March 17, 2021

The Coffee Filter

By Scott Thomas
Image of pouring hot water into a paper filter filled with ground coffee.

Most coffee brewing devices utilize a filter to keep the grounds from infiltrating your cup of coffee. 

Coffee filters come in different shapes and sizes and are made from different materials.  Some devices have built-in filters.  But, did you know that the coffee filter can affect your brew quality and flavor?

Let us discuss the filter most people are familiar with … paper filters. 

Most of you have seen those wavy, flat bottom filters used in automatic drip coffeemakers.  Today paper filters come in different shapes (cones, funnels, discs) to fit particular devices and are used to trap finer grounds and oils. 

Regardless of which device you choose, paper filters should be rinsed with hot water prior to use.  Why you ask?  “Wetting” the paper filter improves the filter’s function by creating a seal between the filter and the wall which regulates air flow, as well as rinses away the papery taste of the filter. 

There are also permanent filters. 

These filters may be made from metal, ceramic, or cloth.  All permanent filters will allow more grounds and oils through than a paper filter and will influence the brew flavor. 

Permanent filters should be cleaned between uses to remove residue buildup.  It is recommended that cloth filters be boiled prior to use to sanitize the filter and then again, every couple months.

Have you tried other filter types beyond the typical paper filters? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.

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