Paper Filter vs Metal Filter – Which Is The Best Option?

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As a coffee lover, you have probably wondered about the difference between metal and paper filters. It’s hard to know which is better because they both have pros and cons. 

In this blog post, we will explore some of the differences that exist between these two types of filters so that you can choose between a paper filter vs metal filter to use for your next cup of joe!

What Is A Paper Filter?

A paper coffee filter is made from crepe-like material. It can be referred to as a disposable, single-use product. 

The filter is positioned above the brewing pot and works like a sieve to keep solids out of your coffee while filtering it. You can use this filter to make iced coffee or cold brew. 

Grind your beans the day before and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours, then add them into the cone of paper filters with water heated just below boiling point (never hotter). As hot water passes through the grounds and absorbs the aroma, color, and flavor of the coffee grounds, your drink will have more taste than ever before.

In particular, there are two main types of disposable filters: Unbleached and bleached filters.

Unbleached filters

If you’re looking for a more sustainable option than bleached filters, then unbleached papers are perfect. They’re made of natural material and can still retain some color (slightly brown) which gives them an organic feel! You can distinguish them from the bleached ones via color, as only bleached filters obtain white color. 

The size of your coffee filter will affect the flavor and quality of the coffee cup. Sizes four and two work well for brewing, but many people also use them with the drip coffee machine because they’re more cost-effective than other types.

Bleached filters

As the name suggests, bleached filters are made out of paper that has been given treatment with chlorine and oxygen. Due to that reason, this type of filter normally has white color.

What Is A Metal Filter?

This type of filter is made from fine metal with rough plastic frames for durability. However, it works the same as the disposable one, metal filters last longer. 

Different kinds of metal are used for making coffee filters, but the most popular ones come in gold and steel. There’s also a nylon-made variety which works well if you’re looking to save some money on your purchase while still getting quality drinks!

Paper Filter vs Metal Filter – Features Comparison 

Oil Removal

Different types of filters remove oils in different ways.

You may have heard of the benefits coffee grounds can provide to your morning brew, but did you also know they release oils (diterpenes)  that are trapped in filter cones? 

Disposable filters capture diterpenes in order to prevent them from going into the coffee, while permanent ones cannot absorb them at all!

We recommend you use a paper filter, as these oils play a role in the increase of your cholesterol levels. They act as an amplifier, which means they will keep stimulating LDL and help raise the risk of heart disease or stroke in certain people with high Cholesterol!

Meanwhile, you can get a stronger cup of coffee from permanent filters because the oils that are found in them give it more flavor.

Sediment Removal

Disposable filters protect the flavor of your coffee by trapping all those grounds inside. No more fine sediment landing on top after you brew, which means that every sip tastes as good or better than when it’s fresh!

You will find that the sedimentation level of permanent filters varies depending on your brewing method. For instance, if you are brewing coffee with a French press, then there could potentially be more sediment than other methods. 

On the other hand, using filters such as Kone and/or Duo Coffee Steeper will produce much lower levels of solids in your cup because less liquid is used for its extraction process.

Cleanup

Filters can be inconvenient when it comes time to clean up. Simply fold up your filter and throw it in the garbage bin to get rid of the grounds!

When you use a metal filter, make sure to put away the grounds in an appropriate container and wash the filter off with soap. Still, it would be quite troublesome to wash away those coffee grounds.

As the grounds will stick to the interior surface of the filter, use a rag or paper towels to wipe them off when necessary. Nevertheless, some may still remain lodged in there, so you must rinse your filter with water as well!

Environmental Friendliness

The use of a paper filter is not environmentally friendly. It’s important to think about the amount you are going to waste, as the paper filter can only be used once. Indeed, paper is not kind to our planet. Not only are they wasteful, but also a significant amount ends up in landfills where it can take centuries for some types of papers to decompose!

