What Type of Coffee Filters Work Best for You?
If you see coffee brewing as an art, you’d definitely not stop at just finding the best coffee maker. Every step that goes into the making of a cup of coffee is vital.
Coffee filter is no exception. While filter is just a filter to the eyes of the commoners, filter is no less important in affecting the final brew quality.
Let’s take a look at the different types of coffee filters that are available. And if you’re selecting one for your brewing station at home or office, this guide will show you how to select the right filters for your coffee maker.
Different Types of Coffee Filters
The first type of coffee filter is the disposable type. This type of filter is made of crepe paper that is often made in the form of cone or basket shape. The choice between cone and basket is one that is dictated by the shape of your coffee maker funnel.
Aside from the shape, bleached and unbleached papers are two kinds of paper used to make these filters. I assume you understand what bleaching means. But for the benefit of those who don’t, bleaching refers to the process of applying chemical agent in order to break chemical molecules that reflects visible color. That is why bleached papers are white in color while unbleached papers are usually brown in color.
Chlorine used to be the most common bleaching agent but one that has harmful by-effect. After since EPA’s Cluster Rule took effect in 2001, Chlorine bleaching has been phased out in US. Melitta and BUNN, two of the most popular makers of paper coffee filters, are nowadays selling nothing but Chlorine-free filters.
If you go through all the coffee maker reviews, some coffee snobs will warn you against using unbleached filter because how it will destroy the taste of your coffee. But unless you have a super sharp sense, I don’t think it makes a difference.
The debate between unbleached and bleached filters is one that will not disappear any time soon. But if you ask me, such stereotype and fear is no longer relevant if you’re buying from reputable brands such as Melitta and BUNN.
Compared to other types of filter material, paper is often touted for its removal of one kind of oil that exist in unfiltered coffee. While no definitive proof has been established, studies suggest its correlation to increased probability of coronary heart disease.
Reusable or Permanent Type
The alternative to paper is metal mesh with stainless steel being the most common materials of all. Proponents of reusable type of filter claims that they leave less footprint on the environment.
I’ve used both paper and permanent filters. However, I personally prefer the paper type better. With reusable type, I have to clean the filter after each brew. Though cleaning takes only a minute or two, you still have to clean it more thoroughly every now and then.
The other reason why I prefer the paper type better is because of the compatibility issue between a filter and the different types of coffee makers. Although the industry has consolidated and agreed on few standard sizes, you still have to be extra cautious when selecting your filter. Even with the same specification, it is common for a filter to fit one but not other brewers.
The safest option is still to stick with the same brand as they would normally specify which coffee maker models a filter is made to fit in.
For example, if you’ve bought a Cuisinart DCC-1200, the Cuisinart GTF gold tone filter is guaranteed to fit 100%. Even though you know that Medelco is selling same sized model for slightly lower price, I bet you’d still go for the Cuisinart.
Choosing the Different Filters
Cuisinart is such a familiar household brand and so do Cuisinart coffee machines. Fortunately, Cuisinart does not produce too many filter varieties. As far as my knowledge suggests, there are only 2 models that you can choose from.
First is the Cuisinart GTF gold tone coffee filter and second is the GTF-B. The former serves most of the brewers sold by Cuisinart and models include DCC-1000BK, DTC-975BKN, DCC-750 Series, DCC-1100 Series DCC-1200 Series, DCC-2200, DCC-2600, DCC-2650, DCC-2750, DCC-2800, DCC-2900 and CHW-12.
The latter serves only limited number of brewers. In fact, if my research is right, it is only for 2 models: DGB-600 and DGB-500.
Unlike Cuisinart, Medelco does not manufacture their own brewers. Instead, they focus mainly on carafe, kettle and filters.
Their #4 cone filter is hugely popular. It is cheaper than the same size offered by Cuisinart. My experience shows that this filter would fit most of the Cuisinart brewers. The other type is the basket-shape filter that is similar to the Cuisinart GTF-B.
As I mentioned earlier, the tricky part of using permanent or reusable filter is the question of whether it will work with the coffee maker you have. Each coffee maker brand tends to manufacture their own filters.
Which is Right for You?
You should now have a clear idea on the considerations that go into the selection of your coffee filters. Disposable paper filter is always the more practical option but one that (especially if you’re a green activist) you would opt out if you’re concerned about the environment footprint each brew is leaving behind.
Permanent filter works just as well but you need to be extra cautious when choosing one.