Everyone wants the finest beans for their coffee, and rightfully so. However, people miss another crucial factor in coffee brewing: i.e. the filters. The choice of a coffee filter depends on the type of coffee one is brewing. You have lots of options to pick from too — paper, metal or cloth. Let’s start with the most commonly available materials: paper.
Paper coffee filters
Paper filters are tightly woven, and they are highly absorbent. It guarantees cleaner and thoroughly filtered coffee. These are used in drip coffee makers and remove the excess oil content. Paper weighing 100 grams is typically used to manufacture paper coffee filters. This paper can be bleached or unbleached, but this factor does not affect the taste. It is easy to differentiate as the unbleached paper is brown and bleached is white.
Metal coffee filters
The pore size of metal coffee filters are larger than that of paper, so some tiny grounds may pass through them. This is not always a drawback, as the grounds are hardly noticeable. In fact, some people prefer these grounds and oils because it can allow for a richer taste. Metal coffee filters are more difficult to clean as the residue is sometimes left even after washing.
Cloth coffee filters:
These beauties strain out all the coffee grounds, but allow some oils to seep out. Thus, providing a middle ground between paper and metal filters. The maintenance of cloth filters is tricky because they need to get washed thoroughly after every brew. They can stain, tear, and it is just a matter of time until small particles start seeping through them. This is just what you need if you’re starting your journey towards a more sustainable brew.
Now that we know how the material of the filters affects the final brew, let’s talk about the shapes and sizes of the coffee filters.
Mostly used by home-brewers, one can recognise these filters by the shape of a party hat. The conical shapes make the water go through coffee grounds more thoroughly, allowing for a rich taste. The higher quality extract makes the conical coffee filters more expensive than the next kind of filter, i.e. basket filters. Conical filters come in four sizes dependent on the tools you use. They are as follows:
#1: This size is suitable for electric and non-electric one-cup coffeemakers.
#2: This size works with 2 to 6 cup electric and 1-2 non-electric coffee makers.
#4: It works with 8-10 cup non-electric and 8-12 cup electric coffee makers.
#6: It works with 10+ cup pour-overs/ non-electric coffee makers.
Basket filters look like cupcake moulds or buckets with smooth edges. Basket filters are not considered as good as cone filters due to their flat bottoms, which can result in uneven extraction, and it affects the taste of the coffee. The sizes available are 8 - 12 size filters.
These are mainly used as a replacement for the french press filters and are smaller than the other types of coffee filters. They also do not adhere to the standard sizing guidelines.
In conclusion, the shape and pore size are the main factors one should examine. The best filter depends on how you prefer you brew to be. For example, some people go for metal filters because they prefer a stronger, fuller coffee with some texture. So understand your preference and choose a filter accordingly. Don’t forget to enjoy your cuppa along the way!