by Bryan Albuquerque
Today I want to discuss two types of Aeropress filters – the Purple Tractor steel re-usable filters, and the paper disposable kind – and compare them to learn which is a better bet when it comes to taste of your cup of coffee and also overall bang for your buck.
As you likely know if you have one, there are a lot of ways a home barista can use the famous Aeropress Coffee & Espresso Maker, and I’m glad to say that I learn something new each time I use it.
|Aeropress 81R24/2 Fba_578300-81R24 700 Filters White|
|Reusable Premium Metal Filters By Slimm Filter For Use In The Aeropress Coffee Maker, Package Of 2|
|Aerobie 81R24 Filters Aeropress 350-Ct 85276000817|
If you aren’t as familiar with the Aeropress, this precious little press-style coffee maker can easily become your best friend when you are craving a slam-bang coffee, or faux espresso, or it can be a big disappointment if you end up flubbing the whole process.
I still remember a few rude awakenings with horrible cups of coffee that I prepared myself because I didn’t know certain tricks (that I know now) on how to make my perfect Aeropress coffee or espresso.
Using the right filter is surprisingly crucial to the whole process. Use the wrong filter, and pay the price of coffee that is either too weak, to grainy, or just tastes weird in one way or another.
With Aeropress, you have two options – the steel filters, which are reusable, or the paper kind.
It wasn’t until recently that I decided to try the Purple Tractor’s Aeropress filter set which includes two stainless steel mesh filters.
Before that, I always stuck to my paper filters that came with my Aeropress unit, and never even gave any thought to the fact that there was anything else out there.
So, here’s what’s cool about these filters, if you ask me. Because they are made from stainless steel, these filters last forever, and they are extremely eco-friendly to boot.
Once I started using the Purple Tractor steel filters, just knowing that I was saving a tree or two makes me feel pretty good as the pulp mill might slow down a bit, if only momentarily due to my purchase.
The Purple Tractor includes a short mission statement with the package, which got me thinking along the lines of sustainability. Good stuff!
On the other hand, you’re going to have to pay a fair bit more for these steel Aeropress filters, which does seem like a lot compared to the normal paper filters which are only a few dollars for a pack that will last you months.
In other words, you have to care about the environment an awful lot not to just buy the paper stuff. But wait, there’s more!
To be completely honest at first I was confused by the fact that The Purple Tractor offers 2 different style steel filters that come together with this package.
At first I wasn’t sure why they made two different looking filters, thinking maybe they just wanted to offer two different styles of filter in one package?
But then I had to face-palm myself because upon closer inspection one filter is obviously a finer mesh than the other, so they’re really meant for brewing either fine or coarse ground coffee.
The nice thing about these Purple Tractor steel filters is that each of them fits snugly into my Aeropress.
They both have solid construction and look great, not that looks matter much when it comes to coffee filters I guess.
Overall, the whole package is really nice and it makes sense to me that its only around $15, which really isn’t too expensive.
Over the following weeks, I tried using each of these filters when using different grind sizes and bean types, just to see if it really made any difference.
I always made sure I ground the beans up fresh, because I know that’s really important.
I use a Hario Mini Slim to grind my beans, because I can grind straight into my Aeropress, and from there, straight into my mug.
Not surprisingly, the filter that is designed for a coarser grind works just fine as the coarse grind filter isn’t that coarse and actually perfect for Aeropress, and the finer-meshed filter is more for and smooth, and dare I say espresso-like cup of coffee, which I’ve managed to do really well a handful of times.
I read that some people even stack the two of them together, and I’ve tried that too – with mixed results.
A couple other things about the Purple Tractor filters are that they’re easy to clean, and you can also store them right in your Aeropress until the next time you brew. Very helpful!
Overall, the flavor and aroma of my coffee that I get when using these reusable stainless steel filters is quite good, provided I’m having an “on” day. I find the taste of the steel filter to be better overall than the paper, which I’ll talk about momentarily.
To be honest, I’m still getting the hang of it all.
Here’s a video I used to improve my technique starring Gwilym Davies, Aeropress master.
To backtrack a little bit, before I got my hands on the Purple Tractor steel filters, I only used paper filters and typically just tossed them to the garbage after I made my Aeropress coffee.
I did this on a daily basis and yeah, I guess it was slightly wasteful of me in the environmental sense.
With paper filters, you kind of just go through them quickly like paper towels, so you don’t really think about them much. In a sense, it’s kind of hard to feel very guilty about using these, considering how much paper I use in general.
Environmental concerns aside, the paper filters certainly do the job. You can get a double pack with 700 filters which covers you for about two years or so, which seems like forever.
These paper filters fit perfectly into my Aeropress, and they are micro-filters, so they are great for removing grit from your home brew.
These filters are a big part of why Aeropress coffee is so rich and smooth, if you can learn just to rinse them before using them to eliminate any extra dust that is on them, because it gives the coffee a tinge of something you don’t want – paper taste.
These paper filters are 2.5″ in diameter, and, actually, they CAN be reused if you want.
I never reuse them – just don’t want to use them again after using them once, but people do and I have nothing bad to say about that, just that it’s not my personal preference.
Some people have found other uses for them, but honestly, I just don’t want to bother – I toss them out along with the grinds after I’m done.
And, you can recycle them, if they are indeed the recyclable type. Some aren’t, some are. It depends what kind you have.
Overall, I just prefer the steel filters now, because, honestly, I figure if I’m going to try to be eco-friendly or reduce my carbon footprint or what have you, I may as well just use a re-useable filter, you know what I mean?
A pack of 350 costs only about $4 – not sure how much of a better deal I could find these for. Plus, 350 is basically one year of filters, since I drink one cup a day.
Maybe coffee filters aren’t the most exciting topic in the world, but when it comes to home brewing, the smallest things sometimes make the biggest difference.
Over the years I’ve learned that grinding the beans yourself with a burr coffee grinder is super important, and prior to that I’d never even heard of a “burr” in my life, at least in the context of coffee.
Then I realized that using your grinds when they’re freshest was another crucial moment in your coffee brewing journey.
Before that, I would leave grinds out over night on my counter and wonder why my morning cup wasn’t that great.
Now I find I do pay more attention to the Aeropress coffee filters, because I know that they matter. I guess you live and learn.
I also have a good coffee vault to keep things fresh.
The bottom line here is that both of these types of Aeropress filters are useful, as long as you use them correctly. Another quick tip is that I like to heat up the steel filter a little beforehand – it helps with the taste I find.
There are very few complaints about either of these types of filters, so you can buy them and not worry too much about running into any issues.
Still, I hope this article helped you learn a little something about Aeropress coffee and the two types of filters you can use.
Thanks for reading! Please comment below if you want to add anything 🙂
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About Bryan Albuquerque
Bryan Albuquerque is a coffee lover and vaping advocate who writes reviews and information about coffee accessories and KYG. A former coffee addict, Bryan traded his morning fix for an electronic cigarette in an effort to quit smoking, and has never looked back. He's dedicated to helping others make the switch to vaping, and believes that it's one of the best decisions anyone can make for their health.