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Choosing the Right Coffee Filter: The Secret to Drip Coffee

Dave Carter

June 10, 2020

Coffee is a staple drink in many homes around the world. While there may be hundreds of ways to prepare coffee, the majority of drinkers still prefer the good old brew. It is one reason why various home coffee making machines and coffee filters are developed for different types of coffee beans. But did you know that choosing the best coffee filter can make a big difference in how your coffee tastes?

Back in the day, people do not care about coffee filters, as it can be confusing. There are various types, including metal, paper, bleached, and unbleached. There are also several sizes according to the kind of machine you use to make your brew. If you are using the Delonghi super automatic coffee machine, take note of the size and kind of filter it uses to purchase the right product.

Advantages of Using the Best Coffee Filter​

Advantages of Using the Best Coffee Filters

These days, coffee drinkers are no longer satisfied with the package of filters for espresso machines that you can get at the local grocery. It was cheap, but there were no other options back then. Fortunately, recent developments in all things coffee have provided enthusiasts with a range of options. Even the choice of the best coffee filters can be quite complicated for newbies in the field.

It can be quite helpful for those who are still discovering their preferred flavor profile to learn how filtering methods and materials can significantly impact the brew. For instance, the Chemex method produces a unique brew because they use a specific filter that is extra-thick; it won't allow the oils to pass through with your brew.

Do Coffee Filters Make a Difference?​

Avid coffee drinkers need to make important decisions when choosing the best high end coffee maker and the materials they use to make their coffee. There is some debate about how certain types of filters can impact the taste of the coffee produced in your espresso machine. Some people like using paper filters with their coffee makers as they feel that their brew tastes better. On the other hand, the use of permanent filters is being used widely by consumers these days.

Typically, coffee makers have a permanent filter. But if your machine does not have one, you can choose between buying paper filters or a permanent filter to make delicious coffee. You can try these first before you settle for the one that gives you the best brew for your taste.

How Your Filter Choice Affects Coffee Taste​

It is best to try various kinds with your coffee maker to have a sense of how different filters affect your coffee's flavor profiles. You can decide which one you like with your machine best when you have tried different options first.

Usually, metal filters have larger holes than paper filters. It is ideal to use if you want coffee granules to pass through. When you use metal filters, the brew produced will be darker in color, with a bolder taste, and have sediments at the bottom. On the other hand, paper filters are finer; thus, they trap granules betters. The brew your produce using coffee filters tend to be brighter and lighter in taste and color. It is more translucent than coffee made using metal filters.

Likewise, paper filters can be bleached and unbleached. Some drinkers feel that the unbleached filter lends a paper taste to their coffee. To reduce this taste, you can pre-wet the filter by pouring hot water through it before using it on your coffee machine.

The best type of coffee filter will be defined by your coffee machine and your taste preferences. You must also remember that even the best coffee makers should be clean to produce a tastier cup of coffee. Either you choose a bleached or unbleached filter, be sure to keep your small coffee maker clean.

What can be used instead of a coffee filter?​

Know What can be used instead of a coffee filter

In case you run out of filters, and your coffee machine requires that you use one, don't panic. There are several substitutes that you can use to carry you over until your next shopping day. These are your best options when you badly need a cup of coffee, but you already ran out of filters.

Napkins and Paper Towels - typical paper coffee filters are made with porous paper that allows hot water to pass through. Paper towels and napkins are made with the same intent; thus, they are ideal substitutes for coffee filters. You can simply shape a piece of your paper towel to fit into your coffee machine, and then you can start brewing your favorite cup of coffee.

Toilet Paper - Don't be embarrassed if you have to use this once you run out of coffee filters at home. It is easier to shape than napkins and paper towels, and they fit well into the filter cup. The material allows brewed coffee to pass through at a precise rate than the paper towels. Ideally, two-ply toilet paper is a better filter than one-ply.

Cheesecloth - this is another great alternative if you don't have a filter. However, it is less common to have this material than it is to have coffee filters. Cheesecloth is often called for in recipes, and it is loosely-woven cotton cloth. It is also available in extra fine to coarse grades, and the finer the grade, the better will it work as a coffee filter. If you have some cheesecloth at home, you can use it as an alternative if you run out of filter for your coffee machine.

