Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big coffee filter test 2021. Here we present all the coffee filters we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best coffee filter for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a coffee filter.




The most important facts

  • To brew coffee in a coffee filter machine, you need coffee filters. You can choose between paper filters and permanent filters.
  • While permanent filters can be used for several years with proper care, most paper filters can only be used once.
  • The most commonly used filter size is size 4. In some cases you may need a smaller fit such as size 2. Depending on the filter size and the number of cups you want to brew, you should use the right amount of coffee.

The Best Coffee filter: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a coffee filter

How much does a coffee filter cost?

Paper filters are always available in larger quantities, usually 40 to 100 in a pack. 80 paper filters from Melitta cost around two euros in the shops, high-quality paper filters can cost up to eight euros per 100 pieces.

Did you know that the most expensive coffee passes through the intestines of cats before it is roasted?

In Indonesia, coffee beans are fed to cats. The cats' digestion breaks down the bitter substances, giving the coffee its soft flavour, which is appreciated by connoisseurs. The price per kilo of Kopi Luwak coffee is between 800 and 1200 euros.

The prices for permanent filters also vary greatly. While the cheapest models start at seven euros, you can also buy permanent filters with gold plating for 30 euros.

How often can I use the coffee filter?

That depends on the type of filter you use. Paper filters should be thrown away after a single use and not reused, as the paper becomes softened after a brewing process and ground coffee is deposited, which should not be brewed more than once.

The permanent filter has earned its name because it can be used over a long period of time. If the individual parts of the filter are well made and properly cleaned, the permanent filter can be used for about two years if used daily.

A coffee filter is a filter that prevents coffee grounds from getting into the brewed beverage when making coffee. They are available as permanent filters made of porcelain or metal, and as disposable filters made of filter paper that is placed in a holder. Coffee that has been prepared using a coffee filter is called filter coffee. (Image source: unsplash.com / rawpixel)

How many spoonfuls of coffee do I put in the coffee filter?

Many factors influence the amount you put in, including your personal taste.

On the package of the vacuum coffee or on the filter bags, there is usually a guideline for the spoonfuls per cup, but this is often inaccurate because there is no information about the spoon size or whether it should be spread or heaped.

A more precise dosage is achieved with the coffee spoon, which is sometimes included with the purchase of a filter or coffee.

Otherwise, we recommend the following guideline, which you can change according to your taste and the aroma of the coffee you use: A generally popular dosage is 6g of coffee, which corresponds to about a level tablespoon, per small 125ml cup.

This means 48g of powder per litre of coffee.

Does the paper filter have a flavour of its own?

Many coffee drinkers who have prepared the hot beverage with white bleached filters as well as with the brown variant are of the opinion that the brewed coffee with brown filter coffee has an aroma of just that.

Some manufacturers advise rinsing the paper filter briefly under running water before placing it in the insert, so that any taste-distorting substances are flushed out.

What sizes of filter are there and which is the right size for my machine?

The standard size that fits most filter coffee machines is size 4. Size 2 is often used for machines with a smaller capacity.

In 1960, when coffee was brewed by hand instead of using machines, Melitta invented the size "1×4", which at that time meant that the user got about two cups of coffee from a single pouring of water.

Since coffee machines are mainly used nowadays, the "1×4" size has largely been replaced by the "size 4", although the old designation is usually still displayed on the packaging.

However, with today's filter coffee machines, you can make more than four cups. The correct size is stated in the instructions for your machine or in the filter insert. If you are not sure about the size, it is worth taking a look at the product's website.

Decision: What types of coffee filters are there and which is the right one for you?

In this section we will introduce you to these two basic types of filter for filter coffee machines: Paper filters and permanent filters. There are also two other types of filter, namely the hand filter and the basket filter.

The first is made of ceramic, porcelain or plastic and you can use it to brew coffee by hand without a filter coffee machine. The basket filter with its curved filter paper is hardly known among private individuals, as it is mainly used for coffee machines for industrial use.

Since we are presenting filter coffee machines for individuals on our page, we will only deal with paper filters and permanent filters in the following.

