Permanent Coffee Filter vs. Paper (Which is BEST?) • Bean Ground

Permanent Coffee Filter vs. Paper

Over the years I have been led to believe that paper coffee filters are the only filters you should be using 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 old debate of permanent coffee filter vs. paper.

With the new permanent coffee filters in the marketplace, I find that the taste is a lot better when compared to using 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.

​However, using the permanent metal filter, I have found that my coffee is far more enjoyable and has a much richer flavor and fuller body. So if you're on the fence I strongly suggest that you give a permanent coffee filter a try, I think they're better than using the paper filters - if you enjoy a bold cup of coffee that's full of flavor.

​If you've had a similar experience let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

​The Differences Between the Two Coffee Filter Types

​If you are unsure of exactly 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

Paper Coffee Filter

​Paper coffee filter or sometimes referred to as disposable filters are made from crepe paper and are the perfect option for quickly making a carafe of coffee without the hassle of cleaning up afterward. Once your brew is done you just remove the paper filter and throw in the trash.

​Paper filters may be more convenient but not so good for the environment. Yes, they are biodegradable but if you consider yourself an environmentalist the paper filters probably aren’t going to help you to save the planet. If you're worried about the effect of waste and ultimately the environment, then I would definitely 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, some coffee connoisseurs will quickly tell you that unbleached filters can destroy the taste of your coffee. To be honest, the slight difference is really not all that evident, and it really boils down to your personal taste on which coffee filters are best.

​Permanent or Reusable Coffee Filters

Permanent or Reusable Coffee Filter

​One of my pet hates with paper filters is when you are trying to find replacements in your local store, getting the right size can be a pain in the ass challenge if you have a new coffee maker or if your regular brand of filters is sold out. With permanent coffee filters, you don’t have that problem because once you've purchased the permanent filter, you wash it and simply re-use it.

​If you want to brew coffee the cheapest way while keeping the full flavor of the coffee, the one-time investment for a permanent coffee filter is worth the price, once you have it, 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 work out the costs over a year then the one-off cost of a permanent coffee filter seems like the far better option, right?

​Permanent or reusable coffee filters come in various styles and types, the cheaper filters are typically made out of a nylon material. But gold-tone coffee filters (made out of gold) are becoming the latest must have for coffee lovers. Let’s take a closer look these gold coffee filters below.

If you brew coffee using a Chemex or a Hario V60, 02 and 03 drippers, I HIGHLY recommend using the Able Brewing Reusable Kone Coffee Filter.

This coffee filter is a stainless steel reusable filter which will allow for more oils to pass through compared to a paper filter which in-turn will give you a fuller bodied cup of coffee. Plus you’ll save money not buying paper filters! You can find it at Amazon.

​Advantages of a Gold Coffee Filter?

​Gold coffee filters are now a standard in the best coffee makers, and coffee lovers and some coffee blogs swear until they're blue in the face that they give an improved taste to their coffee. I’m still on the fence, I have tried gold-tone coffee filters, and while they do seem to allow more sediment to flow through the filter basket along with more flavor oils, I don’t it's barely noticeable when compared with the cheaper nylon variety. Have you tried the gold-tone? What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment below.

​One of the main benefits of gold coffee filters that I cannot argue with is their longevity. For a onetime investment of around $30, you can buy a 24 karat gold plated coffee filter like this one that's far more durable that the other types. To be honest, it should last you for many years without needing to be replaced, so it will actually pay for its self-overtime.

​Are White or Brown Coffee Filters Better?

​If you decide that paper coffee filters are your filter of choice, GREAT - but it can get even more confusing when you are faced with both white and brown coffee filters at your local store, which ones are better? And which ones should you buy?

​Most of the cheap paper coffee filters are bleached using a chemical such as chlorine; I personally would stay clear of bleached white coffee filters if you value the taste of your coffee and even your health. However, if you can’t live without white paper filters try looking for some Melitta coffee filters as they are whitened using a natural oxygen process.

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 check out this bleached vs. unbleached coffee filters article.  

​Which Is the Healthier Option? Paper or Permanent Filters

​Ok so after a bit of research there does seem to be some health issues regarding paper and permanent coffee filters. The concern is regarding cholesterol; it appears that paper filters trap more oily substances in the coffee called diterpenes whereas permanent filters allow more of these diterpenes to filter through.

​When consumed these oily compounds essentially block cholesterol-regulating receptors in the intestines. The intestines can then no longer correctly regulate the amounts of cholesterol absorbed and excreted which can lead to elevated blood cholesterol levels. Since paper coffee filters trap most of these diterpenes, 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 (but I'm NO Doctor), and the pros outweigh the cons. I still prefer to use a permanent coffee filter over a paper one, and I don’t plan on changing back to paper anytime soon. What's your favorite type of coffee filter?

