Ah yes, you do love your coffee. In fact, you take pride in carefully choosing a good brand of beans and the right machine to produce a delicious cup. However, have you ever considered the type of coffee filters you use?
The coffee scene is inundated with an abundance of different coffee filters: bleached, unbleached, paper, metal mesh, cone- or basket-shaped and more. While the type of coffee filter you choose won’t drastically change the course of your life, it will affect the taste of your coffee and depending on the kind you use, the environment.
Some white paper coffee filters use chlorine to make the paper white. Unbleached paper is better. A reusable metal mesh filter is the best eco-friendly choice, but depending on the weave of the mesh, sediment can seep into your cup.
To help you navigate the coffee filter jungle, we’ve curated a list of different types you can purchase online. Read on to find the ones that best suit your taste and lifestyle.
1. Editor’s Choice: Technivorm Moccamaster #4 White Paper Filters
Crisp and clean-looking white paper coffee filters are a preferred choice by many consumers. They are easy to use and disposable. But the natural color of paper is brown and to make it white, some brands use chlorine to whiten the filters, which is harmful for the environment. We included these white filters from Technivorm Moccamaster because even though they are a bit more expensive than your run-of-the-mill white coffee filters, they are chlorine-free.
These coffee filters are made in the Netherlands from a special compound paper that is completely taste and odor-free. Using them will not alter the taste of your favorite brew. As well, the filters are 100 percent natural and have not been bonded with chemicals or glue Most importantly, the whitening process is a chlorine-free, oxygen-based method, which makes them fully compostable and safer for the environment.
The #4 size filters come 100 per box (which is recyclable), while the #1 size for a pour-over method are 80 to a box. You can also choose flat-bottom filters with 100 per box.
- Oxygen-based whitening method
- Glue- and chemical-free
- Available in three different sizes
- Compostable filters, recyclable box
- A bit pricey
2. Runner Up: Perfect Pod EZ-Cup Disposable Paper Filters
Probably the largest shift in coffee-making habits in the last 20 years has been the move to machines with single-use pods. While this can make for a superior-tasting cup of coffee (without the use of a filter), it has contributed to billions of empty coffee pods ending up in landfill. Thankfully, many brands changed the material of the pods and they can now be recycled like other plastics and metals. Why not take it a step further with these disposable paper filters that fit into a reusable EZ-Cup pod.
You do need to purchase a reusable EZ-Cup pod to use these filters, and if this filter method looks interesting, you can try it with a Breville, Keurig, Cuisinart or Mr. Coffee single-use machine. And the best part? You can use your favorite brand of coffee to create individual cups, while saving yourself more than 80 percent compared to pre-filled coffee pods.
The filter’s paper is 100 percent biodegradable and is specially designed to trap coffee’s natural oils, sediment and grounds, making your cup of Joe smooth and satisfying.
- Paper filter is 100 percent biodegradable
- Special design with lid
- Compatible with many single-use coffee machines
- Takes time to hand-fill the filter
- Some users found the coffee to taste weak
- Must be used with EZ-Cup pod (sold separately)
3. Best for Pour Over: BYKITCHEN V60 Cone Coffee Filters
The pour-over coffee-making method has become another popular method to brew coffee, whether it’s for one cup or for four. For the most part, this way to make coffee does require using a paper filter that is fitted inside a plastic, glass or ceramic cone. If you like the disposable option of paper and prefer a more earth-friendly choice, then consider these unbleached coffee filters.
The filters are made of natural food-grade wood pulp with no bleach, chemicals or adhesives. In fact, the design has two tabbed sides that fold to fit securely into a filter. The V60 #2 coffee filters have a one- to four-cup capacity and are suitable for pour-over brewers, a coffee maker, filter dripper and filter cup, to fit a cone-shaped size 02 dripper.
Economically priced, the coffee filters come in a package of 200. Also available are size V0 #1, with a capacity of 1 to 2 cups, and suitable for small filter cups, pour-over brewers, and filter drippers, to fit a cone-shaped size 01 dripper.
- Made from food-grade wood pulp
- No bleach, chlorine or adhesives
- Need to wet the filter first to make it more compliant
- May be too many in a package for some people
4. Best Universal: InwodiTeki Reusable 2 Pack Basket 8-12 Cup Replacement Coffee Filter
Making coffee for a group can use up a lot of resources – especially paper coffee filters to fit the basket of whichever coffee machine you are using. Whether you have a lot of coffee drinkers in your home, or you’re in charge of the coffee station at the office, you’re counting out a lot of paper filters that will end up in the garbage. One way to save money and be more environmentally conscious, is to use a reusable plastic and metal mesh coffee filter.
This set of two replacement coffee filters for eight to 12-cup use is compatible with a number of popular coffee machine brands such as the Mr. Coffee Maker, DGB-500, DGB-600 Series; Black & Decker; Cuisinart GTF-B; Continental; Hamilton Beach; Proctor Silex; Bonavita; KRUPS KM785D50; and more. The structure of the filters is made of rigid plastic and the golden stainless steel mesh is BPA-free.
The filters have a handle, making them easy to take out of the machine, and folds down out of the way when not in use. They are easy to clean, too. Just rinse under running water or pop it into the dishwasher.
- Economical and environmentally friendly
- Provides a good flow balance when brewing
- Easy to clean
- Has a foldable handle
- Contains plastic
- Need to add a paper filter to get a stronger tasting brew
5. Best Stainless Steel: ireum Pour Over Coffee Filter
For the environmentally conscious coffee drinker, there is only one way to brew coffee – with a reusable filter made from eco-friendly material that doesn’t need a paper filter to produce a delicious cup of aromatic coffee.