Advantages and disadvantages of the permanent filter compared to a paper filter

The main advantage of the permanent filter is, of course, its long service life. Depending on how long you use it, it is cheaper to use than paper filters.

On the other hand, the purchase price is also higher. Another positive aspect is that metal filters do not impair the taste of the coffee, unlike paper filters. The biggest disadvantage is that the material is more permeable than paper and powder residue is deposited on the bottom of the cup.

Advantages
  • can be used several times
  • more cost-effective for frequent coffee brewing
  • does not change the taste of the coffee
Disadvantages
  • more expensive to buy
  • does not fit all machines
  • coarser-pored, possibly powder residue in the coffee

Bear in mind that some coffee machines are already equipped with a permanent filter. Therefore, before buying filters, open the filter insert and check this!

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate coffee filters

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate coffee filters. This will make it easier for you to decide which type is suitable for you.

In summary, these are:

  • Material
  • Size
  • Circumference
  • Colour
  • Frequency of coffee brewing

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Material

As the name suggests, paper filters are made of paper. The pores of the material are so small that even finely ground coffee does not end up as powder residue in the coffee.

The housing of the permanent filter is usually made of black plastic and the filter mesh of fine stainless steel. The term "gold filter" refers only to the colour of the filter, not to its material.

Since the soft metal foil cannot be as fine-pored as its paper counterpart, it is more common with this type of filter for coffee deposits to find their way into your cup.

Size

Although most machines use size 4, you should find out which size is suitable for your coffee filter machine before making a purchase. Especially with machines for a few cups, the filter size will definitely vary.

Some very inexpensive coffee machines are built by the manufacturer in such a way that there is hardly any space between the upper part of the filter insert and the lid, which makes it impossible to use a permanent filter.

Find out beforehand whether this is the case with your machine. Paper filters are available either in a pointed shape or with a bevelled tip.

The following sizes are available:

Size is also called corresponds approximately to old size designation Coffee machine capacity
4 1 times 4 102 Standard (larger than 800ml)
2 1 times 2 101 Small (smaller than 800ml)
202 no specification no specification Extra-large, catering machines

Note that size 2 is smaller than size 4 and is mostly used by machines with a small water tank. 101 and 102 are the old designations of coffee filters and they are less common nowadays than size 2 or 4.

Whereas permanent filters usually only have the new size designation, paper filters usually have a designation such as "size 4 / 102". However, you should bear in mind that size 102 corresponds approximately to size 4, but not 100%.

Filter type 202 is a special model from Melitta and is mainly designed for industrial coffee machines with a very large water tank. The pyramid-shaped, rather than blunted, tip makes this filter unsuitable for almost all other filter coffee machines.

Scope

While you always buy the permanent filter as a single piece, with paper filters you have to decide whether you want to buy many or just a few.

Depending on the manufacturer, there are at least 40 to a maximum of 100 filters in a pack. For example, if you like to try out brown filters to see if they leave an unpleasant taste in your coffee, it's a good idea to buy fewer filters first.

It is also worth trying out several models of coffee filters, as long as the price of the filter(s) is not too high. Furthermore, it is worth asking friends. (Image source: unsplash.com / Tyler Nix)

Colour

The paper filter is available in white and brown. The white filter is bleached, the brown one natural. The latter sounds positive at first, but some users of brown filter paper report that it leaves a taste in the coffee.

We recommend trying both types of filter so you can decide for yourself whether you notice a difference or not. The permanent filter also comes in different colours: gold, silver as well as different gradations of the two colours.

Frequency of coffee brewing

You should think about how often you use your coffee maker a day and how many people you make coffee for. If the machine is used frequently or if you often brew several pots in a row, for example for a large household or when guests visit, then it is inconvenient to clean the permanent filter well after each brewing process.

If the filter is not cleaned properly, powder residues can get stuck in the filter and spoil the taste during the next brewing process. So that guests do not have to wait too long, it is advisable in this case to use paper filters that can be disposed of quickly after use.

If you still prefer to use a permanent filter, we advise you to always have a few additional paper filters in the house. You want to know exactly how often you need to brew coffee to make a permanent filter worthwhile? Find out with our overview table.

