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What Are the Different Types of Coffee Filters?

By A. B. Kelsey
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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Coffee filters are designed to hold coffee grounds while hot water pours over them and into a coffee pot, thus keeping the grounds out of the finished brew. Coffee filters come in many different varieties. They range from the cheap and disposable to the permanent and expensive.

Paper filters are the most widely used type of filters and they have several advantages. Paper filters are easy to find in stores, simple to use and are generally inexpensive. Paper filters do a pretty good job in filtering out the coffee grounds, and can handle both fine and coarse grinds. Paper filters are also disposable, so people can simply throw them away instead of having to clean them.

Paper filters might add a papery or cardboard-like taste to coffee, however. Many people believe that the paper actually absorbs most of the coffee’s natural oils, which reduces the richness and strength of the coffee. Recent studies have also indicated that the white paper filters are typically processed with chlorine bleach, which can result in an unhealthy exposure to dioxin. The unbleached, brown paper filters might be a better choice for those going the paper filter route.

Perhaps a healthier choice for coffee lovers is the cloth filter. These coffee filters are made from unbleached, natural cotton, hemp or muslin. These filters last for three to six months with proper care. The natural oil of the coffee is allowed to seep through the cloth, resulting in a richer, stronger coffee flavor. The pores on cloth filters are larger than those on paper filters, however, which means a few of the finer grounds might slip through into the coffee pot. Another disadvantage is that these filters can be hard to clean since the coffee grounds tend to stick to the cloth.

Gold coffee filters are becoming increasingly popular. Some of these coffee filters are made of real 23-karat gold and are the most expensive type of filters. Gold-plated filters are less expensive, because they are made of stainless steal and treated with gold plating. Both gold and gold-plated filters can last for several years. Another advantage is that there is no chemical interaction between the gold and the hot water. This means that gold filters do not add any metallic flavors to the brewed coffee. Gold devotees swear that gold filters are the best at retaining the coffee’s natural oils, giving the finished brew a more intense, richer flavor.

Gold coffee filters are also pretty easy to clean. The grinds are dumped into the trash bin and the filter is simply rinsed underneath running water. These filters can also be run through the dishwasher for a more thorough cleaning. One disadvantage of gold filters is that they are the most expensive of the filters. But because they can last for years, they will actually save people money over time.

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Discussion Comments

By Heavanet — On Mar 12, 2014

I agree with you Rundocuri. I use brown cone coffee filters, and I love the way they make freshly-brewed coffee taste. There is also no clean-up involved with disposable coffee filters. Simply through them away after you have made your coffee.

By Rundocuri — On Mar 11, 2014

I recommend brown, unbleached coffee filters over any other types. They are affordable, convenient, and don't cause brewed coffee to have a strange flavor like the basic white paper filters can sometimes cause.

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