How to choose the best coffee filters? | Drip Coffee Filters | Cone Coffee Filters
Choosing the best coffee filter may not seem like an important decision, but it's more important than you think if you are brewing coffee in a drip machine. You will find selections of cone coffee filters, Bunn coffee filters, gold coffee filters, Cuisinart coffee filters, Mr Coffee filters, Braun coffee filters, Melita coffee filters or equivalent coffee filters at Coffee.org. For anyone using a single-serve type of coffee brewer, then you don't have to worry about filters because each coffee pod already has a filter built-in. That's one less thing to deal with, so just enjoy your coffee. But coffee made in a traditional drip coffee machine will need a filter.
So how do you choose the right coffee filter? Most machines are designed to take either a flat-bottomed basket filter, or a cone-shaped filter. The specific shape may vary by machine. Either way, the most common coffee filter is one made out of paper. Paper filters are extremely cheap, and they can be tossed out with the coffee grounds to save on clean-up time. Actually, they can be composted along with the grounds but that's another story. They aren't perfect though. Disposable products aren't great for the environment and they get more expensive over time since you are constantly buying more of them. And when it comes to your coffee, they may also be doing your beans a disservice. The paper can absorb some of the oils from your coffee, leading to a less flavorful cup and the paper itself can give a bit of a taste to your coffee as well. If you've only ever brewed with these types of coffee filter, you may not even notice.
You can get non-disposable filters, usually made out of gold-plated metal mesh but there are also cheaper plastic ones available. They will cost more than a box of paper filters, but it saves you money in the long run. They come in various sizes, just like the paper filters so you shouldn't have trouble finding one for your machine. You will have to dump out the grounds each time, which is only a momentary chore, and wash the filter out periodically to keep coffee residue from clogging the mesh. They are better for the environment and also better for your coffee. The gold has no impact on the taste of your coffee, though the plastic ones can (but less so than the paper).
You can also choose a compromise and use cloth filters instead. They don't last as long as the metal ones, but they can replace an awful lot of paper filters. You can even toss them in the washing machine once in a while to clean them up. Cloth filters can be a bit awkward to use because they don't hold their shape the same way as paper ones do. Whichever route you go when choosing the right coffee filter, you'll have to weigh their overall cost and effect on your brewing. You can go completely filter-free if you use a coffee pod system, or brew your coffee in a French press. The press pots have a plunger and mesh inside the pot so you don't need extra filters.