The coffee industry today is littered with coffeemakers and accessories of all prices, shapes, and sizes. Out of these, one of the essential parts of brewing fresh coffee is choosing an appropriate filter for your coffeemaker.
But between bleached, unbleached, four different sizes, several different materials, and two shapes, one might be tempted to give up the search. Thankfully, this article will lay rest to several questions you might have before buying a filter and building a routine. These include two to match coffee filters with your coffeemaker, what shapes and materials are on the market, and which are the best filters (with sizes) you can purchase to improve your coffee.
Are you ready?
So What Do I Need to Know About Coffee Filters?
The most important factor that a buyer needs to choose is the shape of the filter. Conical and bucket-shaped filters are the two popular choices, and each has its own size scale.
The conical, as the name suggests, is a filter with a large opening that narrows with increasing length. This cone-shape generally preferred by home and commercial brewers. Conical filters come in four standard sizes. These sizes correlate to how large the volume of the coffeemaker is, and whether your coffeemaker is electric or non-electric. They are:
- #1 Size: Suitable for one cup coffeemakers (both electric and non-electric)
- #2 Size: Suitable for two-six cup electric coffeemakers/ one-two cup non-electric coffeemakers
- #4 Size: Suitable for eight-ten cup coffeemakers (both electric and non-electric)
- #6 Size: Suitable for ten+ cup non electric coffeemakers
Bucket filters are the same paper filter that is used in cupcakes. It has a large opening that narrows slightly down to a wide base. While these tend to be cheaper, they also lead to uneven extraction of coffee grounds due to the width of the paper. Bucket filters come in two sizes. One is the ‘junior’ size, which supports four to six cup coffeemakers, while the bigger ones support coffee machines that make anywhere between six to twelve cups of the beverage.
What Coffee Filter Is Right For Me?
Besides the size, there are several factors upon which one can base their purchase. Perhaps the most relevant one to consider is whether the filter is permanent, or disposable like these ones from Pro Mael. Both have their pros and cons.
Permanent filters, usually made from some form of steel, save paper, and cause less waste, but they are not biodegradable, and most of these filters are only built to be used for specific machines. Additionally, over time, the filter can suffer from coffee grime being accumulated around the peripheries.
Paper filters are environmentally friendly, but they are also more expensive since you will have to keep purchasing them. But if taste is your only consideration, paper filters are generally much better at capturing micro-particles. These include a particularly harmful type of cholesterol called LDL, which tends to sneak through metal filters.
Another factor to consider, assuming you’re shopping for paper filters, is whether it is bleached or not. Bleaching helps the paper trap finer coffee particles, giving a smoother taste to your coffee. There are two types of chemicals that filters are bleached with: oxygen, and chlorine. Most filters today are bleached with oxygen, which is the healthier alternative of the two. Oxygen-bleached filters have the advantage that they don’t leave a papery aftertaste to your coffee, provided they are rinsed with water before usage.
Lastly, paper is just one of the materials that filters are produced with. For example, Melitta sells filters that are 60% bamboo, claiming that they enhance the flavor of coffee. It’s likely that this is just a marketing gimmick (maybe not), but it might be worth a try to determine yourself! You can also get filters made of two different types of pulp. While one is simply made from paper, the other markets itself as not including any recycled papers. While those who are environmentally conscious might consider filters made from recycled paper to be a positive, this usually comes with weaker strength and additional bacteria. Filters made with virgin pulp avoid recycled papers despite the image of goodwill, and for good reason.
I’m Feeling Rich, Which Are the Best Coffee Filters That I Can Get My Hands On?
Given that #4 is the standard size for conical filters, the most popular filters are generally of this make. Some of the most reputable brands that sell coffee filters are Melitta, Chemex, and Hario. The Hario V60 has traditionally been one of the most popular choices for paper filters, but there have been murmurs of a decline in quality over recent years. Melitta and Chemex are also good picks, and they sell both unbleached and bleached filters. If you’re a lettuce enthusiast, you could also opt for some organic hemp filters. Bolio is one such company that produces them.
If you’re buying a coffee filter, there is a good chance you’re going to go with one that is conical and #4 in size. Picking the right coffee filter can enhance your beverage in several ways, or leave it with a papery aftertaste that leaves your mouth dry. Having said that, it is important to match the correct filters with the right coffeemakers, lest the entire exercise be futile. Melitta and Chemex are two popular brands that sell both bleached, and unbleached filters, but even if you those aren’t available, any filter of the right size that is bleached with oxygen will definitely improve your morning cup o’ joe.
We’ll brew ya later! ☕️