On the other hand, metal filters are a more cost-effective and sustainable option than disposable ones. You can utilize one filter for several years without the need to replace it with a new one!

Taste And Appearance

Those metal filters do not catch all the unwanted substances that pour into them, meaning they allow important elements to flow into your cup. Specifically, micro-fines and oils definitely go undetected by these reused pieces of equipment!

Coffee has many different types of oils which carry their own unique flavors and aromas. These ingredients can alter the taste but also quickly oxidize when exposed to air – meaning your coffee may change drastically over time!

Meanwhile, the more micro-fine the coffee grounds are, the darker they will filter your drink into that perfect cup. They also make for a richer flavor with boldness like the French press brewing process and settle at the bottom, leaving sediment behind just as it would in traditional Press pots.

Coffee brewed with a paper filter is often described as having more sweetness, fruitiness, and translucence than its metal counterpart. It also has an appearance that can be characterized by being much brighter in color due to the capture of micro-fine particles through these finer fabrics, which results in better-tasting coffee!

Cost

There seems to be an endless debate when it comes down to which type of coffee filter you should buy. Some say metal, while others prefer paper. We think both have their pros and cons! Most people forget how much they’ll spend in the long run with these differing materials!

The cost of a pack of disposable coffee filters can add up quickly. You might only need one or two, but if you’re like us, who love to drink coffee every morning, then it won’t be long before your wallet feels the strain! 

The permanent filters are an excellent choice if you are looking for a long-lasting filter. There is no need for costly replacement, as the material they are made out of will ensure extreme durability!

Paper Filter Vs Metal Filter – A Quick Recap Of The Pros And Cons

Paper Filter

Pros:

  • Best for filtering sediments and oil 
  • Cleanup convenience
  • No health issue risk
  • A brighter and sweeter cup of coffee
Cons:

  • Needs more replacements 
  • Harmful for the environment

Metal Filter

Pros:

  • Long term investment
  • Dark and robust coffee
  • Environmental-safe 
Cons:

  • Hard to cleanup
  • Less effective in removing oil and sediments
  • Unsuitable for people who have a high level of cholesterol 

Which Is the Best Coffee Filter For Your Needs?

Paper filters are a better choice for those who have sensitive stomachs or heart problems because they do not allow substances that could be harmful to these conditions to enter your cup. Furthermore, if you’re an avid coffee drinker looking to add some sweetness without compromising flavor with cream and sugar, then the paper is definitely worth checking out!

While paper filters are not necessarily environmentally friendly, they’re typically made from trees that grow quickly and provide you with the ease of cleaning.

Metal filters are a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy your favorite brews. They’re also reusable, which means the savings grow exponentially with each cup!

They may be the perfect match for those who love robust and dark coffees, as they don’t filter out fine materials and coffee oils.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Paper Towels Instead Of Paper Filters?

Of course, coffee can be enjoyed even if you run out of paper filters. Just get yourself some new paper filters! They’ll trap all the oils and grounds like diterpenes, which result in a healthy and rich flavor coffee. 

First, you must cut the towel into a filter-like shape, add some coffee grounds, and pour hot water.

Be aware that you should only choose sanitary and safe paper towels. It’s recommended that bleached products are avoided since they may contain dangerous chemicals which could seep into your coffee once soaked with them for an extended period.

Can You Use Parchment Paper Instead Of Paper Filters?

Parchment paper is a great alternative to traditional coffee filters. It can be used as either an ordinary filter. Thanks to the silicone layer, it will be able to withstand high heat.

Conclusion 

So, who will be the winner between paper filter vs metal filter?

If you are looking for a coffee filter that will last and can be used in many different situations, the metal filters may be best. They are durable and don’t need to be replaced often like paper filters. Still, if you prefer your coffee to have more flavor or not taste burnt in the brewing process, paper filters may offer better tasting results than metal ones. 

We hope this post has helped you make an informed decision when choosing which kind of filter is right for your needs!

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more