Did you know that the first paper coffee filter was created in 1908 by Melitta Bentz, a German housewife? She was looking for a way to get rid of the bitter taste of coffee that was produced by the traditional brewing methods of the time. More than one hundred years later, this method of brewing coffee still exists today.
Coffee filters are used to separate the grounds from the final product. All coffee brewing processes involve filtration. The amount of coffee grounds and sediment that is removed from the final product depends on the type of filter that you use. This has an impact on the coffee’s taste, body and texture.
So the natural question is what type of coffee filter is the best to use? The answer really boils down to your personal preference and of course the type of brewer that you use. Let’s look at the different kinds of coffee filters available.
Paper filters come in three types of paper:
- Natural brown
One of the characteristics of paper filters is that they are finer than metal filters. This means that they remove a lot of the oils contained in raw coffee beans. These oily components, which are called diterpenes, have been linked to raising cholesterol levels. If you are worried about cholesterol, then brewing coffee with paper filters may be something to consider.
Paper filters are meant to be used once and then discarded after brewing which makes the cleanup process very easy. Those concerned about the environmental impacts of paper filters will be happy to know that paper filters are biodegradable. Since they are made of natural fibers, they will decompose in composts.
The cost of paper filters is very low. The cost for a filter is typically in the range of a few cents. Depending on the amount of coffee that you brew, whether once a day or 4 times a day, this cost can turn out to be much more over many years as compared to if one were to buy a metal filter which can be used over again.
The coffee brewed with paper filters is generally sweeter more translucent than metal filters.
A metal filter is designed to be reused over again. If price is a factor in deciding the type of filter to be purchased, then metal filters will save you money over several years as compared to paper filters. A metal filter can cost anywhere from $5 to $60 dollars and can last up to 7 years or longer with proper cleaning and maintenance.
Metal filters are not as fine as their paper counterparts. Reusable metal filters can’t catch everything that is poured into them which means more elements such as micro-fines and oils flow into the finished cup of coffee. The higher amounts of oils is linked to raising cholesterol levels. Micro-fines are tiny bits of coffee that pass through the filter. Micro-fines give the coffee a more darker and cloudy appearance. They also give the coffee a full bodied appearance and leave more sediment at the bottom of the cup.
What kind of filter do you prefer?
As you can see, the type of filter used in the brewing process can affect the kind of coffee that ends up in your cup. Lifestyle also plays a significant role – if you don’t like or have the time to for cleanup then paper filters would be more of a natural choice. If you like a full bodied coffee and don’t mind a bit of sediment in your cup, then metal filters would be suited more to brewing the kind of coffee you enjoy.
Do you have a preference of using paper versus metal filters? Please feel free to chime in with a comment.