Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Coffee Filter


Bleached and unbleached coffee filters are usually the center of debates and discussions whenever a couple of coffee aficionados get together. You must be wondering if there really is difference between the two.

There are tons of people out there who stand firm in favor of their unbleached coffee filters. There is almost an equal number of coffee enthusiasts out there who believe that bleached filters do a far better job and even those who are of the view that there is no significant difference between the two. In this post, we will be analyzing the two kinds of filters. We will assess the differences between the two types and if they really play an important role in determining the goodness or even the badness of a coffee that you drink.

Bleached coffee filters do no impact taste

There is a common belief amongst coffee aficionados that the use of bleached or unbleached coffee filter has a bearing on the eventual taste of the coffee. However, you will be astounded to learn that this is merely a myth and there is no such reality in this misconception. It does not really matter whether you go for the bleached coffee filter or the unbleached one as it does not modify the overall taste of the coffee. The white color of the filters is not due to a large amount of bleach and neither does it alter the taste nor has any harmful repercussions on our health.

Bleached coffee filters

What are bleached filters? Essentially, they are paper that has been processed to make it appear white in color. Natural paper is not white in color such as the low cost paper bags that you bring home after doing grocery at the super market. Chlorine and Oxygen are the two primary products that are utilized in the bleaching process.

Chlorine is the same ingredient that is used to keep your swimming pool clean. It is typically used to bleach the filters but the ones bleached using oxygen are of superior quality. So, if you are in search for a high quality bleached coffee filter, then you should be getting your hands on the one that has been bleached using oxygen.

Having said that, bleached coffee filters are not suitable for the ecosystem. Firstly, bleaching the filters means that an additional step has to be undertaken in the manufacturing. Secondly, when used and thrown away, they can have negative impact on the environment despite the use of minimal amount of bleaching agent. Oxygen bleached filters are the better option here as well as oxygen turns out to be more eco-friendly in contrast to chlorine.

Unbleached coffee filters

In contrast to the bleached coffee filters, the unbleached variant does not boast the ultra-white appearance but they are organic in nature and eco-friendly. All paper is brown in color and needs to be bleached for the white outlook. No additional processing is required in the manufacturing of unbleached coffee filters and once they are discarded, they are nowhere as harmful to the surrounding environment as those coffee filters treated with bleaching agents such as chlorine.

There are certain differences that you need to be familiar with before begin using unbleached coffee filters. If an unbleached coffee filter is utilized in the coffee maker, you will find out that a slight flavor of paper is imparted to the coffee. This can be prevented quite easily by:

  1. Tossing the filter into the coffee maker
  2. Pouring little amount of water into it to make it wet
  3. Discard the water used to wet the filter and brew the coffee

These few steps can assist you in getting rid of that paper flavor being imparted into the coffee. Once you carry out these steps, you will feel no difference between the coffee brewed with the help of bleached coffee filter or that prepared with unbleached one.


Keep in mind that bleached or unbleached coffee filters do not have any bearing on the overall flavor of the coffee. The quality of the filter can, however, have serious implications in terms of taste so avoid making any compromise when purchasing a good quality coffee filter.

When choosing a coffee filter, ensure that you opt for the appropriate size of the coffee filter in accordance with the brewing technique that you are employing along with the appropriate thickness of the filter. Water seeps through easily in case of thinner coffee filters and this tends to impact the brewing procedure. Thicker coffee filters are expensive in terms of price but the difference in cost is miniscule so it should not really affect your decision making capabilities.


Now that we have come to the conclusion that quality is of paramount significance and the only difference between bleached and unbleached coffee filters is in terms of the color, let’s discuss the price associated with different kinds of filters. Unbleached filters undergo fewer manufacturing processes yet they are costly in contrast to their bleached counterparts.

So, if you are looking to save some money up your sleeves, it is judicious to opt for a coffee filter that is bleached using oxygen and thicker in contrast to the other varieties available out there. Of course, you can always go for the unbleached coffee filter if you have concerns for the environment but keep in mind that they cost slightly more than the bleached ones.

What is the best choice?

As discussed above, there are minimal differences between bleached and unbleached coffee filters. Of course, bleached filters go through additional manufacturing processes but neither of the two types affects the overall flavor of the coffee. So, you can opt for any of the two types. Unbleached filters are more environment friendly so if you have reservations for the ecosystem, then prefer them over the bleached ones.

