Wednesdays are for education!
We'll be taking Wednesdays to focus on education in coffee terminology. Accessibility in coffee can be as simple as understanding the jargon of coffee. Hopefully you'll find this useful and find that it helps you expand your understanding of coffee a bit more!
This week: FILTERS
No one wants ground coffee in their coffee drink. In the simplest of senses, this is why we filter coffee through some sort of medium - cloth, paper (bleached/unbleached), laser cut metal, metal mesh, etc. Your selection of filter will depend largely on what you want from your coffee. But whatever you do choose, make sure you're choosing a quality filter. Materials used, consistency, and leaching can all make a difference in the cup, so choose a proven, high-quality filter!
First of all, we're covering drip coffee here. Espresso is a uniquely separate conversation full of rabbit holes and tangents.
So! Cloth filters are not commonly used in specialty coffee. While they can do a good job of filtering coffee to a nice clarity, their maintenance is not desirable or functional for most. Most consumers will be making decisions about paper filters vs metal filters.
The biggest benefit of a paper filter is in the flavor definition, brightness, sweetness, and nuance in the cup. We think coffee brewed with a paper filter tastes superior to other filter types due to how well they filter sediment and oils from the cup. They also make cleaning a breeze, and most paper filters are compostable, so you can toss the filter + spent grounds right into your compost bucket. Drawbacks include waste (esp if you aren't able to compost), lack of reusability, forests are cool, and cost since you have to replace those you use.
Benefits of a metal filter include fuller-bodied cups, less waste, no deforestation, and cost-savings over time. Drawbacks with metal filters include muddy/murky/sludgy cups of coffee, cleaning can be a hassle, and upfront cost.
The good news here is that as a consumer, you have a ton of options at your disposal. There are metal and paper filter options for many brewers out there - so have some fun, run some experiments, and decide what you like best! - 2 months ago