Coffee filters were invented in the early 1900s by Melitta Benz, a housewife from Dresden, Germany with a big passion for coffee. She was brewing coffees daily and was not happy with the fact that too many coffee grounds were getting into her final cup. To solve this problem, she linked two things together in a way they have never been linked before: Coffee and paper. Her simple, but revolutionary idea was to use paper to filter out the coffee grounds. Benz punctured the bottom of a brass pot with a hammer and nails and lined it up with a thick and porous sheet of blotting paper that she took from the school-notebook of her son.
Her idea proved to be fruitful: Clear and delicious coffee was dripping into the cup. The paper was covered with the unwanted, bitter grounds.
Nowadays there are four different types of filters to choose from: paper, metal, permanent and cloth.
If you choose to use paper filters, it’s important to look for quality brands. Good paper coffee filters are from 100% virgin paper.
White Paper Coffee Filters
Compared to natural, brown paper filters, most white paper filters do not affect the flavours of our cup of coffee. The technology is advanced so that we do not have to worry about the chemicals that were used to process the paper filters. Only a minimum of bleach is used and it’s not enough to get into our coffee. If we want to make sure, that white paper filters will not affect the taste of your coffee, we can conduct a small experiment. We can pour water through rinsed and also through non-rinsed paper filters and taste it afterwards to check if there is a difference in taste.
Natural, Brown Paper Coffee Filters
These filters are unprocessed and naturally coloured. They are environmentally friendly. When using an unbleached filter, it’s recommended to wet the filter before brewing your coffee.
Bamboo Coffee Filters
Bamboo is a naturally renewing resource that grows much more quickly than the type of tree used for paper pulp.
The type of filter you use when brewing coffee will have an affect on the final coffee flavours. It makes a difference if you use very thin or thick paper filters. For example, Chemex manufactures thicker paper filters, which absorb more aromatic oils compared to the thinner filters of Hario V60 / Melitta.