Pour-Over Coffee Filters
Each pour-over funnel—Chemex, Kalita Wave, etc.—uses its own filter. This is because the funnel significantly affects the taste of the cup.
For example, Chemex filters are made of thick paper, which increases extraction and traps most small coffee particles and heavy essential oils. As a result, the drink is light and clean. A poor-quality filter can give the drink an unpleasant papery taste.
Let's figure out what to look for when choosing a filter for brewing pour-over coffee.
What Are Filters For?
Filters keep coffee grounds and some oils out of the finished drink, and some filters contribute to aeration (oxygenation of the coffee). The result is a delicious, clean drink.
Filters are available in paper, metal, fabric, or nylon.
A paper filter is used to make coffee in a Hario V60, Kalita Wave, or Chemex funnel.
The porous structure of the filter allows flavors to pass through but keeps coffee grounds out of the drink, so the coffee has a light body and pure taste.
Conveniently, paper filters do not need to be cleaned: after brewing, you simply throw away the filter along with the coffee grounds. Unfortunately, this does make them a more expensive option because you have to purchase them regularly. Their price can range from $2 to $15 depending on material and quality.
Bleached vs Unbleached
Filters can be made from bleached or unbleached paper. Unbleached filters are more environmentally friendly but can add a cardboard-like flavor to your beverage.
Bleached filters are bleached using either chlorine or oxygen In the 1980s, chlorine bleaching was thought to affect the taste of the coffee and be harmful to health. Scientists have denied information about the dangers to health, but emissions from chlorine bleaching plants were called a "significant environmental problem."
You can get rid of the papery taste of a poor-quality filter by washing it:
- Place the filter in your brewing device.
- Pour hot water through the filter so that there are no dry spots left.
- Drain the water.
- Pour hot water over the filter again. Taste the water to make sure there is no papery taste.
- Brew coffee!
If the taste of the paper persists even after several rounds of pouring, use another manufacturer's filter. Quality filters usually do not add strange flavors to coffee.
Paper Filter Density
Each device has its own filter density.
Low density filters are used in Hario V60 and Bonavita funnels.
High density filters are used in Chemex and Kalita funnels.
The density of the paper affects the pouring rate and the duration of extraction. The denser the filter, the slower the flow will be. When using a dense filter, a coarser grind is needed; otherwise, the coffee will over-extract and be too bitter and not acidic enough.
If you've chosen the filter you want and don't like the taste of your coffee, experiment with the grind. After the first brew, pay attention to the pouring rate and taste. Increase the grind size if the coffee brewed for too long and the taste is over-extracted.
Paper Filter Shapes
Filters can be conical, trapezoidal, or specially shaped.
Conical ones are used for making coffee in the Hario V60 funnel.
Trapezoidal ones are used for brewing coffee in an immersion funnel.
Special filters are used for with Chemex and Kalita funnels.
Manufacturers usually indicate which brewing device the filter should be used with. Choose a filter that is designed for your device.
What Determines The Size Of The Paper Filter
There are five sizes of paper filters: 01, 02, 03, 04, 06. To select the correct size, see the instructions for your coffee maker. For example, if there is an inscription 01 on the funnel, then choose an 01-size filter.
For funnels, sizes 01 and 02 are most often suitable; drip coffee makers usually use 02, 03, 04, and 06 filters.
Filter size also determines the number of cups that can be prepared using one filter, from 1 to 12. Information about this is included on the packaging.
Steel filters are used for funnels and Chemex brewers.
Coffee made with a steel filter is stronger. This is due to the larger holes through which coffee particles and oils seep into the beverage.
If much time passes after brewing, this coffee may seem too bitter to you: Coffee particles are extracted even after filtration. Therefore, drink the coffee right away if using a metal filter.
A metal filter is easy to clean because the metal doesn't absorb moisture and coffee oils. Plus, it's dishwasher safe.
With proper care, it will last for several years. Therefore, in general, it is cheaper than other options.
Fabric filters are used for making coffee in a funnel or Chemex device.
Due to the presence of pores, the fabric filter still allows coffee grounds and oils to pass through. Therefore, there will be some sediment in the coffee, which is extracted even after brewing. The drink may become more bitter if you let it sit for too long.
The fabric filters must be washed thoroughly after each use. The difficulty is that you cannot use chemical detergent, as this will negatively affect the taste of drinks. Wash the filters by hand or in the washing machine without using detergent.
Proper storage will help prevent bacteria from growing on the filter. For example, you can put the filters in the refrigerator after washing to inhibit the growth of bacteria and help the filters last longer.
A fabric filter can be used several times, but not for more than 3 months. Even when used correctly, it accumulates small particles of coffee dust and spoils the taste of the drink. Change the filter when you notice any strange flavors in your coffee.
Which Filter to Choose
Paper filters are the best option. They are versatile and retain coffee particles and oils well, giving the drink a light body and pure taste. In addition, the filter does not need cleaning because it's disposable.
However, remember that the taste of the drink depends not only on the filter, but also on the beans, roasting, water, and other variables.