Coffee, in different parts of the world happens to be a regular part of many people’s day to day lifestyle, the easier it is to make coffee with good quality and taste, the better. Something that’s taken so often should be easy to make, the more reason it is important to optimize every process involved in coffee making including the brewing.
Coffee brewing is a principal part of coffee making and some of the commonest methods used for brewing involve the use of filters which come in different forms and types. The coffee filter is quite important because this is what is used to get your coffee out in a pure liquid form void of unnecessary particles.
If you regularly brew home-made coffee, then one of the random but important questions you may have is: ‘how often should I change my coffee filter?’
Is a coffee filter actually necessary, what exactly is it used for?
Although there are a few methods of brewing coffee that may not directly involve the use of a filter, still, fact is that the common, easy, and efficient methods of brewing coffee involve the use of filters.
Brewing methods that make use of filters involve pouring of hot water into the grounded coffee beans that must have been poured into the coffee filter which perhaps has been placed on a coffee basket. The hot water runs through the grounded coffee beans dissolving and carrying the soluble components along through the filter and the brewed coffee is gotten in a pot.
The basic purpose of the filter used during the brewing is to hold the insoluble particles of the coffee beans and allow the passage of the dissolved liquid into a container. If the coffee filter is not used, the particles will just pass through along with the water and you’ll just have your coffee with a lot of undesired particles inside.
What determines how often you have to change your coffee filter?
How often you will have to change your coffee filter will depend on a major factor, this will largely determine the frequency of replacing your coffee filter.
Types of coffee filter
There are different types of coffee filters, and how often you will change them depend on the type. The various types include the paper filters, metal filters, cloth filters and nylon filters.
Not only will the knowledge of these various filters help you know how often you ought to change your filter, but it will also help you to make more proper choices when next you want to get a filter for your coffee machine.
These paper filters are usually produced in certain sizes and shapes based on the type of coffee maker basket they are to be used along with. There is the think cone type and the flat -bottomed variety. They can also vary in thickness, the thicker ones are usually more expensive than the thinner ones, the types made of thinner paper will filter less of the coffee oil, while the thicker ones filter out the oils better.
Regardless of what brand or thickness the paper filter is, ideally, it should not be used more than once. Once you have used it to brew your coffee, you remove it from the coffee maker basket and dispose it. Although some people might try to use the paper filters more than once, it is not very okay to do so. Basically they were designed to be used just once. They are inexpensive and they come in multipacks that you can easily buy in stores and use whenever you need to.
It is therefore best to use once, remove and dispose when using paper filters.
These are much more durable than paper filters, they can last for a long time. They are made from finely woven wire mesh, it is commonly stainless steel that is coated with gold plating and they are called ‘gold tone’. Just like the filter papers, they are also produced according to specific sizes and shapes so as to be used along with certain types of coffee makers. They come in cone shapes or flat-bottom shapes. Metal filters usually filter out the grounds but do not filter the oil part out, this makes the coffee brewed using metal filters to be better flavoured retaining the oils.
This type of coffee filters can last a long time, and if you are wondering when you should change this type of coffee filters, all you might just need to observe is the quality of the coffee you get from it. If the quality begins to go down, then you might want to get another one.
Also if you notice rust happening to the metal, you might want to change it. Generally, ‘gold tone’ or metal filters are produced in such a way that they can last for a long time. You can use it for as long as it’s effective and neat. All you just need to do to maintain this type of coffee is to remove it and wash and clean it every time you are done with brewing.
Just as the name implies, this type of filters is usually made from natural fabrics like muslin or cotton. They are more permissible to the grounds than the paper filter type since they have larger pore openings. They are usually dropped into the filter basket and the water poured after the grounds have been put on the filter.
Cloth filters are also re-usable for several months. To maintain them, you wash after use every time. If the pores get torn or the filter is affected in any way as to reduce the effectiveness of the cloth filter, then you will have to change it.
Interestingly, some other brands of coffee filters are produced from fine nylon mesh that has been put on a plastic basket. They are also non-absorbent like metal filters and they filter the grounds but not the oils since the nylons are not absorbent like paper filters. They also come in cone and flat-bottom styles. One of the advantages of nylon filters is that they are more affordable than metal filters, although not as durable, but can still be used for a long time if they are carefully cleaned and handled.
Of all the types of coffee filters, paper mesh is the least durable, and can ideally be used only once. Other types can last for longer periods as long as they are properly cleaned and maintained.
Perhaps, your choice of the coffee filter you are making use of was determined certain peculiar factors as to your taste, convenience and how you like your coffee. If durability is your concern, then you might want to go for the more durable and suitable types other than types that won’t last long.
Best coffee filters to try:
If you happen to be a heavy coffee drinker and you probably brew almost every time, then you might want to go for a coffee filter like the metal type which has higher durability. Should in case you prefer the paper filters that come in packs, then you might want to go for the unbleached paper filter type. Paper filters are either of the bleached type or unbleached. The unbleached is better because it is not quoted with any chemical and so, is more natural than the bleached type which is either coated with chlorine or oxygen. Although some might complain of the paper taste entering into their coffee when they use the unbleached paper filters, there is an easy way to remove the paper taste and get your coffee the way you want it.
Also, depending on how flavoured you want your coffee to be, your choice of coffee filter matters. If you do not want the oils in your coffee and you want to avoid the cholesterol content as much as possible, then you will need to choose a very absorbent coffee filter like the paper filters. This will ensure that the terpenes are filtered out considerably.
If, on the other hand, you like your coffee to be well flavoured, then you will want to retain the oils in the coffee and filter out only the grounds, filters like the metal filters will be good options in such a case. Here are some very good and recommended coffee filters for you to try out if you are looking for effective and suitable ones.
Hario size 2 Natural Paper Cone Coffee Filters (100-count)
This particular natural paper filter is unbleached, which means it brings your coffee out as original as possible. It is in three different sizes and you can choose from the variety depending on your brewing set up. (sizes 01, 02 and 03). These paper filters are thick but still very effective. The capacity of 02 is 1-4 cups. It has a small tab on the side which makes it easier to lift the filter after use, but if the untabbed version is your preference, you can also get it.
CoffeeSock Reusable Filters
This particular coffee filter is made of cotton and is reusable, it can be used in different brewing methods like Chemex, drip coffee makers and cold brew coffee. Another impressive thing about this product is that the cotton used in producing the filter is certified organic, that is it is going to be more health-friendly than the synthetic types of filters. It is quite easy to use, the design is user-friendly, plus, the materials used are of quality.
By means of maintenance, cleaning this brand of coffee filter is actually easy, as all you need to do after use is to simply dump, rinse and hang dry it, and the next time you need it, you pick it.
Two major advantages to this product is that it is re-usable and the material is also certified organic, it’s a top notch option. By choosing this brand of coffee filter, you will likely worry less about changing your coffee filter so often.
Conclusion on How often should you change the Coffee Filter
For many of the methods employed in brewing, filters are used. Durability of the various types of coffee filters (paper filters, nylon filters, metal filters, cloth filters) is important to know so as to be able to make more informed choices.
User’s preference and consumer preference is key in the choice of filters, but the choice of filter type goes on to determine the extent of durability. For paper types, they are not quite durable but can produce good coffee with less of cholesterol, but for types like the metal filters, they are quite durable, but produce coffee with more oils retained in them. Other types have their merits and demerits and the choice largely becomes that of the user.