by Jeanette Kierstead
As you know, having a good coffee grinder is a key to having the best tasting coffee possible, but that's not all you'll be needing.
In addition to having a good grinder, plus great quality coffee, having the best permanent coffee filter is something that is often overlooked, but can also make a huge difference in how your coffee tastes.
Yes, we're talking permanent filters here as opposed to paper, which we'll get into very soon as to why that's preferable.
Really, who gives coffee filters that much thought? Only the wisest of coffee drinkers do, actually. Because they know that these small details do make a big difference, and that the taste is really the end goal for all coffee and so it must be great.
For this article, we've put together a small guide to the reasoning behind using permanent filters, followed by some of our favorite filters that we recommend to everyone.
Use the following table of contents to navigate the article, and jump to where you want to go!
Let's dive in!
We have to admit upfront that we are aware of the fact that most people choose to use paper coffee filters over the permanent kind.
Why wouldn't you want to use them? Well…there are a few reasons.
Most people - your average coffee drinker - likely believes they fully understand the purpose of the humble coffee filter.
For example, they simply filter out the grit, so you get only smooth coffee liquid in your cup and not any solids. Right? That's all well and good.
Once the brewing process ends, all the grounds are stuck to the paper filter, which is what they've been designed to do - catch all the grounds so they don't end up in your cup. Then you just throw it away. Easy peazy lemon squeezie.
Ah, but there's more to it…
Did you know that coffee beans contain certain oily substances called diterpenes, which raise cholesterol.
They block a receptor in the intestines which is responsible for the regulation of cholesterol, thus resulting in increased cholesterol levels in your blood.
Diterpenes aren't all bad but they definitely have some negative aspects and they must be regulated - bottom line.
Luckily, coffee filters help to prevent these diterpenes from slipping through during the brewing process and into our precious coffee, significantly decreasing the amount of diterpenes in our coffee.
Coffee filters weren't exactly made with this benefit in mind, but they help to prevent diterpenes from getting into our coffee nonetheless.
One study has shown ( Critical Reviews In Food Science & Nutrition, March 2006) that both gold and paper filter materials are both equally proficient at preventing these diterpenes from invading our coffee.
So, at this point, paper filters and gold filters are still equals to us. They help block diterpenes, and that's a good thing.
We aren't here to badmouth paper filters…well, not much anyway.
Now at this point, paper filters start to get a bit of a bad reputation, and permanent coffee filters - particularly if they're gold - gain favor with health experts.
If you didn't know, there is a highly toxic chemical known as dioxin which is found in paper filters; specifically, the bleached white kind that most people use.
In her book, "Dying From Dioxin", author Lois Marie Gibbs talks about the hazards of this chemical dioxin, and how not only are paper coffee filters guilty of containing dioxin, but so are pizza boxes, paper plates, and all sorts of things.
Speaking of gold filters (which all three filters we've mentioned here happen to be), gold just happens to be a neutral substance, and coffee fans tend to favor it for two more important reasons.
One reason is that gold does nothing to taint the flavor of the coffee you will be drinking, unlike other materials like paper.
We don't want the actual flavor of the bean altered by the material of the filter if we can help it, and so a gold-plated steel filter is really the best option for this.
Another important benefit that permanent gold filters have is allowing antioxidants to pass through into our coffee.
Studies have shown ( Joe Vinson, University of Scranton, August 2005) that gold filters do not alter the coffee's flavor, but also they do not hinder the transfer of antioxidants which we want in our cup of coffee if possible.
Coffee, being the number one source of antioxidants in America, has the potential to supply us with valuable antioxidants, so having a permanent filter, unless it is made of something other than steel or gold-plating, will help with that.
We don't want to condemn paper filters completely here, but clearly there are some tangible benefits to trying other options, like permanent gold tone coffee filters.
If you have never tried anything but paper filters, perhaps its time to give a permanent filter a go to see how you like the experience.
You may find you never want to go back to paper filters. Your cup of coffee might just thank you by being even tastier!
Many people just use any old kind of filter, without realizing how much a simple paper coffee filter can adversely affect the flavor of your cup of coffee.
As nice as some of these paper filters look, they often can adversely affect the taste of your coffee.