Price per brew for daily coffee brewing

(Price calculated on the basis of one year's use of the permanent filter)

Coffee filter Price per brewing process
Swiss Gold permanent filter 9.1 cents
Hario paper filter 7.4 cents
Melitta paper filter 6.5 cents
ScanPart permanent filter 2.2 cents

Facts worth knowing about coffee filters

Can I make a coffee filter myself?

Yes, you can. To do this, take an unused pair of women's nylon tights and cut off the leg, leaving only a kind of stocking.

Fill it with your ground coffee and you can brew your hot drink by hand. You can also put it in the filter insert of your coffee maker, but make sure that the stocking doesn't slip off and get powder into the finished drink.

Why does the coffee filter overflow?

There can be several reasons for this. First, check if the problem only occurs when you brew a full pot and the water tank is (almost) full and the coffee filled into the filter almost reaches the top of the filter.

If the problem also occurs when the amount of water or coffee is low, then a part of your coffee machine is defective or not working properly.

In both cases, you should work through the following questions, which may explain the reason for the overflow:

  • Has coffee powder fallen into the filter insert and clogged the lower filter opening?
  • Is the drip stop broken?
  • Have you not descaled the machine for a long time?
  • Have you put more ground coffee in the filter than the maximum amount specified in the operating instructions?
  • Have you not cleaned the permanent filter properly?

In rare cases, particularly hard or soft water from the tap can cause it to run through the filter less easily. Also note that you should always fill the tank with cold/room-warm water and not with water that has already been heated.

If you have not found the cause of the problem, you should contact the manufacturer. In any case, the overflow has nothing to do with the filter itself - unless you have not cleaned the permanent filter.

How do I clean the coffee filter?

While you dispose of paper filters after one use, you can clean permanent filters very easily.

First, pour out the coffee grounds and remove any coffee residue from the filter under a running tap. You can also clean the permanent filter in the dishwasher.

Who invented the coffee filter?

More than 300 years ago, fabric scraps were used to fill the coffee powder and brew the coffee separately from the water.

Did you know that the first coffee filter was invented by a housewife?

In 1908, the German housewife Melitta Bentz wanted to reduce the bitter taste by brewing ground coffee in a container of water and thus invented the coffee filter.

However, the paper filter was only invented about 100 years ago by Melitta Benz, the founder of today's brand manufacturer Melitta.

Can I do something with the coffee grounds other than throw them away?

Yes, you can! Some coffee drinkers swear by a face or body scrub with coffee grounds - look for suitable recipes on the internet. The minerals in coffee grounds also make them suitable for use as fertiliser.

To give you just a few examples, we have listed other uses of coffee grounds in the following table and exactly how you can apply them.

Use Effect Application
Fertiliser Coffee grounds contain active ingredients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, making them perfect fertilisers Simply mix a few spoonfuls into the potting soil and let the coffee grounds do their work.
Compost The nitrogen it contains ensures the acidification of the compost. It also attracts earthworms, which speed up the composting process Do not dispose of coffee grounds in household waste, but on the compost heap.
Pests With the smell of the coffee grounds you can also easily drive away ants, snails or wasps To drive away wasps you have to light the coffee grounds in a fireproof bowl. For ants and snails, simply sprinkle it on.
Clean grill and pans coffee grounds work like scouring milk on burnt-on food just scrub with a sponge and the coffee grounds.
Fireplace To avoid the dust cloud when removing the ashes you can actually use coffee grounds to help Simply sprinkle the damp coffee grounds over the ashes and remove them.
Remove odours Coffee grounds absorb foreign odours very easily. Stinky feet or fridges often smell particularly bad Simply put the coffee grounds in your shoes or in a bowl in the fridge and breathe easy the next day!
Cellulite peeling coffee grounds contain -naturally- caffeine, which improves blood circulation and stimulates the breakdown of fat in the cells 2 tbsp. coffee grounds
1 tablespoon coconut oil/olive oil
1 tsp. cane sugar
mix and apply to the affected areas and massage in.
Hair treatment coffee grounds stimulate the circulation and give your hair strength and shine either mix into your shampoo or apply directly and massage in well.

Picture source: 123rf.com / THANAKON KHONGMAN

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