Your coffee filter separates ground coffee beans from the included drip tray. These filters keep dregs out of your brew and simplify cleanup. If you want to know which type of coffee filter is best for your machine, consider the following options.
Disposable Coffee Filters
Disposable coffee filters are usually made from some sort of paper. They caught on for widespread commercial usage because they require practically no cleanup, and they remain a popular choice because they filter out some oils from ground coffee beans. There are a few things to consider before you buy a paper coffee filter. Let's break down both sides of the issue.
Benefits of Paper Filters
When you use disposable filters, you never need to clean the filter first. You can pour ground beans into your coffee maker as soon as you insert a new filter. This type of filter also speeds up the disposal of soaked grounds after brewing. Many coffee machines come with a removable drip tray. When you place a paper filter in this type of tray, you never need to touch the wet grounds. You can simply remove the tray and drop the wet filter into a waste bin.
Disposable coffee filters remove some oils from ground coffee beans as the liquid passes through them. These oils may cause higher cholesterol levels, and paper coffee filters remove them from the infusion. Reusable coffee filters do not remove these oils, and some people notice a difference in taste when the oils make it into the brew. Some coffee drinkers prefer to filter out these oils because of the flavor they produce; longer-roasted beans sometimes produce a bitter flavor due to the increased level of oil released during the roasting process.
Disadvantages of Paper Filters
In most cases, paper filters end up costing more than reusable alternatives. You need a coffee filter every time you want to brew a pot. For those coffee drinkers who brew a pot every day, this adds up to more than 360 filters every year. Reusable filters cost a bit more than a single package of disposable filters, but they last significantly longer.
Permanent Coffee Filters
Many coffee aficionados turn to permanent coffee filters to reduce waste, and many appreciate the enhanced flavor that can come from alternate styles of filtration. Here are the different kinds of permanent coffee filters you can use in your coffee maker.
Fabric Coffee Filters
While fabric coffee filters last much longer than disposables, they wear out after a few months of use.
Some permanent coffee filters rely on materials like cotton or hemp to function. They produce the same general result as a paper filter, but you do not need to throw them away every time you turn on your coffee maker. They capture coffee grounds during the drip phase of brewing so you don't wind up with any dregs in your cup. They also allow the passage of more oils than paper filters. These oils can enhance flavor for those with discerning palates.
These reusable coffee filters do not work as permanent solutions. While they last much longer than disposable filters, cloth filters wear out after a few months. In addition to needing replacement, these reusable coffee filters require as much cleaning as metal filters. For this reason, they do not often make the most efficient option for regular coffee drinkers.
Metal Coffee Filters
Metal coffee filters serve as a simple replacement for disposable filters. These accessories do not need to be replaced often, and they do not filter out flavorful oils from ground coffee beans. If you want your metal filter to remain intact, it does require some moderate attention. It should be cleaned out after every use, and it will require a deep scrub from time to time to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Those who prefer specific coffee blends will want to use a metal coffee filter to ensure as much as possible of the coffee bean's flavor gets infused into final beverage. Most of these items use stainless steel to accomplish this task. The fine steel grates prevent grounds from entering the carafe, but they let more oils pass through than paper filters.
Gold Coffee Filters
These filters turned some heads when they started appearing in some high-end coffee makers. The use of gold in any product automatically makes the item seem more valuable, but this has more to do with marketing than with the taste of your drink. Gold coffee filters use the same basic structure as other metal filters. They even use stainless steel as a primary component. It's the gold plating that makes these accessories different. Like other metal filters, gold filters allow oils from the beans drip into the pot.
Coffee Filter Sizes
When you buy a coffee maker you need to determine the size of the filter you need. Many of the units that we reviewed come with their own filters, but those that rely on disposable filters will need to be replaced. Reusable coffee filters eliminate the need to check for filter sizes, except for those that use fabric filters.
You will need to check the product manual for an exact specification on filter size. In general, larger machines require bigger filters because they handle larger volumes of ground coffee beans.
How Much Caffeine Is in Coffee?
The Mayo Clinic says that a single cup of coffee contains anywhere from 95 to 200 mg of caffeine. Instant coffee usually has less caffeine than brews you create in a coffee maker, but they still usually contain more than 75 mg of caffeine.
While many coffee drinkers understand the effects of caffeine, few consider the potential side effects. It makes sense to ask how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee, but it's also important to understand what that means. Too much caffeine can lead to anxiety. It can also limit the absorption of helpful nutrients during the day. Caffeine speed up metabolism, and too much coffee can expedite foods through the body too quickly for proper digestion.
Different types of coffee roasts contain different levels of caffeine. When you want to know how much caffeine is in your coffee, you first need to determine which type of coffee you are drinking. When it comes to scoops of coffee, light roasts typically offer higher levels of caffeine than dark roasts. Dark roasts usually contain less. The coffee makers we reviewed can handle all of these different styles of coffee roasts, so it's up to you to decide which type you want to drink.
Dark Roasts vs. Light Roasts
Why does a pot of light-roasted coffee usually contain more caffeine than a dark roast? The beans used in light and dark roasts actually contain about the same caffeine levels when measured by weight. Coffee shops and other professional outlets use weighted measurements before putting grounds into their drip coffee makers, so you might not notice a difference in the caffeine levels of these blends.
However, most coffee drinkers do not measure out their grounds by weight at home. They scoop out the amount they need and drop it into the coffee maker based on volume instead of weight. Light roasts tend to have smaller beans than darker roasts, so you can fit more beans in a single filter. At home, this means your drip coffee maker can produce higher caffeine levels from light roasts than from dark roasts.