Brewed Coffee Guide

Different Types of Coffee Filters

April 04, 2022 | Kurt Parker

disposable coffee filters

When it comes to drinking good coffee, you can get lost in finding the right beans and which brewing method to use. These two are crucial to your coffee experience, but there’s one more thing that’s often overlooked in the coffee-making process—the filter you use.

What’s in this article:

The coffee filter you use is indispensable to the whole coffee brewing process. Hence, we will discuss here that there are different types of coffee filter you should use.

Our team has purchased lots of coffee filters to examine and use to determine the best.


What is a Coffee Filter?

white coffee filters for brewing coffee

A coffee filter is pretty straightforward—it filters your coffee. Once the hot water dissolves the coffee beans and flavor compounds are extracted, the filter will do its work. The coffee filter will separate the liquid from the ground as it traps grounds and other particles that shouldn’t be in your coffee.


The Different Types of Coffee Filters

The types of coffee filters available today depend on what it’s made of. Let’s explore each one of them, shall we? The three types of coffee filters are paper filters, metal coffee filters, and cloth filters.


Paper Coffee Filters

Probably the most common coffee filter available today is a paper coffee filter. It’s made of paper and you can also find ones that are made of bamboo. A paper filter is highly-accessible in a way that your local grocery and almost any grocery store has it.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that the quality of the paper filter has an impact on the brewing process, along with the pore size of paper coffee filters. Therefore, it’s likely that you will go through a trial and error stage with paper filters until you find the right one that suits your needs.

Moreover, with paper filters, there is also the color that might have caught your attention. Some paper coffee filters made of paper come in brown color, while some paper filters are white. The color is relevant to the bleaching process, which doesn’t affect the coffee quality. However, unbleached paper coffee filters are more eco-friendly; which are the brown ones, the natural color of paper.

This type of coffee filter is used in drip coffee makers. It is a highly-absorbent filter and tightly woven that ensures most of the excess oils and grounds will be eliminated. As a result, you get cleaner coffee liquid with paper filters.

A paper filter is available in two shapes: cone and basket. Moreover, paper filters come in various sizes to ensure compatibility with various coffee makers.

Finally, keep in mind that paper filters aren’t reusable, which means you need to keep buying them. You need to stock paper filters regularly, which makes this type of filter less environmentally friendly. Fortunately, you can find compostable paper filters that are friendlier to the environment. There are also now a lot of brands that offer eco-friendly paper filters you can buy on the market. Indeed, paper filters are very popular today.


How to Use a Paper Filter

Depending on the brewing method you use, there are various ways you can use this type of filter. The most common is using it with a coffee maker, in which the coffee filter is placed in the pull-out compartment where beans are placed.

You can also use it for pour-over, which calls for a cone-shaped paper filter. The filter is placed inside the code.


Metal Coffee Filters

People who want to extract more from their coffee often prefer a metal coffee filter. This type of filter comes with bigger pores, which means that it won’t block as much of the oils or small grounds of coffee. Still, some people prefer this because they believe that more natural oils and coffee grounds give more body to the coffee. As a result, they get a richer taste with metal filters.

The thing with metal filters is that you need to know how to clean them properly. As a coffee drinker, you’re aware that old coffee grounds should be thrown away immediately while coffee filters should be washed immediately. Doing so can prevent build-up of leftover coffee grounds. Aside from cleaning the coffee filters every day, you also need to clean metal filters every month to help keep your coffee fresh.

There are many brands that offer a metal filter. You need to be mindful of the quality of the metal filter that you are buying, especially if it’s your first time. If you are buying a metal filter online, make sure to read reviews. This will also help you ensure that the metal filter will work with your coffee maker.


Cloth Coffee Filters

The third type of coffee filter is one that is made of cloth. It is the least common as well, and it’s actually a cross between metal and paper when it comes to how it filters the coffee. It can capture all the coffee grounds like a paper coffee filter, but it can allow more oils to come through like a metal coffee filter. As a result, you get a rich cup of coffee minus the particles.

It’s safe to say that a cloth coffee filter is a good middle ground between paper and metal filters. When it comes to maintenance, you need to wash a cloth coffee filter between every brew but you shouldn’t let it become too dry or moist. Additionally, this type of filter can only last for about 30 brews, and after that, you should replace them.


Coffee Filter Shapes

coffee oils in unbleached coffee filters

At this point, you probably have a choice of coffee filter material, but that’s not the only thing you should consider when looking for coffee filters. You should also be mindful of the shape.

The cone is a popular coffee filter shape and is a favorite for many. A standard cone shape looks like a party hat, while the other one comes with two sides tapered into a shorter line.

For those who have a manual coffee machine, you can use the standard cone shape, while the second is usually used for automatic brewers.

Another shape of filters is the basket that is shaped like cupcake liners with folds around the sides, or the other one with smooth-edged buckets. With the wide, flat bottom of the basket filter, it can spread out the coffee more, which can cause the extraction to be uneven.

Next, there is the disk, which is used for an Aeropress, which is smaller than the coffee filters we mentioned above.


How to Know the Right Size of Coffee Filter

reusable metal filter or basket filters

For the most important part, you need to be sure that the coffee filter of your choice will work properly with your coffee brewing method. That’s why you need to know the right coffee filter size. Sizing up the filter you need will depend on the machine you use. A small filter works best for coffee makers that can only produce less than six cups of coffee. On the other hand, you can use a regular-sized filter for bigger machines, which can hold more than six cups of coffee.


Alternatives to Coffee Filters

Did you know that there are alternatives to the coffee filters we listed in this post? A direct alternative is a paper towel coffee filter or you can also use toilet paper. If you’re a cloth filter user, you can use a spare cloth instead, such as one made of muslin or a fine grain cheesecloth that is dense enough for the material to trap the grounds while you get the full flavor of your coffee. Additionally, you can use a clean sock and hold it over a pot or mug.


Other Things to Know About Coffee Filters

brew coffee filters affect taste

Here are some other things you should know about coffee filters:

–      You can compost a coffee filter, and the decomposition can be fast, especially if the filter is buried.

–      You can reuse most coffee filters several times before the quality of coffee is compromised. Make sure you rinse them immediately and leave them to dry.

–      Coffee filters don’t have an expiration date.

–      Coffee filters affect the taste of your coffee, in which the quality and shape of the filter you use play a significant role.

–      You can use coffee filters to filter water as well, specifically water that is dirty and on different coffee brewing temperatures.


The Bottom Line..

coffee filter substitutes for coffee brewer

When it comes to choosing the right coffee filter, it all comes down to the brewing method and your flavor preferences. By determining these two, you will be able to choose the right filter for you. Whether paper, cloth or metal filters, this information will help you find the right one for you.

For more tips on how to brew delicious coffee and choose the right stuff you need, read our guides!

We also got a review for the 5 cups coffee maker that is good for the big families and for your offices.

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