Everyone knows that when it comes to making a delicious cup of coffee, the quality of the coffee beans and the coffee maker is an important factor for a good cup of coffee. However, the type of coffee filter used is often overlooked.

History of the Coffee Filter

Coffee filters were invented by a German housewife named Melitta Bentz. At the time, espresso machines would leave grounds in the coffee. There were linen coffee filters to try to quell this problem, but they did a poor job of it. The loose grounds that were boiled in the coffee made it very bitter, so Bentz had searched for a new way to best filter the coffee grinds from the water. On June 20, 1908, the patent for the paper coffee filter was granted to her.

Choices, Choices

Despite many technological advances over the years, paper coffee filters are still remain as the most popular way to filter out coffee beans. And they have proven through the years to be very practical and reliable. However, the number of choices for filtering the grinds has increased. Now, you can choose from basket, cone, gold and reusable filters, just to name a few.

When choosing a coffee filter, it is also important to consider how coarse the grinds are. Overall, paper filters are the best at filtering, as they do not let any grinds seep through. However, if you choose too fine of a grind, then the hot water may have a hard time dripping through and can back up or clog. Reusable mesh coffee filters are great at letting water through, but if you choose too fine of a grind, then you may find some grinds in your coffee. But, the finer the grind, the more flavor you can extract. It is important to find a good balance.

Paper Coffee Filters

These come in two shapes - basket and cone. In general, there is no real advantage or disadvantage between the two, just be sure you use the proper shape that your coffee maker uses. There is also white and natural paper filters to choose from. White coffee filters are bleached with chemicals to give it its color, which is why there is a trend of natural brown coffee filters that are unbleached. Buying natural will cost more, but it will ensure that there are no chemicals that can affect the taste of your coffee or harm your health.

Reusable Coffee Filters

There are a few advantages reusable filters have over paper filters. First of all, you reduce the amount of waste by not having to dispose of a paper filter each time you want coffee. Secondly, you will save money in the long run by not having to buy a new package of filters every so often. After each time the coffee maker is run, all that is needed is to throw out the used grinds and then give it a quick rinse. They are usually made of a gold plated mesh, which means it won't affect the taste of your coffee, unlike any paper filter - bleach or unbleached. Finally, these are relatively cheap, not costing you more than $10.

Cloth Filters

And then there are cloth coffee filters. These can be rinsed between uses for a certain amount of time before they have to be discarded. They are not as easy to clean as metal mesh coffee filters. Cloth coffee filters are the least popular, as they seem to combine the flaws of both other types of coffee filters. There are people that swear by them, saying they enhance the flavor and are environmentally safe. Overall, I would say that reusable gold plated coffee filters are the better buy.