Filters. The middleman between your grinds and your sweet cup of liquid gold. A key piece to the coffee equation that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Well, that stops today, folks! We’re breaking down the paper filter making process and giving you a deep dive into our new and improved Stagg Dripper Filters.
Here at Fellow, we have two different pour-over drippers requiring a paper filter: Stagg [XF] and Stagg [X]. Our paper filters are designed specifically for our drippers’ steep slopes; tall filters for Stagg [XF] and short filters for Stagg [X]. Up until now, our filters were pressed in China using Japanese paper. However, we’ve recently switched our production to a paper mill in the Midwest. Yep, there is a good chance Fellow might freeze during our visits up north, but we think it’s a risk worth taking to bring you top-of-the-line American made coffee filters.
Our decision to switch to a new paper mill was not without research. The Fellow team held a paper tasting test to put all of our possible paper filter options through the ringer. We started by soaking a square of each filter in a cup with hot water. Then, after letting the water cool down, we blind sampled the water from each cup back-to-back. Our goal was to determine the filter that left the least amount of residual taste. The less papery the better (unless you like the taste of paper bags)! Our chosen North American paper produced the cleanest cup of water with no chemical flavor and little to no paper taste. To additionally aid in the quest for the cleanest cup, we made our new paper weight heavier than our old filter design. A heavier weight filters out more particles and also keeps the filter from collapsing at sides and on the bottom, potentially clogging the dripper.
Not only did our production location and paper change, but the flutes got an upgrade as well. We removed 10 flutes going from 30 down to 20. Why the reduction? First, it makes the filters significantly easier to separate from each other. (We heard your comments loud and clear, Fellow fans!) Next, less flutes give the filter more structure and rigidity which means there is less chance the filter will collapse during the pre-rinse. Finally, with less flutes, there are less places for the water to lose thermal heat by hitting the stainless steel. To recap, less flutes is a good thing!
A little history lesson for our fellow coffee nerds. Up until about two decades ago, the paper making industry utilized an elemental chlorine bleaching process to whiten paper. At the time, this process wasn’t believed to be harmful to the environment. However, as technology related to testing became more advanced, it was discovered that elemental chlorine can generate dioxins that are potentially harmful to living things and the environment. This forced the pulp industry to overhaul their bleaching process, thankfully. Today, the bleaching process utilizes chlorine dioxide and oxygen rather than elemental chlorine. This is commonly referred to in the industry as ECF bleaching, or elemental chlorine free bleaching. Our white paper filters are made with this ECF whitening process and are tested on a regular basis for safety. Our paper mill guarantees that the filters contain less than two parts/trillion dioxin concentrations which is actually a lower concentration than what could be found in nature or the environment.
Phew! If you made it through to the very end of the blog, you’ve officially earned a Bachelor’s degree in Filter Science. Your diploma from Fellow University will be sent in the mail within the next two weeks.*
Take your Stagg Dripper for a test ride with the new filters and see if you notice a difference in ease and taste!
*Degree not actually coming in mail!