In some countries, espresso may be more popular, but in North America and Central Europe, filter coffee is almost a religion. For this reason, we cannot forget on our website the large number of filter coffee consumers who visit us every day, and also those who are just starting out in this noble practice. And so, the filter for drip coffee machines becomes a key element in determining the qualities, taste and final appearance of our coffee.
Nowadays, many filter coffee makers already have a permanent filter. However, many allow it to be removed and therefore replaced by a conventional paper filter if the result is not convincing. However, the most basic drip coffee makers and the oldest ones (let’s not forget that these machines are usually very durable) still need the user to provide the coffee filter. And this is where we have to make a decision.
Which is better, a paper filter or a permanent filter? The differences between the two types of filter coffee machine filters are obvious, and we will go through them below.
First of all, let’s take a look at the different possibilities we have on the market:
As you can see, there are two essential types of filters for electric coffee makers: paper filters and mesh filters. Or, in other words: reusable and permanent coffee maker filters. The differences between the two are obvious, and the two types of filter have their pros and cons.
We do not advise one way or the other; in the end, it is the consumer’s taste that rules and everyone have their own preferences.
If you are a regular user of a drip coffee machine, you will surely be familiar with the use of coffee filters to prepare your favourite drink every morning. If not, this video by the company Bonka explains it very well:
Paper filters for electric coffee machines
These reusable filters for coffee machines are made of crepe paper, usually unbleached, and have a characteristic cone shape. To place it in the filter holder of our drip coffee maker, we only have to open it by hand and make the hole properly to ensure that the ground coffee is distributed evenly over the entire surface of the filter.
A paper coffee maker filter has one major feature in its favour: it is much thicker and less porous than a permanent filter. This means that it allows for less oil and coffee grounds to pass through from the ground coffee into the final beverage. This is often seen as an advantage, especially by the more puristic filter coffee consumers (coffee oils can lead to higher cholesterol).
However, there can be no written rules regarding taste and flavour. Some argue that removing these oils also detracts from the flavour or changes the traditional aroma of the filter coffee. As always, there is nothing written about tastes.
Cleanliness also plays a role in favour of disposable filter coffee machines: you don’t have to wash or rinse anything. Once the coffee has been extracted, you take out the filter and throw it away.
And speaking of paper filters, you should know that there are two types of these disposable filters depending on the type of paper used.
The former were filters made from bleached paper, but over time (they are now almost everywhere), coffee maker filters made from recycled paper, or unbleached paper, have become more popular.
These filters are much more environmentally friendly – many chemicals are used in the paper bleaching process – and do not cause any noticeable differences in the taste of the coffee.
If you would like to buy paper filters for electric coffee machines from Amazon, here are some of the options available
Coffee filter sizes
Paper coffee filters are available in various sizes.
The most commonly used are 1×4 (normal size, also known as Size No. 4) and 1×2 (smaller size, or Size No. 2). The latter is used by smaller drip coffee machines for individual use and little else, such as the Melitta Single5 or the Melitta Aromaboy.
Paper coffee filter number 4 is used by most normal drip coffee machines. They can even be used as filters for coffee machines with a maximum of 12 cups.
NOTE: All paper filters of the same size are valid for any coffee machine. In other words: Delonghi coffee machine filters are the same as filters for Melitta coffee machines or filters for Moulinex coffee machines. There are no distinctions in this respect, apart from using the right filter size for your machine.
There are also even larger paper filters, such as size 6, but they are suitable for a few domestic coffee machines and are not widely used within our borders. If you are looking for a large coffee machine filter, you probably need to use this size.
And of course, there are also paper filters for specific coffee machines, with special sizes and characteristics, such as Chemex filters or filters for Aeropress. The owners of these coffee machines will undoubtedly know them very well. They are not used as coffee filters for electric coffee machines. They have a specific shape and size.
Permanent filters for coffee machines
A permanent coffee maker filter is somewhat more porous (it has larger holes) than a paper filter because otherwise, it could not be washed or rinsed properly. They are built with a mesh, usually nylon or stainless steel, which sits around a plastic casing.
In appearance, they are all the same, but in reality, the material of which the permanent filter is made largely determines its durability and price.
The main advantage of permanent coffee maker filters, of course, is their longevity. While paper filters are single-use and usually purchased in packs of 100, permanent filters only require a small initial investment. This is why they are known as reusable coffee maker filters.
In the long run, they are more economical. And the more coffees we prepare at the end of the month, the more profitable they are. So they are a very common choice among large coffee drinkers or in houses where several members consume coffee and therefore have to prepare one or two coffee machines a day.
But it also has a disadvantage: because they have a fixed casing, you cannot adapt or play with them in the same way as with a paper filter. So if you use a permanent filter in your coffee machine, make sure it fits like a glove to the dimensions of the filter holder.
The taste of coffee according to the filter used
As a general rule, paper filters will let less sediment and dregs into the drink, and the result will be a somewhat lighter coffee.
With reusable or permanent filters, the taste of the coffee can be slightly more intense for the same reason. They will allow more elements of the coffee to pass through.
Of course, depending on the raw material used and the brewing times, our palate may not even notice this difference.
Then there’s the issue of filter thickness. Some people prefer to use a double filter (a paper one, over a permanent one) to obtain a super light coffee, completely free of oils, dregs or sediments. This technique, of course, is only suitable for unhurried consumers, as the coffee takes much longer to filter and would also be in danger of becoming bitter from too much contact with water. It would be a similar process to using an extra coarse filter.
Melitta, for example (one of the largest suppliers of paper filters for coffee machines), includes filters in various thicknesses in its range to make softer or stronger filter coffees, depending on the consumer’s taste.
Homemade coffee machine filters
If you are not convinced by the result of the permanent filters, and you can’t find any brand of disposable coffee machine filters that will give you the coffee you want, another solution is to make homemade coffee machine filters with your own resources.
How do you make a household coffee filter? Usually with cloth, but you can use other materials, but they won’t be as easy to handle. The exact method you can follow in this video is really easy!
How to clean the permanent filter
If you use them, you’ll know how to do it, but if you’re starting out in this world, you need to know how to clean the permanent filter of your drip coffee machine. Bear in mind that coffee grounds don’t always go away with a little water and that it’s very important to make sure there’s no debris left in the filter before you store it and use it next time.
- The first and most immediate thing to do is to rinse the filter well under running water. This step will be more effective if you do it just after finishing the coffee (when the grounds are still wet, not already dry).
- Then, wipe the coffee droplets with a clean cloth to dry them and remove any coffee residue that has not yet gone away with the water.
- Finally, let it dry in the air before storing it for the next time.
- When storing the filter or before the next use, make a quick ocular inspection to detect any possible remains, especially in the lower part -narrow- of the cone. Repeat the process from the first step (rinsing) if necessary.