Permanent Coffee Filter vs Paper Coffee Filter – Which is Better?

Filters keep the coffee particles from getting into your coffee mug. But coffee filters are not all alike, and the type you choose will affect the taste of your coffee. This is why you need to read our paper vs. permanent coffee filter comparison.

Better use a permanent or a paper filter for your coffee?

Most coffee lovers are confused about choosing a proper filter for their coffee machines. So, if you’re thinking about which coffee filters to buy, you’ve come to the right place.

Why Do We Use Paper Coffee Filters?

Paper filters produce a lighter cup of coffee as the filter catches most of the oils. A paper filter is also easier to clean because you can simply get rid of it to toss away the coffee grounds (Or can you reuse coffee grounds again?). Paper filters are mess-free and more affordable if you don’t drink much coffee. However, if you brew coffee all the time, the cost of buying paper filters will add up.

Do You Need a Paper Filter With a Permanent Filter?

This depends on your taste. A permanent metal filter is reusable and catches most of the fine coffee grounds. However, it lets the oil pass through into your cup of coffee.

These oils change the taste of your coffee significantly and cause it to oxidize faster. The find grounds also manage to find their way into your coffee mug, eventually settling at the bottom of your cup.

If you’re a fan of bold coffee, then you need to pair your permanent filter with a paper one. A paper filter will keep your coffee lighter and make the taste fruitier.

Are Bleached or Unbleached Paper Coffee Filters Better?

Paper filters aren’t that good to the environment because they’re disposable. However, unbleached filters are more environmentally friendly – Brown vs White Coffee Filters – Bleached or Unbleached Paper Filters?

Bleached filters are safe to use because only a small amount of bleach is used to turn the paper white. Companies either use oxygen or chlorine for bleaching, and both are safe. Nevertheless, more high-quality filters are bleached using oxygen.

Unbleached paper coffee filters don’t affect the taste of your coffee, but they need to be rinsed before using them to avoid having stale coffee that tastes funny. Regardless of the color, you need to buy filters that are the right size and thickness to filter your coffee the way they should – Is Filter Coffee Stronger Than Espresso?

What is the Best Paper Coffee Filter?

Whether you go for a bleached or unbleached paper coffee filter, quality always comes before the color. You can take a look at the If You Care Unbleached Coffee Filters. These go through fewer processes than bleached filters, and they’re quite affordable. The filters are made from certified wood coming from sustainably managed forests, so they’re environmentally friendly.

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Are all Permanent Coffee Filters Metal?

Although permanent filters cost more than paper filters, they’re more cost-efficient in the long run. Permanent filters are metal and are either basket or cone-shaped. Most coffee lovers prefer gold-toned filters because they’re more durable.

Recently, some people started to use permanent plastic filters. They’re easy to clean, and they’re also affordable. However, they aren’t that durable and might not be the best to use with hot water.

If you’re going for a plastic filter, you need to make sure that it’s made of BPA-free and food-grade materials. It should tolerate the heat and shouldn’t react with the nutrients in your coffee, so you can make sure that you’re drinking healthy coffee.

Are Permanent Coffee Filters Better than Paper Ones?

Picking the right filter depends on your taste and preferences. Permanent filters are environmentally friendly because they’re reusable. Nevertheless, permanent metal filters require regular cleaning. Moreover, they might alter the taste of your coffee, if you don’t buy a high-quality filter.

Generally speaking, paper filters will be better because they trap even the finest particles and prevent your coffee from being cloudy. They also trap the oils that alter the taste, and there will be no residue in your cup of coffee. The coffee prepared using a paper filter stays fresh for a longer time.

Are Paper Coffee Filters Healthier?

Paper filters trap oils like cafestol, which can increase your cholesterol levels. This is why most experts agree that paper filters are healthier. However, if you choose to buy bleached filters, you need to be careful.

Some bleached paper filters are processed using chlorine. Although the amount used is relatively small, the chemical can still find its way into your coffee.

For better taste, you choose unbleached paper filters. These paper filters are brown because they retain the natural color of the wood and don’t go through extensive chemical processing. At the same time, they trap the oils that cause the oxidation of your coffee, so your coffee will be healthy and will taste fresh.

Do Paper Coffee Filters Cost Less?

Initially, paper filters cost less than permanent filters. However, they’re not reusable, so you will have to buy them regularly.

Bleached paper filters cost less than unbleached filters, which are healthier. However, the overall difference in cost between these coffee filters isn’t that significant, given the pleasant taste that you will enjoy when you buy high-quality filters for your coffee.

Which is Easier to Clean – Paper or Permanent Coffee Filter?

A paper filter doesn’t have to be cleaned. It’s not reusable, so you have to toss it away and use a new one for another batch of coffee.

Permanent filters can be a little tricky to clean. You have to rinse it to remove the residue. Every now and then, you’ll have to put it through a cleaning cycle in the dishwasher if it’s dishwasher-safe.

If you are worried about your permanent filter changing color, you can always use a solution made of diluted vinegar and baking soda to clean the filter. A scrub brush can also be used to remove the stuck residue, to make sure that it doesn’t find its way back into your coffee mug – Best Coffee Cup Material: Ceramic vs Glass vs Steel vs Plastic

Are Permanent Coffee Filters Environmentally Friendlier?