There are much better options out there which will save you money, and we're talking about size 4 cone-shaped permanent filters.
What does the "4" represent? Just the size of the filter, which is a standard size.
If you are using a paper filter, you should at least rinse it out before using it, just to wash away the dust that can get into your coffee that sticks to the paper.
Alternately, going with a permanent gold tone coffee filter has a number of benefits, which we will explain shortly.
Here's a quick video which talks about some of the benefits of having a permanent gold tone filter.
Up next, reviews of the best permanent coffee filters…!
Do you like coffee? Do you like the taste of fresh, clean coffee? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you need to start using permanent coffee filters. Permanent coffee filters remove all of the oils and grit from your coffee, resulting in a cup of deliciousness each and every time. Plus, they're easy to use - just pop them into your coffeemaker and go! Give them a try today and see for yourself how much better your coffee tastes.
The Cuisinart Universal Gold Tone Permanent Filter is a replacement for all Cuisinart Cone Filter Coffeemakers. And also compatible with other brands coffeemakers build with similar filter holder for 10-12 cup capacities. Including but no limited to: O'ster | Kr/Ups Older Model | Hamilton Bea'ch | O"Xo. This filter helps provide full-flavored coffee and allows more oils and flavor to get through to your brew! Universal fit permanent gold tone filter for brew 8-12 cup drip coffee at a time.
This Bodum Stainless Steel Pour Over Spare Permanent Filter, 17 Oz is a replacement filter that fits all 17 ounce (4 cup) Bodum pour over models. It is made of stainless steel and does not require wasteful paper filters. It fits the 17 oz (4 cup) models.
Looking for a permanent coffee filter that is durable and will not break? Look no further than our GTF-4 Gold Tone Filter. Our washable and reusable coffee filter is easy to clean and made in the USA using surgical grade stainless steel woven mesh. Our coffee filter filters out all the junk but does not filter out the fresh, rich coffee taste! Save money and help the environment by switching to a permanent filter without sacrificing quality or flavor.
The first permanent coffee filter featured on our list is this - the Cuisinart Gold Tone Filter or GTF for short. It is a current bestseller across the web, and particularly on Amazon.com, where it has garnered a lot of praise.
For around $10, the Cuisinart GTF is the preferred permanent filter of coffee lovers everywhere, because it enables you to taste the truest flavor of your freshly made brew, with one user describing the coffee they made as "complex, livelier, and brighter than the usual coffee brew".
Constructed with stainless steel with gold plating, the Cuisinart GTF is a favorite partly due to its compatibility with a long list of coffee maker models which use #4 cones:
To sum this up, we're talking about most coffee makers here. The Cuisinart GTF is perfect for the majority of coffee makers, but it never hurts to check the codes first.
The cleaning process with this filter is also quite easy, as it is dishwasher friendly.
Many users, however, clean it by hand just to add to its lifespan, which is already measured in years whether or not you hand clean it or pop it in the dishwasher. That's years of faithful service for less than $10.
After using a paper filter, you are forced to grab the wet paper filter and dispose of it. With this permanent filter, you have the option of holding it by the handle so as to not come in contact with the wet used filter.
Also, this particular filter is known for its fine mesh which prevents the vast majority of grinds and grit from making it into your cup, resulting in a smoother cup of coffee for you and any coffee drinkers in your family.
If you are used to drinking gritty coffee, then surely you would appreciate cutting back on the grit.
By the way, this mesh filter also makes an overall good filter for just about anything else you want to use it for.
The overall sentiment towards this gold tone coffee filter is that its a huge improvement over paper filters, is compatible with most coffee makers, is environmentally friendly, lasts for years, produces less waste, and saves you money.
Up next - another fav!
Another great option for home use is the Medelco #4 cone permanent coffee filter, which costs roughly the same as the last one - around $10.
With hundreds of user reviews and a four star rating, this filter has proven itself as another top seller.
It is constructed with a surgical grade stainless steel mesh that meets North American Electrical Standards, so you can be sure that it will last a very long time.
Its dimensions are 3.4" in height, and 4.63" for the diameter of the filter.
