Paper filter versus mesh filter…fight!

in Brewing Coffee

Question: Does it make a difference what kind of filter I use between the premanent metal one and the paper ones you can buy in bulk? I’ve used the metal one before but I found it left a bit of sludge at the bottom of my cup so I went back to paper.  — Neil

Answer: You’re right about the “sludge”, that’s coffee solids that pass through the mesh filter but get caught in the paper filter.  Those solids are extracted from the coffee by the water and they contain coffee flavor.  You want that.  But admittedly, it leaves something at the bottom of the mug unless you swish your mug once or twice when there’s only a bit left.  It’s no worse than Turkish Coffee that leaves actual ground coffee in the cup, but in the case of solids that pass through a mesh filter but not a paper filter, you can dissolve it into the coffee with but a swish of the mug.

I’ve gotten into this habit when I drink coffee since I only use the mesh filter.  The swish dissolves it into the rest of the coffee in the mug for a great one or two last sips.  For pros and cons, the paper filter is worse for the environment than something you can re-use indefinitely but is easy for clean-up since you dispose of the filter and grinds all together.  The mesh filter adds an extra step for clean-up but you won’t need to keep buying filters.  With pros and cons on each side, I favor the one that puts a better coffee in my cup and that’s the mesh filter that stops less solids than paper from ending up in the cup.  And yes, it adds an extra step in that swish, but by now, it’s force of habit for me.

Click here to learn more about filters and the drip brewing method.

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