Paper Vs Metal Coffee Filters
Paperless (sometimes called filterless) pour over coffee is in. After years of pouring water over and through a paper filter holding ground beans, many pour over coffee fans are ditching the paper filter for a metal filter. A comment we sometimes hear is that, despite paper filters being much finer, doesn’t the fact that metal filters are reusable despite not catching everything that is poured into them suggest they’re the best option in the end? A filter that can last for up to seven years or more will save you money, after all. That is absolutely correct. No doubt there’s a cost difference.
How much will you save? Let’s break it down and find out…
A good metal filter can last up to 7 years. So, for example, divide the cost of the new $60 Able Brewing Kone Filter for Chemex by 7 and your per-year cost is $8.57. That’s rather cheap.
On the other hand, paper filters cost less per pack but you have to keep buying them.
You may be surprised by how the cost of paper filters can really add up over time. Good paper filters like Chemex Bonded Filters, for example, will only set you back $14.18 for a box of 100. But assuming you brew one cup of coffee per day, that’s $51.76 a year if you use each filter once. And for a great cup of joe, you should use a paper filter only once. And the yearly cost is much higher if you drink several cups of coffee a day.
So yes, metal filters cost you more on the front end but are cheaper over time. And cost is the number one area where many pour over coffee drinkers focus. But look more closely and there are other key differences.
Taste and look
Metal filters are not fine enough to catch everything that is poured into them. Which means they let certain things—like oils and fine sediment—into your cup. The oils can alter the taste of your coffee. The sediment—tiny granules of coffee so small that they slip through the holes of a metal filter—give your coffee a darker, more cloudy appearance in addition to making it more rich and bold.
Undoubtedly, paper filters are the easiest to clean.
Metal filters are a pain to clean because you have to remove the filter from your pour over coffee maker and dump the grounds into the garbage. It’s important to get as many grounds as possible out of the filter before rinsing it so that you they don’t clog your kitchen sink over time. But it’s also necessary to occasionally put your metal filter through the dishwasher to make sure it performs at its very best.
…metal filters cost you more on the front end but are cheaper over time.
While a few people actually rinse their paper filters and reuse them several times before throwing them away, we strongly recommend against doing that. Paper filters are disposable and should be a one-time thing. To clean up after brewing, simply lift the filter out of your pour over coffee maker and toss it and the grounds into the trash.
Modern scientific research has brought a lot of surprises about how good coffee is for us. One recently published study found that people who drink 2 to 4 cups of coffee a day live longer than those who do not drink coffee at all.
That said, science is undecided on coffee filters. Some say paper filters reduce amounts of cafestol, a coffee oil that is known for raising cholesterol levels. As a result, some medical experts feel that paper coffee filters are a healthier option than metal filters. But the verdict is still out.
Here’s the thing. Although there are many pour over fans out there that swear by their metal filter, we’re split 50/50 on them. There is no clear winner, and whether you buy metal or paper hinges on your own personal preference.
…whether you buy metal or paper hinges on your own personal preference.
But no matter which type of filter you choose, always remember to buy high quality. A cheap filter, paper or metal, will negatively affect the taste of your coffee. So while paper or metal is really a personal thing, don’t skimp on quality to save money.
That said, here a three things to remember when choosing a filter:
- Metal filters save you money over time but are more work to clean.
- Metal filters generally produce a fuller bodied and visually darker cup of coffee that contains more oils and often small amounts of tiny sediment.
- Paper filters cost more but are mess-free and produce a brighter, sweeter cup of coffee with little or no sediment or oils. This helps cut out the bad cholesterol found in coffee.
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