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Standard Paper vs. AeroPress Metal Filter

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If you’re a real coffee lover chances are you’ve already stumbled upon the AeroPress coffee maker or at the very least heard of the AeroPress, if you haven’t where have you been? The AeroPress is a large coffee making syringe that produces an “espresso like” coffee using pressure and pure muscle power. The resulting coffee is great on its own, or it can be used as a base for other coffee concoctions.

Now the standard AeroPress kit that you can pick up from Amazon or at your local store comes supplied with a pack of 350 paper filters, a coffee scoop, and a stirrer along with a few other parts. The paper filters are great, but after a while, you’ll probably start thinking (like I did) whether using an AeroPress metal filter is going to produce a better-tasting cup and save you money in the long run.

​Could I possibly be missing some bolder flavors in my morning brew by not using the metal AeroPress filter? These thoughts were running through my mind, so I gave in and decided to buy the AeroPress metal filter to give it a try. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why not!

​AeroPress Filters: Your Options

As I have already mentioned the AeroPress comes with a pack of 350 (disposable) paper filters, I say disposable, but you can actually reuse these paper coffee filters, simply rinse them once they have been used and place them back into the plastic filter cap of the AeroPress to dry.

​I’m sure there are a few coffee aficionados shouting NOOO at the top of their lungs after reading that remark. But, yes you can reuse them, and many AeroPress users do just that. But you can’t do reuse the filter indefinitely and to be honest, two or three times should really be the limit.

​Buying an AeroPress metal reusable filter is your next (and better) option, and there are a few different types in the marketplace. The CremaCraft, the Able Disk Fine, and the Able Disk Standard seem to be the three top AeroPress reusable filter contenders (at the time of writing).

​After doing a bit of research (jumping from different coffee forums and speaking to a few friends), I decided to purchase the Able Disk Standard AeroPress filter to see how it stacked up against using a paper filter.

AeroPress Metal Filter vs. Paper

The AeroPress metal filter taste test. I’m sure if you’re reading this that’s what’s most important, right? The first thing I noticed when I finished plunging down my AeroPress using the Able AeroPress metal filter was the sheer amount of oils floating on the surface of my coffee concentrate.

​This probably shouldn’t have come as much surprise seeing as the paper filters typically do filter out a lot of these coffee oils. These oils add a little more flavor and body to your coffee, and I noticed on my first sip that the brew made with the AeroPress metal filter had an earthier taste, which I prefer!

However, the AeroPress metal filter does tend to let through more coffee sediment, and I did notice some sludge at the bottom of my mug. But it wasn’t a crazy amount and didn’t bother me!

However, to combat this make you can grind your coffee slightly coarser, I have found that a grind between fine and a medium works great (think fine sand), but it’s all about trial and error using your coffee grinder until you find the perfect grind that works for you.

​Another problem with the paper AeroPress filters is that they do tend to leave a papery taste in the final brew. To help reduce this unwanted paper taste try pre-moistening your paper filter before you use it.

​Convenience also plays a significant factor in using the AeroPress metal filter over the paper. The paper filter wins hands down with after brew cleanup, all that is needed is to unscrew the filter cap and shoot your expired coffee grounds and filter into the garbage.

​The AeroPress reusable metal filters need a bit more hands-on cleaning. You have to separate the metal filter from the grounds, then dump your grounds and hand wash your metal filter. It can get messy and more time is definitely needed to clean the clogged holes on the filter thoroughly.

​However, it’s a small price to pay in my opinion, just don’t forget you’re using the metal filter when you stumble around the kitchen at 5 am only to discover later in the day that you shot it in the garbage with your expired coffee grounds thinking it was paper!

​To Summarize: AeroPress Metal Filter and Standard Paper

  • AeroPress Metal Filter: using the metal filter will give you a bolder tasting cup of coffee with a stronger more intense aroma. You may find that coffee can get through the metal holes so play with your grind until you find what works for you.
  • AeroPress Paper Filter: the standard paper filter will remove almost all of the coffee oils, the end brew lacks boldness. Also, the coffee is too clean for my taste, and I prefer the more French Press brewing qualities the metal filter provides.

Mark Morphew

Mark is a coffee addict. Also, he's the guy behind the coffee blog Bean Ground. You'll almost always find him in a caffeine-induced rant talking about everything to do with coffee! Mark has been active in the catering and hospitality industry for many years and is a proud member of the Speciality Coffee Association. Discover more about Mark here.

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