Yes, they are. Paper filters are made of wood and need to be replaced often. However, permanent filters can be used several times.

Because permanent filters are made of metal or plastic, they can last for a very long time. They should be cleaned regularly, so you can make sure that the fine particles won’t settle in your coffee, eventually changing its taste. In short, when you compare paper vs metal coffee filters, the metal ones are less impactful to the environment.

How to Use a Permanent Coffee Filter

Permanent filters come in various shapes, and each one can be used to trap the particles that affect the taste of your coffee – Does Altitude Affect Coffee Flavor?

Cone-Style Filters

Cone-style filters can either have a pointed end or two sides that taper into a shorter line. Traditional cone-style filters are usually used with manual brewing machines, while tapered filters are commonly used with automatic coffee makers – Drip Coffee Maker vs. Percolator – Which Makes Better Coffee?

Cone filters force the hot water to pass thoroughly to prevent over-extraction. If you prefer lightweight coffee, then these filters will work best.

They come in several sizes 1, 2, 4, and 6. Number 1 filter works for manual and electric single-cup coffee makers. Number 6 filter works for pour-over non-electric coffee makers that can make more than 10 cups of coffee. However, the most common sizes of filters are sizes 2 and 4.

Basket-Style Filters

Basket filters are the most common types of permanent filters. They have a flat bottom and might come with or without a handle, so you can remove them easily for cleaning. Since the bottom of the filter is wide, the grounds might not be evenly extracted.

Disk-Style Filters

Disk filters are usually smaller, so you need to be careful that the one you’ve picked fits right into your coffee machine.

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Gold vs. Stainless Steel Coffee Filter – Which is Better?

Metal filters are extremely popular because they’re reusable and environmentally friendly. They’re either made of stainless steel or have a gold-tone layer on top. Unlike paper filters, these filters don’t alter the taste of your coffee, but choosing the right one can be a little tricky.

Metal filters are free of dioxin, which is a common chemical, especially used in bleached paper filters. Stainless steel filters don’t react to the acids and antioxidants in your coffee. As a result, your coffee will taste good and won’t have a woody or papery taste.

Gold-tone filters are even better because gold is a neutral metal. It doesn’t react with any of the nutrients or chemical compounds in your coffee. It also allows useful and healthy antioxidants to pass through, which means that your coffee will be healthier to drink.

What Can You Use Instead of a Coffee Filter?

If you don’t mind having some residue in your cup of coffee, you can still make good coffee without a filter. Some people use very fine ground and don’t mind having the particles settle at the bottom of the cup of coffee.

However, using a good filter will make your cup of coffee more enjoyable. It strains the particles and the components that make your coffee oxidize fast.

If you’re out of filters, you can still make good coffee using some of the products and tools that you can find at home. There are some great substitutes that will help you enjoy your coffee without having to worry about buying metal or paper filters.

Can I Use Paper Towels Instead of Coffee Filters?

Yes, you can. You can still enjoy your cup of coffee, even if you’ve run out of paper filters. Paper towels will trap the coffee grounds as well as the oils like diterpenes, thus guaranteeing that your coffee will be healthy and tasty. Moreover, you can easily find them at home or in the office, if you’re dealing with a coffee filter crisis.

All you have to do is to cut the paper towel into the shape of a filter. Add your coffee grounds and pour hot water for maximum extraction. While this might not be the most efficient way to enjoy your daily coffee, it will definitely come in handy when you have no access to proper filters (Pour Over Coffee Basics – Brewing the Best Cup of Joe at Home!).

Make sure that you choose safe and sanitary paper towels. It’s recommended that you stay away from cheap or overly bleached products, so you can make sure that your coffee won’t contain any dangerous chemicals.

Can I Use a Sock as a Coffee Filter?

If you can’t find filters or paper towels, you can still enjoy your coffee with the help of a sock. Pick a clean sock, of course, and place it on top of your mug, then add the coffee grounds. Pour some hot water and watch as the sock strains the water, keeping the grounds trapped and allowing the delicious liquid to pass through.

Besides being easy, this method is also environmentally friendly because you can use the same sock several times to strain your coffee. Wash and dry the sock, and it will be ready for another use.

Can I Use Parchment Paper as a Coffee Filter?

Parchment paper can be used as a coffee filter, but not the other way around. Parchment paper is coated with a layer of silicone, so it can withstand the heat if you cook food in the oven. Coffee filters can easily be burnt at higher degrees if you try to use them for baking.

However, if you’ve run out of paper filters, you can still use parchment paper as a substitute. It will trap the coffee grounds, and make your coffee look and taste good.

How Many Times Can You Use a Coffee Filter?

A paper filter can be used up to 5 times before it has caught too many grounds and needs to be replaced. This can last for 2 days if you drink coffee twice a day.

As for a metal filter, you can use it as much as you can until the grounds start to fill the holes. Just shake the metal filter and give it a quick rinse before using it again. 

Final Thoughts

Without a coffee filter, your coffee will be full of grounds that eventually settle at the bottom of your coffee mug. Moreover, the oils will make your coffee oxidize faster, so it will taste stale.

You can either use paper or metal filters for your coffee. There are several good brands on the market, but you need to make sure that you’re buying high-quality filters.

Better use a permanent or a paper filter for your coffee?
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