There are many different ways to brew a quality cup of coffee. Almost all of them, however, require a means of extracting the coffee grounds from the water once they’ve done their work. That’s where filter papers come in. In the case of an Aeropress device, this filter is positioned between two chambers, and removes the grounds as the water is squeezed from one to the other. In the case of a French press, the filter is a steel mesh which can be pushed up and down the cafetiere, forcing the grounds to the bottom and preventing them from leaving the container as the coffee is poured.
In the case of Chemex or drip-based brewing methods, things work slightly differently. Instead of using a permanent fixture, we use temporary paper ones. The paper filter is shaped into a cone and placed in a funnel (or ‘dripper’) and the top of a container. It’s filled with grounds, and then water is poured over the top. As the water slowly works its way downward through the grounds, it takes on that all-important coffee flavour, and slowly drips down into the vessel below. Once you’re done, you can then throw away both the filter paper and the grounds at the same time.
Choose from a selection of filter papers made by respected brands in the coffee industry such as Hario and Filtropa. Designed for the V60 and other coffee filter devices, these filters come in a range of sizes and quantities to suit frequent and occasional coffee drinkers alike.
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What do I need to consider when buying filter paper?
Thicker filter papers will, all other things being equal, remove more of the grounds than thinner ones. The reason for this is obvious: with more fibres of paper in the way, even the tiniest particles will have difficulty getting through. It’s worth remembering that we’re not just trying to eliminate visible grains of ground coffee-bean, but the oils that are naturally released from them during grinding. Once these oils have been removed, the result will be a smoother coffee.
You’ll need to be sure that your filter paper fits within the dripper you’re buying for. Fortunately, most drippers tend to share the same conical shape, but there are some flat-bottomed specimens, which offer multiple holes to allow for faster drainage and a lighter brew. Where possible, it’s best to shop for filters recommended by your dripper’s manufacturer. Big names like Hario and Chemex make their own filter papers, to match their respective drippers.
Some filter papers have been bleached in order to remove their natural brown colouring. This does influence the flavour somewhat, depending on how the bleaching is done. It’s best to experiment with both brown and white varieties in order to find out which you prefer.
How do I use filter papers?
Filter papers are easy to use, just add a fresh one each time you brew. However, some people feel that filters can influence the flavour of their coffee. While this is a real phenomenon, it’s worse in some papers than others. Fortunately, we’ve a reliable way of guarding against it – simply soak your paper before you add the grounds, being sure to dispose of the paper-infused water before you start your brew.
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