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Why Do Coffee Makers Use Filters?

Coby McKinley Profile image

Written By:

Updated August 29, 2022

While not every top-tier coffee maker uses paper or reusable filters, most consumer coffee brewing methods use them. That said, are you curious about why coffee makers use filters? You may assume the coffee filter basket simply stops your pre-ground coffee from getting in the thermal carafe, but that’s not all. According to certain studies, paper filters remove potentially harmful substances from the brewing process. So, if you’d like to learn why coffee machines use filters, read on.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Coffee filters keep coffee grounds out of our freshly brewed pots of coffee.
  • Depending on your chosen filter, certain oils are removed from the coffee, changing the flavor of your delicious coffee.
  • While paper filters are the most common choice, metal mesh and cloth filters are growing in popularity due to their reduced environmental impact.

Why We Use Filters for Brewing Coffee

Disposable coffee filters seem like a necessary part of the brewing process, but not every method uses them. For example, the French press and other unfiltered coffee methods offer a robust flavor that a filter coffee machine might alter. That said, there are multiple reasons you may want a filtered cup of coffee. For example, while some coffee drinkers crave unfiltered coffee flavor, it may be why you have grounds in your drip coffee maker.

Insider Tip

Do not reuse the same paper coffee filter for multiple brews. The paper will degrade, affecting the coffee taste and consistency.

Separate Coffee Grounds from the Brew

The first reason you should filter your cups of coffee is to keep the tablespoons of ground coffee out of your drink. As you get to the bottom of your pot of coffee, you’re more likely to get some grinds in your cup. If you want to keep the grounds out of your drink, paper coffee filters are the best choice. That said, a reusable or permanent coffee filter will let a few more grains into the coffee pot.

If your electric coffee maker stops making hot water, read our guide to fixing the issue.

Health Benefits

While some experts are split, multiple studies show that unfiltered coffee may let some harmful substances into your coffee carafe. For example, scientists measured the compounds in French press coffee, an unfiltered brew, and they found a substance called cafestol responsible for raising cholesterol in some people. Therefore, we recommend using a reusable coffee filter to keep a strong coffee flavor while removing harmful materials.

Warning

Remember to wash your metal coffee filters. If not, they will clog, resulting in a significant coffee leak in your kitchen.

F.A.Q.S

Do you need a paper filter with a permanent filter?

If you want multiple basket filters for a single brew, there shouldn’t be a problem. That said, you may lose some of the flavorful coffee notes during the brewing process.


What to look for when buying a single-serve coffee maker?

We recommend that you find a machine offering a large enough brew size for your coffee cravings. In addition, look for your favorite features like a coffee warm plate, a programmable brew time, and other advanced settings.


Will the type of coffee filter affect the taste?

Compared to unfiltered brews, a filter of any kind will make your coffee taste different. While metal filters leave in most oils and sediment, they offer a much darker brew than disposable filters.


Do you put hot or cold water in a filter coffee machine?

Experts recommend starting any brew with hot water. Pre-heated water will speed up your brewing process and produce full-flavored coffee in less time.


STAT: Private market research data show sales at coffeehouses increased by 97 percent between 1998 and 2003. (source)

Coby McKinley Profile image