This reusable pour-over coffee filter is made from stainless steel, which makes it an environmentally friendly option. However, there are some java drinkers who are reluctant to use a stainless steel filter as it can transfer a metal taste to their brew. With this filter by ireum, there is no metallic taste because the stainless steel is covered by a protective coating of titanium.
Super portable (and unbreakable), this filter will fit on all coffee cups with a four-inch-diameter opening. The inside has convenient measurement markings for putting in the right amount of coffee, while the fine twill dual-layer weaved mesh filter holds back any sediment and grinds from sneaking into your cup. To prevent slipping, a removeable silicone gripper around the underside edge of the filter keeps it in place while you pour.
- Good eco-friendly choice
- No paper filters needed
- Removeable silicone gripper on the bottom
- A bit difficult to clean
- Rubber silicone ring difficult to put back on once it is taken off
6. Best Bulk-Buy: canFly Unbleached Disposable K-CUP Paper Filters
If you really love the idea of using a single serving coffee maker but don’t want to accumulate garbage that ends up in landfill, then consider these biodegradable unbleached paper filters that can be used with a reusable filter suitable for a Keuring single-serving brew system.
These disposable paper filters are easy to use. Simply put the paper filter into a reusable k-cup Ekobrew or EZ-cup reusable filter, tuck the filter under the hinge, fill it with the ground coffee of your choice and brew. The filter can fit up to 11 ounces of ground coffee to customize the strength to your liking
When you’re done brewing and you’re ready to enjoy your cup, remove the filter from the machine, open it, and toss the biodegradable paper filter into the compost. With 300 to a package, this is a value-packed bulk buy that will save you money in the long run. And, if you don’t like unbleached paper filters, for the same price and quantity, you can choose the white paper option.
- Value bulk buy
- Available in white and unbleached paper
- Designed to be used with the Ekobrew, EZ-Cup and other reusable filter systems
- Some users found the filter paper tore
7. Best Portable: Boolavard Portable Coffee Filter Paper Bag
Imagine packing your backpack for a three-day camping trip. Check off all the things you need, including food, water and of course, coffee. But bringing all the accoutrements to make a cup of filter coffee at the campsite can really add weight to your gear. Sure, you can always bring a small jar of instant, but why compromise on full-bodied flavor when you can bring these portable paper coffee filters you hang from your mug.
The bags are designed with a hanging-ear hook design that makes them simple to use, allowing you to make a great cup of coffee in less than five minutes. These are so easy to use. Just open the flaps from each side of the filter bag and place it on you mug. Pour a measured amount of ground coffee into the filter, add a bit of boiling water and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then slowly pour more water through the filter bag until the mug is filled. Throw away the biodegradable filter and enjoy your coffee.
- Made of biodegradable paper
- Fits on any size mug
- Portable and lightweight
- Needs a spoon or funnel to fill so grinds don’t end up in coffee
8. Best Value: MRK 8-12 Cup Basket Paper Coffee Filters
We can all agree that paper coffee filters are super convenient. Easy to use, once the coffee has brewed, you just lift the grinds-filled paper filter out of the basket and toss it into the garbage or compost heap. If you use a standard coffee machine that makes between eight and 12 cups of coffee, then you will need basket-shaped filters.
Whether you make many pots of coffee in a day or just one, the number of disposable paper filters you use can quickly add up, costing more money than necessary. That’s why we chose these white paper basket filters from MRK. With 300 in the package, it’s an economically smart option. And if 300 are too many for you, the filters are divided into two, individually wrapped bundles of 150, ideal for sharing with a friend.
The disposable filters are made from crepe textured paper that stay in place, trapping the oils and gritty sediment that can sometimes turn a good cup of coffee bitter. They are also chlorine-free, biodegradable, recyclable, safe to put in your compost heap and compatible with Hamilton Beach, Black & Decker and Mr. Coffee home coffee machines.
- Good value
- Some users found the filters to be too short to fit enough coffee for 12 cups
What to look for when choosing coffee filters:
If you’re new to the world of coffee, then it might seem silly to be talking about coffee filters. After all, the name itself is pretty self-explanatory: it is a device used to filter coffee. The reality is, however, that there are so many different ways to brew coffee, one type of filter won’t be suitable for all machines and methods of brewing.
Choose your method of brewing, then choose your filter:
With a drip coffee machine, you place your favorite blend of ground coffee into a filter, pour water into a reservoir, turn the machine on and hot water begins to slowly drip from the top of the device onto the grounds, dripping coffee into a carafe below.
Sounds simple, and it is, except… Some of these machines come with a reusable plastic and metal mesh coffee filter, while others have a designated space to put a disposable paper filter. If it needs a paper filter, then you have to notice the size of the basket: is it for one to two cups, four to six cups, or eight to 12 cups? Is the shape of the basket cone-like or square? All of this will factor into the size and type of filter you buy, whether it’s paper or plastic and mesh. Even a reusable filter can get lost or damaged and need to be replaced.
We’ve just been discussing drip coffee machines, but there are other methods that require a filter, such as the pour-over method. This is where a filter sits directly on a coffee mug or carafe and you manually pour water slowly over coffee grinds, instead of a machine doing it. A pour-over can make only one cup of coffee, or multiple cups, depending on its size, and each method will require a different size filter. Many of these require the use of a plastic, ceramic or stainless steel filter fitted with a disposable paper filter inside to hold the grinds, however, some models use a reusable filter.
Finally, there is the k-cup method of brewing a single serving at a time. Many machines use disposable coffee pods, resulting in billions of pods going into landfill. These days, if you enjoy a Keuring-like system, it’s possible to purchase a reusable plastic pod filter that uses disposable paper filters, for an eco-friendly option.
The decision to choose paper (white or natural), reusable plastic and mesh or reusable stainless steel is a personal decision based on convenience and environmentally conscious living.
Photo credit: Ian Dikhtiar/Shutterstock