The Medelco #4 fits all coffeemakers which use #4 cone filters, just like the Cuisinart we mentioned previously, but it is generally a hair less expensive.
This filter is also dishwasher safe, making it super easy to clean, since you can just add it to your load of dishes.
Ultimately, users of this permanent coffee filter have noted that there is a distinct difference in their coffee's flavor when using this filter, allowing for a more robust and nuanced cup of coffee.
In terms of differences between the Medelco and the Cuisinart, there aren't many, but the differences basically boil down to the handle design being different.
The Cuisinart does have a thicker handle, while the Medelco here has a more wire-y handle.
Aside from this difference, and some very slight design alterations, they are nearly identical.
Our third choice for what we consider the best permanent coffee filter is this gold tone model by True Modern Electronics.
It costs roughly the same as the others, at around $10, and, once again, it has a great track record from actual coffee drinkers who love what it does for their cup of coffee.
This permanent filter is basically the same as the previous two we've mentioned - well-rated and with almost exactly the same design and low price.
Ok, the buyers seem to like it, but what does the manufacturer say? You've got many of the same features as before:
You might say, why review the same filter three times over? Well, the differences between each of these filters may not be blatantly obvious, but really, these filters are very similar to other "parts" of a machine where they are somewhat generic by nature.
You don't expect a nail to to be multicolored and embellished with decorations. A nail and a filter are the same - simple, functional, and either well made or not.
Luckily each of these three permanent coffee filters are "hits" with the people, and they are designed to do very specific things, such as retain the coffee's original flavor before it gets altered by the brewing process, and that includes the use of paper filters.
Overall, permanent filters are your best bet, and these ones are the creme of the crop. You can't go wrong with one of these permanent filters.
When you're not spending a ton of money on single-use coffee filters, the only real investment is time and your morning routine. This means you're able to save money and enjoy a simple morning habit that can be more environmentally friendly than disposable paper filters. Here are five reasons why permanent coffee filters are the way to go.
Permanent coffee filters last a long time and help you save a ton of money in the process. When you buy a reusable filter, you can use it for months or even years before needing to replace it - plus, they're often completely dishwasher safe so you don't have to worry about cleaning them. A pack of paper filters typically costs around $5, while a permanent filter costs just under $10. If you use one disposable filter per day for a year, that works out to be nearly $530 in savings!
When you use single-use coffee filters, they're trashed after just one use. Permanent filters are more sustainable, eco-friendly and can even be recycled in some communities. Using a permanent filter instead of disposable paper ones means you're not only creating less trash but also contributing to a cleaner environment for future generations!
When you use disposable coffee filters, the paper will absorb some of your delicious brewed coffee, leaving it with an unpleasant taste. Paper filters designed for home brewers are specially treated so they don't affect coffee's flavor, but they also remove some oil from the beans that is responsible for its rich aroma. With permanent filters, nothing gets in the way between you and great-tasting java - just be sure to follow proper brewing instructions to optimize your brew!
Paper filters have uniform holes to ensure uniform extraction, so all the coffee's flavor is absorbed by the paper. Reusable filters, on the other hand, can be made from a variety of materials and have different hole sizes - so you'll get a better taste because more flavorful oils will make their way through your brewed coffee!
Permanent filters take less time to clean and require no special maintenance or accessories, while disposable ones often need a paper filter holder and disposable paper towels to properly dispose of your coffee grounds. Disposable filters can also get moldy over time if you don't dry them completely after use. With a permanent filter that's dishwasher safe, you'll save time and never have to worry about moldy coffee again.
Permanent coffee filters are a relatively recent innovation in the coffee world, but many people claim to prefer them over paper filters. In addition to being more environmentally friendly, these reusable mesh filters also produce a cup of joe that is less bitter and often has a better taste than those filtered with paper.
Such benefits come at a price, however: permanent filters are more expensive than paper and require frequent cleaning and replacement. Permanent filter users claim that their investment pays for itself if they're making coffee every day. Many people planning to purchase a permanent filter should consider the size of the holes in the mesh; those with very small holes produce a cup of coffee with less sediment, while those with larger holes will produce a stronger-tasting beverage.
