Bean Ground

How to Brew with a Coffee Sock (Old School Filters!)

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I’ve been brewing manual pour-over coffee for some time now, and I’m pretty set in my ways with my Hario V60, it’s my go-to for almost all of my daily coffee brewing. However, just when I thought nothing could get in between me and my Hario V60 along comes the coffee sock!

Brewing in a coffee sock is one of the easiest ways to make great tasting coffee at home, as strange as it sounds this brew method is nothing new, in fact, it’s been used for a long time in countries such as Costa Rica, Cuba, and Mexico, to name just a few. In Costa Rica, it goes by the name Chorreador (1), and before the invention of modern age push-button coffee makers almost every home in Costa Rica used a Chorreador to make coffee.

The problem with today’s coffee consumption is the waste, every time we use paper filters the planet takes another hit, and that’s not even taking into consideration the emissions pumped into the air by the production to make all of the paper filters we use.

But it is possible to change our ways if everyone decided to use a cloth sock filter we would be able to decrease the amount of deforestation and garbage that’s a byproduct of our craving for coffee. Even though paper coffee filters are a very convenient tool for today’s coffee drinkers, reusable cloth filters are a great way to make a difference; and your coffee tastes better too!

But, before you go running off to your sock drawer there are many purpose-made coffee socks already in the marketplace, so there’s no need to sacrifice a pair of your old socks.

Coffee Sock Brewing At A Glance

What You Need

  • 20 grams of coffee.
  • A coffee sock filter.
  • Coffee Scale.
  • Burr grinder for a consistently even grind.
  • Wooden spoon.

End Result

  • Total brew time: 03:00 Minutes.
  • Yield: 1 Mug (12-ounce).
  • Cup Characteristics: Syrupy, rich, bold cup, more flavor.

How to Brew Coffee in a Sock!

Brewing in a coffee sock filter isn’t as hard as you might think, in fact, it’s pretty easy, and they work in almost the same way as regular paper filters. Let’s take a closer look at how simple it really is to brew with one of these cloth filters.

Step 1: Place The Coffee Sock Into Your Mug

hario woodneck cloth filter

Take your coffee sock and place it directly into your mug, if you’re handy with DIY you can knock up a wooden stand like I have done to hold your sock!

Step 2: Add Your Ground Coffee

ground coffee inside of a sock

I’ve been experimenting with my filter since I got it and I’ve been getting a good result by using a drip ground grind. The brewing ratio I use is 17 to 1 (17 grams of water per 1 gram of coffee), but you’ll need to work out how many grams your mug holds.

I prefer the easy route and use my coffee scale but for those of you following along that haven’t purchased a good coffee scale below is some simple math to help you out.

  • A typical 12-ounce mug of coffee is around 340 grams.
  • So, 340 divides by 17 will give you about 20 grams of coffee.
  • When you buy coffee the scoop that is inside the tub typically holds about 10 grams of coffee.
  • So about 2 coffee scoops for a 12-ounce coffee mug.
  • If you have a 16-ounce coffee mug, add about 1/2 a scoop more.
  • If you have an 8-ounce coffee mug, take away about 1/2 a scoop.

Step 3: Pour Over Your Hot Water

coffee blooming in a cloth sock filter

Bring your water to the boil and once boiled allow it to stand for roughly 30 seconds to bring it to the best brewing temperature. Pour a small amount of water in a circular motion over your coffee grounds, just enough to dampen the grounds.

This is the coffee bloom stage, and you’re allowing the freshly ground coffee to agitate a little and to release some trapped CO2.

After roughly 30 seconds has past continue pouring over your water in a circular motion making sure not to touch the sides and that all of the coffee grounds make contact with the water (you can use a spoon or a wooden chopstick to completely saturate to grounds if needed).

Step 4: Play The Waiting Game!

coffee draining through a sock filter

Since I got my hands on the coffee sock, I’ve been playing around with brew times, and I have great results using a 3-minute window. However, I strongly encourage you to experiment and find out what works best for you (changing your coffee grinding size can extend or speed up the brew time).

Step 5: Remove the Sock Filter and Serve

cloth sock coffee filter inside of a Mason Jar

Once your coffee has completely drained, you can remove the sock filter and enjoy your coffee how you would usually.

Coffee Sock Maintenance

  1. Rinse out the coffee sock filter after each use. NEVER use soap or detergent. Instead, gently rinse and let it air dry. Note: don’t worry if the filter begins to turn brown, this stain is entirely natural and to be expected.
  2. Once a week, clean the cloth filter with salt. Run under water then pour a handful into it and rub it in. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the filter before letting it air dry.
  3. If the filter starts to look very past its prime replace it. Coffee socks can last anywhere from two months to two years if properly maintained and cared for.

3 Reasons Why I Love Reusable Coffee Socks

If you still aren’t convinced at how awesome these reusable filters are, below are three reasons why I think you should start using a cloth sock filter today.

1. Cloth Sock Filters Can Be Used For Ages

I have ditched the paper filter for the past couple of months since I got my hands on these fabric filters. There aren’t as clean as when they were first used but to be honest that just adds to the flavor of each brew, just like a good iron skillet the coffee sock will get better over time. Just make sure you rinse the filters under warm water after each use and hang them to dry (don’t use soap or detergent).

2. Cloth Filters Help To Create A Syrupy Body

I’ve always enjoyed a clean cup brewed with a paper filter, but the rich, full-bodied cup the coffee sock gives is out of this world. The cloth filter allows for more of the coffee goodness to flow through, such as the natural oils and a slight bit of sediment. I guess the taste experience is very similar if you were to use a reusable metal filter but the cloth has a slight syrupy taste advantage in my opinion.

3. Coffee Socks Are Travel-Friendly

If you have limited space when you next pack your bags for a trip, ditch those bundles of paper filters and even the metal filter and instead replace your coffee kit with the coffee sock. This filter takes up hardly any room in your bag – well as much room as a sock! And because it can be washed and reused you’ll be happy knowing that you’ll always have a coffee filter to hand wherever you are.

References
(1) Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorreador

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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