This article is put together to give respect for a deserving candidate that has helped you with countless number of delicious coffee cups, the coffee filter. If you brew your own cup, you understand the significance and the live art this unsung hero does on a daily bases - separating infused coffee and its grinds. From its history, to the number of microns, this article has everything you need to know about a coffee filter to impress a bona fide coffee connoisseur.
A Brief Walk Down History
Can you imagine drinking your coffee grounds in the bottom? No thanks! Believe it or not, a huge chunk of history used to consume their coffee this way. It was either gentle cautious sips so the ground don’t get in your mouth, or gentle swooping of the liquid from top of the coffee pot.
However, all this changed thanks to Melitta Bentz from Dresden, Germany. She is regarded as the inventor of the coffee filter for the common user. Although the were cloth coffee filters available during her time, it was too expensive and so only reserved for the wealthy class.
Her story is quite interesting: Melitta used to make her husband a cup of coffee as part of her usual morning routine, only to find herself incessantly scrubbing the bottom of the coffee pot to get all the coffee grounds out.
This went on for quite some time until she was just vexed of the scrubbing and decided to try something new. Using a nail, she put a couple of holes in the bottom of a brass coffee pot. Then placed a piece of paper from her son’s notebook to cover the holes. Finally, she placed some coffee grounds into the pot and poured hot boiling water – giving birth to the paper coffee filter!
Her coffee filter became very popular and she went into business selling this comparatively cheaper product for your groundless coffee. It’s amazing to see that her company is still in existence – a family-owned enterprise that shaped the way we make and drink our coffee.
The Different Types of Coffee Filters
Coffee filters are available all sorts of shapes, formats and materials. But really, there are three main types that are largely used by consumers – paper filter, cloth filter and metal coffee filter.
- Commonly used in for making drip coffee and usually made of disposable paper
- They are inexpensive, and block almost all the grounds from getting into the cup
- Can sometimes emit a taste, depending on the quality of the paper produced
- Good sanitary as they are used only once, not allowing bacteria to settle
- Get rid of any oils the beans may release during brewing (removing cholesterol)
- Easy to clean up when done – just need to throw it in a trash can!
- Usually made of natural cotton, hemp or any lightweight fabric and can be reused
- One time investment, may not block all the coffee grounds as it has bigger holes compared to a paper filter
- Flexible to take any shape of the container making it easier to use
- Has to be washed frequently to avoid stains or allow the dirt to settle in before the next use
- Can be cleaned in the washing machine
- Less wastage compared to a paper filer
- Can be found inside coffee makers and are highly reusable
- Has a very fine mesh, but not as small and effective as compared to a paper filter
- Most hygienic option as it is usually made up of stainless steel – one of the cleanest metal
- You may require to soak and rinse the filter during cleaning, especially to get out the grinds stuck in the mesh
- Same one can be used for several years
- Reliable, doesn’t break or get damaged to use as compared to paper or cloth filter
- Provide stronger flavors as compared to paper filters
Please remember never to use paper towels, as they easily tear apart with high temperatures and into your cup. If you find yourself in a situation, for example camping or travelling, and aren’t able to get a hold of any of the above three filters – you can use one of the following:
- Butter muslin
- Fine cloth
- Wire mesh filter
- Socks (make sure they are clean and washed! 😊)
Microns – The Filter Unit
Microns is the standard measurement of length, used when deciding the quality of the filter sieve. It is equal to one-millionth of a meter. The smaller the micron, smaller coffee ground pores get through.
So, for example, a size 20-micro filter has big pores and would allow bigger chunks of coffee ground to pass through as compared to how much a size 5-micron filter. Usually, all coffee filters come in the range of 10-20microns.
From the three main filter options discussed, the paper filter clearly wins the micron battle, with the smallest pores as compared to the cloth and metal filters.
So, there you have it, that is everything you would want to know about our underdog coffee filter, in the coffee making toolkit. I hope this article leaves an impression on you the next time you lift your filter. Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!