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Mark Morphew

Mark is the guy brewing up Bean Ground. He likes to think of himself as a bit of a coffee fanatic who can never get enough coffee! You'll often find him in a caffeine induced rant talking about... you guessed it, coffee.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 14 comments
Vaughn Bishop

Can a person put a brown #4 cone filter in a wire permanent filter and brew successfully? I read a lot about fine wire coffee maker filters clogging and ones with larger mesh letting too much coffee grounds into the finished product. So would putting a paper filter inside the permanent wire filter solve that problem???


    Hey Vaughn,

    I haven’t tried it to be honest. In theory you should not have an issue using a paper filter inside of a permanent filter. Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

    Mahad Imran

    Actually!!! that is how I always make my coffee, and yea if you wana go cheap than just use some paper towel under a permanent coffee filter (nylon ones) and that works just like a paper filter than. Also the clogging thing only happens if you are making a full pot I almost never have to go so far so it works for me.


Thanks for this post, I was wondering this very thing this morning, I have a brand new Cusinart coffee maker that came with a gold filter, and some people on the internet say to use a paper filter as well as the gold.


    Hey Donna, personally I would just go ahead and use the Gold Filter “as-is” without using a paper filter with it. The Only reason I can see in using a second paper filter would be to catch more of the oils and possibly a very small amount of sediment that would otherwise pass through the permanent filter. Also to note, you can get an unwanted paper tastes in your end brew when using paper filters.

Cormac Smith

I just bought a new system with a gold-tone permanent filter included. I love the richer flavor and body over the paper filters. My wife likes flavored coffee. With paper filters, this is no problem, since you use a clean one each time. I’m concerned about doing this with the permanent filter, though. Will I risk a “flavor stain” on the filter from putting flavored coffee in it? I haven’t been able to find any info on this on the web. I thought maybe you would have an idea on this.


    Hey Cormac, I can’t see there being any issues with tainting from using the flavored coffee in the permanent filter as long as it is washed with hot water DIRECTLY after use maybe with a drop of detergent. However, you could try using a paper filter inside of your permanent filter if you are concerned.

    Let me know how you got on


Have been using a gold permanent filter for years. Just tried a paper filter today for the first time to reduce sediment in the pot. When pouring a cup the sediment is removed but the oils are much lease noticeable on the surface. Thus a huge disappointment in taste and aroma – would not have imagined such a difference. Will not be using paper again.

Mark, one other point to consider regarding cost and environment is the time and amount of hot water used when cleaning the gold permanent filter each time coffee is made.


We have a cheaper coffee pot and the reusable filter is made out of plastic and some kind of mesh. It makes the coffee taste so bitter I can’t even drink it! I’ll be sticking with paper filters for this reason!


    Hi Audra, Plastic and coffee never go well together! I recommend you take a look at a metal or gold tone permanent coffee filter, but paper is fine too if you’re happy with using those.


      Thanks for the tip! I think I will try a gold one because I like to creat less waste where I can!


I switched from paper filters to a gold perm. and I love it. I’ll probably go out and buy another perm filter for a back up when the one I’m using gets worn out. It’s not metal so that’s cool. Clean up isn’t as bad as some make it seem. I tap it a few times and the remaining grounds that remain are not that much and I rinse it with hot water. I could wait and let the coffee grounds dry out and then do it so that there is not really any grounds left in the filter. Since switching to the perm. gold filter I have not had the problem of any leftover coffee on the bottom of my coffee cup or anything like that. I love that my coffee tastes rich and bold and I drink my coffee BLACK. I rotate two different kinds of Starbucks or Cameron’s Coffee daily. I love both of these brands and will buy the Starbucks coffee when it’s on sale. Those are the only two brands I will stick to now that I’ve tried other brands that were in the organic section. Not enough variety. Hands down for the perm. filter. I will not be going back to paper filters. No way in hell.

Walter F Travers

Just tried a Gold Tone #4 permanent filter in my Clever Dripper Coffee maker and was surprised and Disappointed! Coffee was thinner and weaker than prior day with paper filter. I also noted the water seemed to drip out of the cone about twice as fast as with the paper filter and there was a lot of “mud” on bottom of cup.
All other variables were pretty close to what I had the day before (locally roasted coffee, tho’ commercial retail store; Breville Burr grinder set at medium fine, 200 degr water and 3:30 min steep time….) Admittedly, I am new to this type of brewing and still experimenting, but was surprised at difference the filter made!

Perhaps I have a bad filter???


I’ve noticed that after switching from paper to a metal filter my face is breaking out. And I am 65 years old! I can’t attritribite this to anything else. It must be the oils now in my coffee. I am going back to paper filters. Plus the mess of cleaning up a metal filter is no small thing when done on a daily basis.


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