Using a permanent coffee filter is a simple but very effective step you can take to improve the flavor and quality of your drip brewed coffee.
While paper filters may seem convenient, and easy to dispose of the coffee grounds after brewing, there are several drawbacks to using paper filters. Paper filters filter out more than just the coffee grinds. A paper filter will also absorb the flavorful coffee oils that impart richness, body, aroma and taste to the coffee brew. Paper filters can impart other unpleasant "paper like" tasting side effects to the coffee. Worse yet, if the paper is bleached, you may notice a slight chlorine like taste as well.
A much better alternative to paper filters is a permanent, gold-plated or gold tone reusable coffee filter.
Permanent coffee filters are available in two general categories, Gold Tone and Swissgold.
Gold Tone permanent coffee filters are a manufactured using a durable stainless steel mesh, and typically less expensive than the gold plated products. The stainless steel gold tone products fall into the $10 to $16 lower price range.
The Swissgold premanent filters are made with 23 karat gold plated materials. The gold filter is chemically inert which won't taint, influence or introduce any "off" flavors into the coffee. The Swissgold 23 karat gold plated coffee filters are generally more expensive falling into the $20 to $35 range.
At an averge price of $10 to $20 for a permanent, resusable coffee filter, four boxes of paper filters will pay for a permanent filter in no time, certainly well worth the investment.
These permanent coffee filters have a fine mesh, but may allow a very fine grind or powder to slip through. Paper filters can accept a finer grind, but you may prefer a slightly more medium grind to achieve the best results with a permanent filter
The key is to create as fine a grind as possible, but just course enough so that particles or powder doesn't pass through the filter. A good quality burr grinder will give you the control to produce just the right grind level.
Moving from paper filters to a permanent filter also helps protect the environment and saves trees.
Permanent Coffee Filter - Cleaning and Maintenance
Be sure to keep your permanent filter clean. Over time, coffee oils and residue can build up creating a ransid taste that is easy to avoid. Rinse your filter after each use. A good quality gold-plated filter is durable and dishwasher safe. At least once per week, drop your permanent filter in the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. Permanent filters usually do contain some plastic materials so it's best to place on the top rack or shelf of the dishwasher.
With the proper care, your permanent filter will last a long time and deliver a superior cup of coffee as an alternative to using paper filters.