Some folks ask us what’s the difference between a paper and metal filter when brewing. A lot, actually. From flavor to process, there’s quite a few differences between paper and metal filters. If you’re not sure which is right for you, we’ve compiled a list of differences between the two. Let’s start with paper, shall we?
For a majority of drip methods, paper filters are the common choice. Some brew methods that use paper filters: pour-over cone drippers, pour-over flat bottom drippers, automatic drip machines and Aeropress.
Cleanup – Relatively easy, just fold up the paper filter with grinds and toss in the trash. If you’re a frequent pour-over brewer, running across the kitchen with a dripping wet sack of grinds can get annoying.
Sediment – Paper filters do a great job of removing almost all sediment from your coffee.
Oils – Paper filters remove all coffee oils from your cup. We’re a 50/50 split on coffee oils, it’s completely a personal taste preference. If you are concerned about cholesterol however, coffee oils contain cafestol which is a stimulator of LDL cholesterol levels. If you have any cholesterol concerns consult your doctor.
Reuse – One of the biggest drawbacks to a paper filter is they aren’t reusable. Environmentally conscious folks opt out of paper for this reason.
Cost – A box of 100 papers is usually $5.00. Keep in mind, you do have to keep buying them.
Taste – Because paper filters are so good at preventing grit from entering your cup, the result is a light, vibrant cup.
Metal filters cover a wider range of brew methods from drip to espresso. Some methods that use metal filters: pour-over (with filters like the Kone filter), Prismo on the AeroPress, French press, percolator, moka pot, espresso and of course Duo Coffee Steeper.
Cleanup – Dispose of grinds in the trash and rinse off or throw filter in the dishwasher.
Sediment Levels – Sediment levels vary greatly for metal filters. Brewing with a French press, for example, will leave a lot of sludge in your cup. Conversely, brewing with the Kone filter or Duo Coffee Steeper’s inverted etched filter lets only a small amount of micro-fines through.
Oils – Metal filters do not absorb coffee oils. These oils create a rich coffee flavor that is purely a taste preference.
Reuse – Your metal filter will last years.
Cost – Metal filters are more expensive, however they will last you a long time.
Taste – Provides a cup with a full-bodied, smooth flavor profile.
Overall there’s positives and negatives to each filter, however most of these pros and cons come down to personal preference. Will throwing out a paper filter be easier than throwing a filter in the dishwasher? Do you like coffee oils? Do you prefer a delicate, clean brew to a full-bodied, richer taste? As always, if you’re not sure about these questions we encourage you to experiment!