Whether you opt for the bleached filters or the unbleached ones, remember not to make any compromise on the overall quality of the filters. That tends to have negative repercussions on the taste of the coffee. So, ensure that the filter is of the appropriate size and thickness so you can brew a brilliant cup of coffee in accordance with your preference.

A simple thing such as a coffee filter is a matter of voluminous discussions in the coffee world. Is it okay to go for a paper coffee filter or will a metal coffee filter do a better job? There has been considerable debate doing the rounds since ages whether a paper coffee filter is better option or the metal coffee filter has precedence over its competitor.

The question that springs to one’s mind is which one really makes the best coffee. Surely, what makes the best coffee is highly subjective and we believe that what one thinks is the best coffee is not necessarily what one thinks is the best coffee. So, in order to resolve this conundrum or even add more substance to it, let’s analyze these different kinds of filters and find out for ourselves the best one amongst them.

Paper Versus Metal Coffee Filters

It can be quite a complicated decision to make when it comes to choosing between the two types. So, we will do some brainstorming and answer a few questions that spring to our minds. By the end of it all, we should be able to determine the best coffee filter out of the two.

Which is the costlier option?

Metal coffee filters are expensive at the outset in contrast to the paper coffee filters which should not be a surprise at all. Paper filters are cheap per pack but one has to keep on buying them. If you are huge coffee fan, then this can add to your ongoing cost pretty fast. So, with metal coffee filters, you tend to save more in the long run.

Which one affects the environment?

We all should take care of our environment and put in our efforts to minimize the negative implications of our actions. Metal filters are the obvious leaders here. You can recycle and compost the old coffee but there are not many amongst us who are willing to undergo this kind of hassle. However, if you are anxious about your ecosystem, then metal filter is the way to go.

Which one is easier to clean?

This can vary from one’s preference to another. But in our view, a paper filter is easier to clean in contrast to the metal coffee filter. A paper filter simply has to be lifted and discarded while a metal filter needs to be dumped and then rinsed after each pot. Also, a metal coffee filter will have to be cleaned either in the sink or dishwasher to ensure that it remains clean and ready for use.

Which is the obvious winner?

In addition to all the benefits of coffee, there are certain drawbacks associated with as well. Coffee contains cafestol which is an oil that is known for raising one’s levels of cholesterol. More cafestol is removed from the coffee with the help of paper coffee filters which is why most of the experts are of the view that paper filters are beneficial for health.

However, the bleached coffee filters are bleached with a substance known as dioxin. There is an opinion amongst experts that bleach tends to make its way into the coffee once paper filters are used. A metal filter takes this risk of transfer of bleaching agent into coffee out of the equation.

You can, however, always go with unbleached coffee filters which do not contain dioxin and effectively remove cafestol. These are the ideal option if you are concerned about your health.

Does the type of coffee filter affect the taste of coffee?

If the coffee does not taste good, then all the aforementioned discussion has no point at all. Both metal and paper filters tend to produce coffee that has taste different from each other and that could be the primary factor in choosing the appropriate filter.

Since, not much of cafestol is removed by metal filters, so these oils tend to make their way into the coffee in greater quantities which produces coffee that is richer and vibrant in terms of flavor. If you prefer a cup of coffee that is rich and bold in taste, then metal coffee filter is the way to go.

More oils are filtered out with the help of paper filters. So, we get a brighter flavored coffee that is lighter in body. Most of the coffee enthusiasts prefer this flavor.

Again, paper coffee filters impart the taste of paper into the coffee. This can avoided by rinsing paper filter with hot filter first but of course that is an additional step in the brewing process.

So, to cut to the chase, if you prefer a bolder cup of coffee and are not worried about what really gets filtered, then opt for the metal filter. However, paper filer is great for those who prefer a lighter cup of coffee with a brighter taste.

Coffee brewing method

This discussion does not make any sense if you do not have access to a metal filter. Some coffee brewers come with a metal filter while others allow the user to purchase paper filters separately. There are brewers that do not offer support for metal filters such as pour over systems. You will have to check whether the manufacturer you are going for, offers support for the metal filter. If they do not offer support for the metal filter, then it is high time that you purchase a new coffee maker.

The debate versus metal coffee filter has been doing the rounds since ages and is probably here to stay for a long time to come. There are subtle differences between the two and the kind of coffee that they create. Both kinds of filters add a different flavor to the coffee world and which one you opt for depends on your preferred flavor. We would urge you to try out both the two types of filters and then determine which one suits your taste. After all, coffee is all about taste. Isn’t it?

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