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Home Brewing: Figuring Out Your Filter

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It was over 100 years ago that the coffee filter was invented. A German housewife wanted coffee that was not too bitter, and she poured hot water over a piece of blotting paper that held the coffee grounds. Years later, coffee makers and baristas all across the globe still use the same idea.

Unlike the paper filters of the past, the coffee filters of today come in all shapes, sizes and materials to help you create the perfectly tasting cup of coffee.Follow along as we explore the ever-growing world of coffee filters, helping you determine which will work best for your tasting needs.

Paper Coffee Filters

Coffee filters made of paper are disposable, making cleanup a breeze. Whether you use brown, white or even bamboo paper, all paper coffee filters are combustible and easily decomposed.Coffee beans contain a compound called diterpene, which has been said to raise cholesterol. Paper filters eliminate this oil, and they are the only types of filters to do so.

One of the only drawbacks with paper coffee filters is finding the proper size and shape for your coffee maker. Once you’ve found the proper size, replacing these filters is a breeze. Paper coffee filters primarily come in two types – bleached and unbleached. While true coffee enthusiasts claim bleached as the only way to go, there are only small taste differences between the two.

Cloth Filters

While cloth filters have always been popular in Europe, Asia and Latin America, they are just starting to gain some ground here in the United States. Made from a reusable fiber, cloth filters can be used repeatedly without worry. The weave of the cloth has a lot to do with how your coffee will taste, as the finer the weave, the less sediment escaping through the filter.

Hemp is one of the more common fiber choices for cloth filters, and it is typically grown organically making it an environmentally green choice. Cloth filters do wear out after about three to six months of use, and you do have to clean the filter after each use to avoid poor tasting brews.

Permanent Filters

Permanent coffee filters are typically made of a metal, such as stainless steel or gold. These filters are designed to be reused, and while there is an initial investment, with proper care and cleaning you will get years of quality coffee with these filters. The holes in a permanent filter are typically larger than that of cloth or paper, resulting in a stronger cup of coffee and potentially more sediment than is you used a tightly woven fiber or paper filter.

Like the cloth filter, don’t forget to wash your permanent filter after each use to keep bacteria and germs from building up. While many permanent filters are dishwasher safe, washing them by hand is the best way to extend the life of your filter.

So which filter will work best for your needs? The truth is that your choice of filter is all up to how you like to take your coffee. If a stronger, more complex taste is what you’re after, give permanent filters a try. If cholesterol is a concern, stick to the classic paper filter.

Regardless of what type of filter you choose, quality coffee begins at the beans. Make sure you’re buying from a trusted Pittsburgh coffee roaster known for their gourmet flavored coffees and single origin beans alike by shopping for all your coffee needs at Fortunes Gourmet Coffee. For artisanal quality with every cup, make sure to get the finest single origin coffee beans and gourmet blends around from Fortunes Gourmet Coffee.


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