In general, the smaller the holes in the mesh, the finer and more flavorful your coffee will be. If you prefer a very strong brew or use a coarser blend of beans, however, then a filter with larger holes may be for you.
Some people favor the flavor of coffee brewed with a permanent filter, but others like the convenience of paper filters and feel these produce more flavorful coffee. Paper filters remove most of the natural oils from the beans that make your cup taste strong; as such, some people use paper filters on weaker coffee so as not to overpower the taste.
One way of avoiding this debate is to purchase a permanent filter that also uses paper filters, allowing you the choice of either one or two. Another way of varying your brew is by purchasing a reusable pulp filter, which drains the natural oils from the beans while still leaving them in your cup. Pulp filters require more preparation than paper ones, but many coffee experts agree that they produce the fullest flavor of all.
You should also consider how easy it is to clean your permanent filter before making a purchase; some types are dishwasher-friendly or can be washed under running water, while others require more complex care.
Ideally, you should thoroughly clean and dry your coffee filter after every use. However, that's not always possible. If you don't have time to wash it then, just let the filter drip dry.
But make sure you clean your permanent coffee filter thoroughly at least once a week-more often if you notice excess grounds in your coffee or other problems.
First, remove the permanent coffee filter from your coffeemaker and hold it under a stream of hot water for a minute. Then use a sponge or dishcloth to thoroughly wipe out any leftover coffee grounds.
If you notice any hardened residue still on the filter, soak it in a sink full of hot, soapy water for five to ten minutes.
After you've finished washing your permanent coffee filter, give it a good rinse with clean water and set it out to dry on a dish towel or paper towels.
Today I'd like to suggest some recipes that are perfect for using a permanent coffee filter. Of course, I'm not the only one who uses them; many of you already know this. But if people started using these filters more often, they would definitely become much more popular... along with the tasty beverages people could create with them!
Ingredients: Hot water, Espresso, A dash of sugar syrup.
Recipe: Fill a coffee cup with hot water. Add one espresso. Pour in a little bit of sugar syrup. Stir well
Recipe: Fill a coffee cup with warm milk. Add one espresso. Stir well
Ingredients: Hot water (1/3 of a cup), Espresso (2 shots)
Recipe: Fill a coffee cup with hot water. Add two espressos. Stir well
Ingredients: Hot chocolate. Espresso (2 shots)
Recipe: Fill a coffee cup with hot chocolate. Add two espressos. Stir well.
Ingredients: Hot water (1/3 of a cup). Espresso (2 shots). Warm milk (1/3 of a cup)
Recipe: Fill a coffee cup with hot water. Add two espressos. Pour in warm milk. Stir well
Ingredients: Warm milk (1/3 of a cup). Espresso (2 shots).
Recipe: Fill a coffee cup with warm milk. Add two espressos. Stir well
Ingredients: Espresso (2 shots)
Recipe: Add two espressos
Ingredients: Hot water (1/3 of a cup), Sugar syrup (1 teaspoon), Warm milk (1/3 of a cup), Espresso (2 shots)
Recipe: Fill a coffee cup with hot water. Add one teaspoon of sugar syrup. Pour in warm milk. Add two espressos. Stir well
Most people who own a drip coffee maker have used disposable filters at least once or twice.
However, using these filters results in waste and cost. Some feel that the paper taste of the filter is not as pure as unfiltered brewing methods like pour over and French press. Permanent filters eliminate the need for wasteful and expensive paper filters, but present the problem of maintenance. If you plan to use a water drip method with a permanent filter, there are some important things to consider before deciding which one is best for you.
There are many different types of reusable filters available and it can be difficult to determine which type is best for your needs. Let's review the top three most common types of permanent coffee filters, their advantages and disadvantages.
The natural cloth filter is made of unbleached cotton fabric, which can be thrown in the washer after use. They are easy to clean and eliminate paper taste because they are so porous that it's nearly impossible for any paper or organic material to get through.
The natural cloth filter does require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep coffee oils and particles from building up and creating a stale, rancid taste after continued use. They also tend to let many fine particulates through the mesh because they are so porous, which can lead to grit in your cup. The best way to combat this is by pre-rinsing your filter with hot water before brewing, which will remove particles of coffee oils and minerals.
