and produce a cup with lighter body and flavor. The oils in coffee are super important!

The only drawback of metal filters is that they don’t absorb and remove as much cafestol from the coffee beans, a compound that has been shown to elevate cholesterol levels.

So if you’re concerned about your heart health (aren’t we all?), paper filters or cloth filters might be a better choice for you.

Cloth

Cloth filters, like these from Hario, aren’t as popular as metal or paper, but they’re a nice middle ground between the two. Cloth doesn’t remove as many of the oils from coffee as paper filters, so it produces a cup with a richer, bolder flavor and more body.

Because cloth is absorptive just like paper, it removes a lot of cafestol from the coffee. So if you’re concerned about your heart health but still want coffee with a fuller body and bolder taste, cloth might be a good option for you!

Nel drip coffee makers and siphon brewers both use cloth filters, so look into those brewing methods if you want to ditch your metal or paper filters for cloth.

Shape

There are two types of coffee filters that fit in most coffee makers—basket and cone filters. Which one you decide to go with can really affect the final flavor of your coffee. If we had to pick, we’d go with a cone filter, and here’s why.

Basket

Let’s start with the filter we wouldn’t choose—basket filters. They’re shaped kind of like cupcake liners. They have wide, flat bottoms that spread out the coffee much more than cone filters.

Because the bottom of this type of coffee filter isn’t tapered and spreads the coffee out so much, it can create an uneven extraction, especially in coffee makers that don’t have shower spray heads. If a coffee maker pours the water straight into the center of the filter, the water won’t reach the grounds in the sides of the filter, creating an uneven extraction.

That’s why we like to use cone filters.

Cone

Cone filters tend to be the favorite among coffee lovers. Cone filters are, as the name suggests, shaped like a cone! So the bottom of this type of coffee filter is much more tapered than the bottom of a basket filter, which is better for coffee brewing.

The grounds in a cone filter are less spread out, which makes it easier for the water to reach and soak all of them. This leads to a more even extraction and a better cup of coffee!

So really, it’s a no brainer—go with a paper or metal cone filter! Just make sure you buy cone filters that are compatible with your particular coffee maker, as they come in different sizes.

Size

Cone shaped filters come in a lot of different sizes, so it’s important to choose the right one based on what type of coffee maker you have.

If you have a small, single cup coffee maker (electric or non-electric), you should choose a size number 1 cone filter.

Number 2 size filters work with two to six cup electric coffee makers and one to two cup non-electric coffee makers.

Number 4 size filters work with 8 to 12 cup electric coffee makers and 8 to 10 cup non-electric coffee makers.

And finally, pick a size number 6 if you have a non-electric coffee maker, like a pour over, that makes more than ten cups.


That’s everything you need to know on how to choose the best filter for your coffee maker! Have you been using the right size for your preferred- pot?

Keep enhancing your coffee knowledge! Check out some addition Coffee Sesh articles like 3 Reasons Why Coffee is Good for You, Best Coffee Grinders of 2019, or 10 Vegan Coffee Creamers You’ve Never Tried!

This post is sponsored by AmazonFresh! Enjoy unlimited grocery shipping for only $14.99/mo! Sign up for a FREE trial here— exclusively for our Coffee Sesh Community.

Thanks for reading and learning about the different types of coffee filters! Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram for daily coffee content.

We’ll brew ya later! ☕️

Different Types of Coffee Filters

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Coffee Sesh

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Here at coffeesesh, our goal is to educate the coffee community on ways to better enjoy their favorite cup of coffee. From roasting techniques to brewing techniques & everything in between!

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