Which Coffee Filter Should You Use?

When making a brewed coffee, which is the way I make coffee, there are dozens of different coffee makers, drippers etc available for you to use.

From pour over to immersion to pressure to syphon it can be daunting and confusing.

I always like easy and simple. Some devices might look shiny and blink lots of lights but most people will always revert back to what is easy and simple. Something you know you can do half asleep., which helps!

The main coffee filters that devices use are:

  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Cloth

Paper Filter

These come in two varieties, brown and white, just like bread! And as my kids say, always get the white!

Brown paper is unbleached and will add small paper fibres to your brew which aren't very pleasant.

White is bleached and the fibres are removed.

Paper produces a much cleaner brew than other methods. You won't have any sludge at the bottom of your cup and you taste just the coffee. 

Metal Filter

Metal filters are usually a sheet of stainless steel with very small holes in it, shaped to fit the chosen brewer.  It can also be a fine mesh such as on a french press.

Metal filters are very convenient and reusable. You'll never run out of filters and you won't have to spend money on filters ever again. For all this convenience there is a slight compromise on clarity in your mug. You will end up with some coffee sludge in your brew. Now this isn't a bad thing, but too much and the brew tastes gritty. So a good quality metal filter is what's needed. 

Good quality metal filters whole give a little bit more body to your morning brew. If you like a strong, more chunky brew in the morning a metal filter is perfect.

Cloth Filter

A cloth filter is typically used on syphon brewers and some pour over brewers. The problem with cloth filters is cleanliness. It needs a good clean after every brew. This for me is annoying enough to discount the cloth filter as a filter.

What a cloth filter does provide is a clean cup similar to paper but not quite as good.

So it's a choice between paper and metal. It will produce a great cup of brew. I prefer paper, but I also have metal in case I run out of paper filters or I go away and take my brewer with me.

Paul Radin,

Owner, Coffee Hit