Coffee filters are a common tool used to prepare coffee. They come in a variety of materials, such as paper, cloth, plastic, and metal. With the increasing awareness of global warming and climate change, there has been a push for consumers to use biodegradable products. Biodegradable coffee filters are considered to be more environmentally friendly as they minimize contamination by plastic contaminants and can be composted after a few months or years.
Paper filters are considered a brown or dry ingredient, which can be difficult to find in the lush summer peak and essential for maintaining the balance of the compost pile. Coffee is generally considered a good ingredient for the compost pile as it is dark in color but is rich in nitrogen. However, there has been some concern that when composting coffee will alter the pH of the heap. Coffee is acidic, but acid is soluble in water, so most of the acid is in the liquid we drink and there is little left in the used grounds.
By the time the grounds reach your compost heap, they have a fairly neutral pH that is somewhere in the 6.5 to 6.8 area and is perfect to add to your compost. To get a good idea of how paper filters and permanent filters affect the taste of coffee, the easiest way is to try both with your coffee maker and see which one you prefer. Metal filters tend to have slightly larger holes, so coffee granules can slide more easily through this type of filter. Coffee made with metal filters tends to be darker in color, has a more intense flavor, and may have some coffee sediments on the bottom of the cup or carafe. Paper filters are usually much thinner, so they trap more coffee beans.
Coffee made with paper filters tends to be clearer and brighter both in color and flavor. It is usually more translucent compared to coffee made with metal filters. They trap small coffee granules, most coffee oils and make coffee less dark and less bitter. This ensures that no paper flavor is introduced into your coffee and ensures that any bacteria that may be present are eliminated, since it was not bleached. Readers of an online news source in Oklahoma were informed this week that the tea bags and coffee filters they use to make their favorite hot drinks could contain a toxic and possibly carcinogenic chemical called epichlorohydrin. A suggested way to reduce this is to pre-moisten the filter by pouring hot water through the filter and discarding the water, then adding the ground coffee to the filter and brewing the coffee.
You can also opt for brown unbleached paper filters which become even more efficient fertilizer than white filters. It usually takes 6-8 months for coffee filters to completely break down and become unrecognizable. But there are other types of coffee making systems that tend to be made of glass and stainless steel, much safer options if you're worried about harmful chemicals in your coffee. The main drawback of using paper filters is to find a supplier with the right size and style (cone or basket) that your coffee maker requires and the regular cost of buying them. On the subject, Going Green's Burbanmom has offered to sew reusable fabric filters for coffee makers in the past.