Clean them by hand washing in the sink with dish soap every four to six weeks after continued use, or throw them in the washer on gentle cycle every few weeks. Always let these types of filters air dry between uses, and never use them to pour coffee when they are still wet. If you don't want to wash your natural cloth filters every time, it is possible place them in the freezer overnight to kill bacteria and remove any lingering tastes.
Metal filters made of stainless steel mesh, like the ones from Able Brewing, usually have a handle for easy removal.
These filters are very sturdy, efficient and durable.
These types of reusable filters are the best choice if you want to eliminate silt in your cup or don't want to worry about clogging or maintenance.
However, they do require more care than other types of permanent coffee filters because food particles can build up in the mesh over time and affect flavor. Metal filters should be scrubbed with hot water and a bottle cleaner every few weeks, as well as rinsed after each use to prevent clogging.
Good for those looking to reduce waste, paper coffee filters are the most common type used in households today. Paper filters allow a lot of particulate through, so they may leave some sludge in the cup.
However, these types of reusable coffee filters are very easy to clean and maintain. If you pour a bit of water over your paper filter before brewing, it helps prevent clogging and let's more fine particles through. Regularly cleaning your paper filter in the dishwasher or washing it by hand will make sure particles don't build up and affect flavor.
Permanent coffee filters are made out of stainless steel mesh. They come in different shapes but most have a round bottom. Although they can be used with any coffee machine, they work best with pour-over drip brewers like the Hario V60 or Chemex.
The main reason why people choose to use permanent coffee filters is because they are more environmentally friendly than paper ones. The paper filter gets thrown away every time you make a cup of coffee. This leads to the unnecessary waste of all those disposable filters, which can be very harmful to the environment, especially if they are incinerated. The steel mesh can be used for a very long time and you will not contribute to the planet's pollution by using it.
Another thing about permanent coffee filters is that they allow you to use more coffee than paper ones. Paper filters restrict the amount of coffee you add in your brewer, while this does not happen with permanent mesh filters. However, the holes should be a little bigger than those of paper coffee filters.
Last but not least, these kinds of filters allow for a more intense and flavorful cup of coffee because all the grounds will be soaked by water at exactly the right temperature. You do not have to worry about making too much coffee either as this will not affect the flavor.
There are two main types of permanent coffee filters: metal and flat bottom ones. The other type is a cone-shaped mesh filter. However, these come in standard paper versions and it would only be fair to compare them with permanent filters that use paper as well.
Metal filters are the most popular ones. They usually come in stainless steel, but there are also gold or copper ones you can buy. These last two options will change the flavor of your coffee and give it a metallic taste though.
The standard flat bottom permanent filter is very simple to use. It has two main variants: one that has a cone shape and another one that has a straight edge. Both of them will fit most coffee machines and will work well with pour-over drip brewers. These filters can be very good for beginners because they are easy to clean and you won't have any trouble using them.
We would be remiss not to mention coffee grinders as being another very important part of the coffee brewing process.
If you are concerned about how a paper coffee filter might affect the taste of your brew, you might want to investigate getting yourself a quality coffee grinder, if you get the chance.
In terms of altering the flavor of your coffee beans, buying pre-ground coffee, or using stale ground coffee that hasn't been hermetically sealed is going to affect your coffee's flavor negatively as well.
That's why getting a good coffee grinder is so important we based our whole website around that fact.
Thanks for reading!
We have a variety of great options for coffee drinkers that want to filter their own ground beans. The permanent filters are not made with any chemicals and they last an absurd amount of time without needing replacement, which is why we think this is the best option for people who drink 1-2 cups per day. If you're someone who loves to experiment with different flavors or types of coffees, then taking care of your machine will be important. You'll need something like our paper cone filters that can filter out sediment while still letting through all those tasty flavor oils!
About Jeanette Kierstead
Jeanette has been testing and reviewing kitchen appliances for over six years now, so she knows her stuff when it comes to finding the best ones. In her spare time, she loves nothing more than baking cakes and cookies – especially if she can do so with one of her favorite stand mixers! When she's not in the kitchen, Jeanette is usually looking after everything homes-related; from garden tools to smart home products.