How do you choose a coffee filter?

We’ve given an Introduction to Pour Over Methods, which highlights Chemex and V60 differences, and introduces Japanese-style iced coffee. But have you ever wondered what the difference is between filters and how to choose a pour over coffee filter?

While some people use cloth or metal filters, the majority of coffee buyers use unbleached or bleached paper filters. If you’re interested in a 5 minute history of the invention of paper filters and how they’re made, check out this video from the Science Channel. It all started with one woman’s effort to get rid of the bitter taste in her coffee.

Which filter is right for you?

Choosing a filter will largely depend on your coffee brewing methods. Major companies such as Chemex and Hario V60 have specifically designed filters for their pour over brewing method. Chemex filters are thicker, which results in a more tea-like body, and V60 filters are thinner, producing a fuller body.

Chemex has both pre-folded square and pre-folded circle oxygen bleached filter options for their brewing devices, as well as a natural, unbleached square option. All of the filters are cone shaped, which ensures uniform extraction.

V60 has both oxygen bleached and unbleached paper filters for each of their 3 sizes of V60.

If you’re wanting to get into more detail, this video on different Hario filter papers and how they impact taste from Harry Shin in his Coffee for Thought video series was interesting. It turns out, filters (can be) a way to fine tune your brewing recipe, in addition to major factors such as grind size, dose, and brewing time.

Bleached vs. Unbleached Coffee filters

The difference between bleached and unbleached filters is that bleached filters have been whitened, either through oxygen bleaching or chlorine bleaching. Many retailers have started to use oxygen bleaching, which is better for the environment, and will specify their process.

Unbleached coffee filters are said to compost and biodegrade faster since they are less processed, so if your focus is more on environmental impact, that’s a good option. They can also leave a lingering paper taste if not properly rinsed. Whichever filter you choose, you’ll want to rinse your filter.

Rinse or “pre-wet” your paper filter

By rinsing your paper filter, the filter bonds to your pour over brewer and eliminates any potential air pockets. It also pre-warms your brewer and cup. Maintaining a consistent temperature is important to retaining the aroma and flavor of your coffee. These methods are used by baristas and coffee lovers wanting to know how to make a perfect pour over coffee, wondering how to up their coffee game. To rinse your pour over coffee filter:

  1. Place your filter in your brewing device
  2. Pre-wet the filter by pouring hot water, making sure to evenly distribute water
  3. Pour out the water (you’ll need to do this with a Chemex, if you’re rinsing a V60 over a sink, you may not need to)
  4. If needed, rinse one more time

Check out our brew guides and video tutorials

If you’re new to pour overs or want to try a different brewing method, check out our brew guides and video tutorials on our Klatch Coffee Youtube Channel. Here’s one for a 5 Step Pour Over when brewing with Chemex.

And if you’re looking for beans, check out our Find Your Beans quiz and Subscription options.

Happy brewing!

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