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Permanent Coffee Filter vs. Paper

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Over the years, I have been led to believe that paper coffee filters are the only filters you should use if you truly appreciate the flavors of coffee.
Ask any coffee connoisseur, and they will probably tell you the same.

However, recently I am starting to rethink and question the permanent coffee filter vs. paper debate. The new materials used in permanent filters have come a long way in recent years, and I’m curious whether they can now outperform paper.

From my taste tests brewing coffee, I find that new permanent coffee filters make the coffee taste better when compared to using regular paper filters.

The problem with paper is that they absorb a lot of the coffee oils that ultimately contribute to the flavor of your coffee.

Using the permanent metal filter, I have found that my coffee is far more enjoyable and has a much richer flavor and fuller body.

If you haven’t experimented brewing with permanent coffee filters, I suggest that you give them a try.

– if you enjoy a bold cup of coffee that’s full of flavor, I think you’re better off using a reusable coffee filter.

The Differences Between the Two Coffee Filter Types

If you are unsure what these two types of coffee filters are, I’ve provided a few details below.

Also, I have briefly talked about the gold coffee filter, which is another good permanent option for filtering your coffee.

Paper Coffee Filters

coffee blooming in a paper filter

Paper coffee filters or sometimes referred to as disposable filters, are made from crepe paper and are the perfect option for quickly brewing a carafe of coffee without the hassle of cleaning up afterward.

Once your brew is done, you remove the paper filter and throw it in the trash.

A Bleached paper filter might be more convenient but not so good for the environment.

Yes, they are biodegradable, and if you consider yourself an environmentalist, choosing to use a paper coffee filter in your coffee maker probably isn’t going to help you save the planet.

If you’re worried about the effect of waste and ultimately the environment, then I would recommend permanent coffee filters as a better alternative – more on those below.

There are typically two types of paper coffee filters, those that are bleached and those that are unbleached.

For many of you reading this, the taste difference between the two is going to be unnoticeable. However, many coffee connoisseurs will quickly tell you that unbleached filters can destroy the taste of your coffee.

The slight difference is not all that evident, and it boils down to your personal taste on which coffee filters are best.

Permanent or Reusable Coffee Filters

Gold-tone coffee filter

One of my gripes with paper filters is trying to find replacements in your local store. Getting the right size can be a nightmare, and I often find the size I want is not available or the regular brand of filters I use is sold out.

You don’t have that problem with a permanent coffee filter because once you’ve purchased the permanent metal filter, you wash it and re-use it.

If you want to brew coffee the cheapest way while retaining the full flavor of the coffee, the one-time investment for a permanent coffee filter is worth the price.

Once you have a reusable filter, you don’t have to worry about buying coffee filters in the foreseeable future.

Typically, a pack of paper coffee filters costs around 2 or 3 bucks.

This doesn’t sound like much, but when you sit back and break down the costs over a year, then the one-off cost of a permanent coffee filter seems like the far better option, especially if you drink a lot of coffee.

Permanent or reusable coffee filters come in various styles and types. The cheaper filters are typically made out of nylon material and you can also purchase a cloth filter.

But gold-tone coffee filters (made out of gold) are fast becoming the go-to for coffee lovers that enjoy a full-flavored cup of coffee.

Let’s take a closer look at these gold coffee filters below.

Advantages of a Gold Coffee Filter?

Gold coffee filters are now a standard in many of the best drip coffee makers, and many coffee drinkers swear that they give an improved taste to their coffee versus regular filters.

I’m still on the fence.

I have tried brewed coffee using gold-tone coffee filters, and while they do seem to allow more sediment to flow through the filter basket along with more flavorful oils, it’s barely noticeable when compared with the cheaper nylon variety.

I am confident that many of you reading this also won’t notice much of a difference.

But with a gold filter, it’s not just about the taste profile.

One of the main benefits of gold coffee filters that I cannot argue with is their longevity.

For a one-time investment of around $30, you can buy a 24 karat gold plated coffee filter that’s going to be far longer lasting than the other types.

Gold is quite durable, so a filter made from gold should last for many years without needing to be replaced, so it will pay for its self-overtime.

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Are White or Brown Coffee Filters Better?

Suppose you decide that paper coffee filters are your filter of choice. It can get confusing when you’re choosing between either white or and brown coffee filters.

 – Which ones are better?

 – And which ones should you buy?

Most of the cheap disposable coffee filters are bleached using a chemical such as chlorine; I would stay clear of any bleached coffee filter if you value the taste of your coffee and even your health.

But, if you can’t live without a white paper filter, try looking for some Melitta coffee filters because they have been whitened using a natural oxygen process rather than chemicals – a far better option than a regular bleached filter.

Brown paper coffee filters are the healthier option as they tend not to be processed using chemicals (just like brown bread and white bread) but always double-check the packet to be 100% sure.

Want to know more? Make sure you check out this article on bleached vs. unbleached coffee filters for more in-depth information.

Which Is the Healthier Option: Permanent coffee Filters or Paper?

After a bit of research, there do seem to be some health issues regarding paper and permanent coffee filters.

The main point of concern is cholesterol.

It appears that brewing coffee with a paper filter traps more oily substances in the coffee called diterpenes ( 1 ), whereas permanent filters allow more of these diterpenes to pass through into your cup.

When consumed, these coffee oil compounds essentially block cholesterol-regulating receptors in the intestines.

The intestines can then no longer correctly regulate the amounts of cholesterol absorbed and excreted, leading to elevated blood cholesterol levels.

Since paper coffee filters trap most of these diterpenes from your coffee grounds, they can decrease the risk of coffee-related cholesterol increases in the body.

Now I don’t want to scare you, but as far as I’m concerned, the risks are small according to the documents I have read, and the pros seem to outweigh the cons – in my opinion.

I still prefer to use a permanent coffee filter rather than a paper one, and I don’t plan on changing back to paper anytime soon.

What’s your favorite type of coffee filter?

FAQs

📌 Do You Need A Paper Filter To Brew With A Permanent Coffee Filter?

Simple answer, No. Paper filters can be used in your coffee maker’s filter basket by themselves. The same goes for a permanent coffee filter. But, if you want to use a paper filter inside your permanent filter, you can, but there is no need. You’re just making more work for yourself and increasing your cost per cup.

📌 What Are The Downsides Of Using A Permanent Coffee Filter?

The main con of using a permanent coffee filter is the extra cleaning involved after brewing coffee. Also, you will notice more sediment inside of your cup, and the oils found in the coffee are not absorbed into the metal filter as they are with paper.

📌 Does It Matter What Coffee Filter You Use?

No, it doesn’t matter which type of coffee filter you use. It comes down to personal preference. If you prefer a more flavorful cup of coffee, go with a reusable permanent filter. If you want to reduce the oils and sediment from reaching your cup, opt for a paper filter.

📌 Can You Reuse Coffee Filters?

Permanent metal, gold, cloth, or nylon coffee filters can be reused. In most cases, they can be used over and over again for many years. Paper filters, on the other hand, need to be thrown away after each use.

References
(1) Science Direct. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/diterpenes

Mark Morphew

Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the popular coffee blog - Bean Ground. He's been active in the catering and hospitality industry for over 20 years. When he's not fiddling around with a new coffee gadget, you'll find him busy working on his other passion, web development. You can discover more about Mark here.