Fine Cloth - a tightly sewn cloth also works well as an alternate coffee filter. It should have smaller holes than your usual coffee grounds to give you a great tasting brew. Just make sure that it is new or clean so that you won't have anything weird tasting on your coffee.

Wire Mesh Filter - If you're getting tired of constantly rolling up tissue or cloth to use as an alternative filter, you might want to purchase a metal filter instead. Newer machines have built-in metal filters, but they can be purchased separately as well. It is shaped to fit perfectly on your coffee machine and is made of fine stainless steel wire mesh. You can wash them and reuse them, so they are environmentally friendly to use.

Instant Coffee - having instant coffee at home is a great back-up plan during days when you can't brew your favorite cup of coffee due to various reasons. It allows you to enjoy the same caffeine goodness without the hassle of brewing or worrying about materials to use.

What can be used instead of a coffee filter?​

Paper filters and metal filters will give you coffee that tastes different from one another. It can affect the one you choose to use, especially when it comes to paper coffee filters.

The best coffee makers typically havea built-in metal filter that will not remove any of the cafestol from your brew. It will produce a brew with coffee oils; thus, you get a coffee that is richer and bolder. For those who like a fuller cup of coffee, a metal filter is an ideal choice.

On the other hand, if you have a small coffee maker, you might use paper filters to filter out the coffee. Using these will give you a lighter-bodied, but brighter flavored cup of coffee. Many coffee fans prefer this kind of brew, but there are still things to be considered when using paper filters.

In some cases, the brew can taste a bit papery when using certain types of part filter. Thus, there are now various filter brands that promise better-tasting coffee in every brew. You can try out these types of filters to discover the most suitable one for your coffee machine, grind, and taste preference.

Are Brown or White Coffee Filters Better?​

Anybody who has delved deeper into the world of coffee tasting and making may have been involved in debates about which kind of filter is better - the unbleached or bleached? For starters, you might just wonder if there is a difference.

Many coffee brewers are impressed by the use of unbleached filters, but more coffee drinkers also believe that bleached coffee filters produce better tasting brews. Some say there is no difference in the taste of the coffee produced, whether you use bleached or unbleached filters. So let's take a look at these types of filters and the differences between them.

Bleached or White Coffee Filters​

Type of Bleached or White Coffee Filters

Bleached coffee filters are paper that is processed to make them appear white. When you look at the natural paper, they are not as white as these bleached filters. Typically, the natural paper looks similar to those brown paper bags used in grocery stores. This type of filter undergoes a bleaching process that uses chlorine and oxygen.

Chlorine is typically used to whiten filters, but the resulting product is not considered as high quality as filters bleached with oxygen. If you want to use high-quality bleached filters, you should find one that is processed using oxygen rather than those that use chlorine.

Although many coffee drinkers prefer to use bleached coffee filters, these products are not good for the environment. The bleaching process is another step that is added in the way it is manufactured. Likewise, bleached filters can pollute the environment when they are discarded. On the other hand, oxygen bleached filters are a far better option. They are more environmentally friendly and believed to produce better-tasting coffee.

Unbleached Or Brown Coffee Filters​

Unbleached filters are the brown kind of coffee filters that are more natural and environmentally friendly. Generally, the paper has brown coloring, and they are bleached to look bright white. Unbleached coffee filters are not processed; thus, it is one less manufacturing step making it the preferred choice for pro-environment coffee drinkers.

On the other hand, using unbleached coffee straight from the pack to your coffee maker impacts the brew's taste. In some instances, the coffee you made will have a paper taste. To prevent this from happening, you can pre-wet your unbleached filter by allowing hot water to pass through it first. Place it in your coffee for machines and pour water to wet the whole filter. Then discard the water before you brew your coffee.

These steps will help prevent the taste of paper from your brewed coffee. By doing these steps, you won't tell the difference in using bleached or unbleached coffee filters.

Are Permanent Coffee Filters Better Than Paper?​

Whether you are using a typical coffee maker or the best coffee maker with grinder, you are bound to choose between coffee filters or a permanent filter. Though most machines come with a permanent metal filter, coffee drinkers prefer to use paper filters to achieve your desired flavor profile. But which one of these two is a better choice for your coffee maker?

Paper Coffee Filter​

Paper filters for your coffee maker are easy to use and dispose of. A pack of these filters can last a long time, but you will need a new filter every time you brew your favorite coffee. It is best to buy this in bulk so that you have filters ready every time. You can easily discard coffee grounds using this type of filter by lifting the used filter and the grounds inside and throwing it away.

Paper coffee filters may also be bleached (white) or unbleached (brown). Bleached filters appear white because they are processed with chlorine to oxygen to achieve that bright white color. This option is not environmentally friendly because of the use of bleach. On the other hand, unbleached or brown coffee filters have that brown color as it retains the natural color of the wood. Some coffee drinkers say that using unbleached filters lends a papery taste to their coffee.

The main disadvantage of using a paper coffee filter is finding the appropriate size and style for your coffee maker. You also need to buy this item regularly as they are disposable, and it might be inconvenient on your part if you run out of it.

Permanent Coffee Filters​

If your coffee maker has its permanent filter, you can save a lot from the continued purchase of paper filters. In most cases, coffee makers have permanent filters made of stainless steel wire mesh. If not, you can buy an economical permanent filter for at least $10. Compared with a paper filter where you have to buy a pack at $3, which you will use up in just a few weeks.

You don't need to worry about replacing your filter when you are using a permanent one. But of course, you have to buy one that is suitable for your coffee maker. It can be a basket style or cone-shaped. You can also find gold-tone coffee filters for durability and better-tasting brew. There are also cheaper nylon filters and hard plastic frames, but many users prefer the stainless steel ones. Whichever permanent filters you choose, you can rely on their durability and easy-clean up features. Usually, this type of filter is suited to most coffee makers. But to get the best fit, make sure to buy one made for your specific brand or model of your machine.

Brands of Coffee Filters​

Different Brand of Coffee Filters

There are different brands of coffee filters according to the type of filter that your coffee maker requires. Here are some of the well-known brands for various espresso machines.

Hario V60 Coffee Filters - the Hario V60 is a cone-shaped coffee filter popularly used in Western countries. As cone-shaped drippers became more popular in the coffee-consuming world, many other companies started making this type of filter. If you have used Hario V60 filters from the start, you can experiment with other makers and use other materials such as Mola, Abaca, or Kono.

Melitta - this classically shaped coffee filter was produced by the German coffee company Melitta for more than a hundred years ago. It has a common shape that you can find in any supermarket, and you can also get it from other unknown brands. Melitta is a great brand of the coffee filter, but if you can get filters made from Japan, the quality is even better.

Kalita - this is a Japanese brand of coffee filters that provide flat-bottomed or wave-shaped filters. Kalita has two sizes of its filter products. Likewise, they are well-known for providing high quality filters that have an impact on the coffee flavor.

Other Coffee Filter Materials​

In recent years, there are new developments in the production of paper coffee filters. Here are some products you might notice in specialty coffee shops:

Bamboo Coffee Filters - these are some of the newest coffee filter products that you can find. These filters are made from bamboo fibers, which are supposed to help brew smooth coffee. But some users say that it is mostly marketing hype.

Pulp Coffee Filters - both paper and coffee filters are made from wood pulp. But this product uses pulp from coniferous trees like fir and spruce.

Virgin Pulp - coffee filters made from virgin pulp use no recycle papers or materials. It may not sound very environmentally-friendly, but since you will be ingesting coffee that passes through a paper filter, virgin pulp paper may be a better option.

Abaca - Abaca is known as Manila hemp, but it is more of a banana family plant. Abaca fabric is made into textile and durable banknotes. Now some coffee filter brands are experimenting with this material.


Coffee drinking used to be a simple yet relaxing habit people around the world enjoy. Over the years, coffee preparation and brewing has become a little more complicated than before. There are now different types of coffee machines and coffee filters to choose from.

Based on what we have discussed, oxygen-bleached filters are the best option if you use paper coffee filters. More so, the quality of water you use for brewing is equally important to produce the best-tasting coffee.

On the other hand, if you are happy with the brew you produce with your current filter, there is no need to change. You may experiment with the best coffee filter to see the differences in their brew results. Don't forget to buy in bulk if you use a paper filter. It can be frustrating to find that you run out of it just when you feel the need to brew your favorite drink.

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