This article focuses on cone coffee filter sizes and shapes. In fact, I go a lot deeper and cover basket filters and disk filters too as well as the materials used and how the shape and the material can affect the flavor of your coffee.
Keep reading as we get down and detail cone coffee filters (and other filters too!).
Cone Coffee Filter Sizes
Coffee filters come in different shapes and sizes, basket filters or flat-bottomed filters as they are also known, conical filters and oval or circular filters are the most commonly seen filter shapes.
Far less common are donut-shaped filters which are designed for coffee percolators. Let’s focus on the common coffee filter sizes.
- #1 Coffee Filters: This filter size is used for single cup coffee makers and pour over systems.
- #2 Coffee Filters: This filter size is ideal for 2 to 6 cup coffee machine or 1 to 2 cup pour over systems.
- #4 Coffee Filters: This filter size is perfect for 8 to 10 cup coffee machines and pour overs.
- #6 Coffee Filters: This size is for the larger coffee makers that can make more than 10 cups of coffee.
Let’s now talk about the different coffee filter shapes.
Read: Coffee filter 2 Vs 4
Coffee Filter Shapes
There are three main shapes in coffee filter designs, and it matters which one you use as they will alter how your coffee will taste.
Yes, you read that correctly, different types of coffee filters will alter how your cup of coffee will taste.
The name of this filter shape gives away how this one looks; it’s the popular conical coffee filter, wide at the top and shallow at the bottom end where it finally tapers to a point, like a cone. Also known as cone coffee filters.
This type of filter is commonly used in automatic and manual drip coffee makers and for making pour-over coffee. They are available in the standard sizes that we mentioned above, #1, #2, #4, #6. The size of filter that you need to use is based on the volume of coffee that your coffee maker can brew.
This shape of filter will produce earthier, darker flavors of cocoa, dried fruit and the smokey notes.
Flat Bottomed Filters, Also Known As Bucket Filters And Basket Filters
Bucket coffee filters, which are known as flat-bottomed coffee filters due to their shape. These are the filters that look a lot like disposable cupcake pans which you use for making muffins.
These bucket filters also come in the same sizes as conical coffee filters but produce a very different tasting cup of coffee. These filters are great at extracting the sweeter notes, like honey, tea and the floral and fruity notes.
Coffee has hundreds of compounds that affect the flavor which is why such a small and simple change such as the shape of the filter that you use can dramatically change how your coffee will taste.
Read: Coffee filter sizes
A disc filter is circular and made of, paper, cloth or metal and used for Aeropress coffee makers. These types of coffee filters are used almost exclusively with Aeropress coffee makers.
Donut Shaped Coffee Filter
These filters are exclusively used to line the coffee basket of coffee percolators. These are rare and almost never seen for two reasons: percolator coffee is rare and most percolators have a metal mesh basket that functions as a filter and an additional filter is not needed.
Coffee Filter Materials
Another factor in coffee filters is the material that the coffee filter is made from. This too affects the flavor of the final brew. The three main materials used are paper, metal and cotton.
Metal coffee filters are made of aluminum, stainless steel and, less common and harder to find, copper. This type of coffee filter has the advantage of being a permanent filter. With these you will never have that awkward situation of running out of filter papers.
Another notable advantage is that it causes less waste than disposable coffee filters. These are more commonly used in pour-over coffee makers and systems than other brewing methods.
You need to clean them after every use to remove the coffee grime, oils and more. These will last you a lifetime and will produce a bolder and stronger coffee that has a fuller body as a metal filter doesn’t filter out any of the coffee oils that bring flavor and body to your brew.
Cotton Cloth Filters
Cloth coffee filters come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for pour-over coffee systems and automatic drip coffee makers.
A cloth coffee filters are semi-permanent and can be used multiple times but must be washed frequently and after a while need to be replaced. Each filter is good for 100 uses.
A cloth filter is used in the same way as paper coffee filters: place your coffee grounds in them and pour your hot water over them.
Cloth filters will trap some coffee oils, while others will pass through, which results in a lighter coffee than a metal filter.
Paper Coffee Filters
Unquestionably, paper coffee filters are the most popular type of coffee filter and are available everywhere. Other than the different shapes and sizes, paper filters come in two different types: bleached and unbleached.
Paper filters produce a cup of coffee that is crisp and clean tasting due to filtering out all the coffee oils.
Starting with my favorite type of paper filter, unbleached coffee filters. These are better as they are less processed than their bleached counterparts and thus fewer chemicals getting into your cup of coffee.
These are the brown coffee filters that you see.
It is always good practice to rinse your filter before brewing.
Bleached paper coffee filters are bleached with either oxygen or chlorine. It is more common today for filter to be bleached using oxygen.
These are the white coffee filters that you see everywhere. Even though you can rinse your coffee filter with hot water some of the chemicals used will still remain in the filter and seep into your brew.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cone Coffee Filter Sizes
Which Is Bigger Size 2 Or 4 Coffee Filters?
A #2 coffee filter is 6.25 inches wide and 4 inches tall while a #4 coffee filter is 7.5 inches wide and 5 inches tall which makes the #4 coffee filter larger. Both coffee filters are cone shape coffee filters.
How Do I Know What Size Coffee Filter I Need?
Most drip coffee makers recommend an exact filter size depending on how much coffee is being made:
- #2 Filter: For brewing 2 to 6 cups.
- #4 Filter: For brewing 8 to 10 cups.
- #6 Filter: For brewing more than 10 cups
Is Cone Or Basket Filter Better?
Which is better is subjective and depends on what kind of the cup of coffee that you want to brew. If you want a cup that has the sweeter notes like tea, honey and the fruity and floral notes, then a flat basket filter will be a better choice for you.
If you enjoy the earthier and darker flavor like dried fruit, cocoa, umami and smokey notes then a cone filter is better suited for you.
Why Are Cone Filters More Expensive?
Conical coffee filters are more expensive as they are deemed to brew better coffee basket filters.
Does The Shape Of A Coffee Filter Matter?
Yes, the shape of a filter matters a lot. Just the shape alone can alter dramatically how your coffee will taste.
- Conical Filters: Smokey flavors, darker notes of cocoa, dried fruit umami.
- Basket Filter: Sweeter notes like honey, tea, and floral fruits flavors.
Not only the shape matters, the material used also influences the end result. Paper produces a clean, crisp taste. A metal coffee filter produces a fuller, deeper body while a cloth filter produces a result that is in between a paper and metal filter.
This is due to the amount of coffee oils that are filtered out by the filter material.
Can You Use Coffee Filters That Are Too Big?
No, when you use coffee filters that are too big you will end up with coffee grounds that spill over and lead to a horrible and filed brew and a big mess. Always use the correct size of filter.
Final Thoughts – Cone Coffee Filter Sizes
Cone coffee filter sizes range from #1, single cup all the way up to #6 which is for 10 or more with most people’s needs falling in the #2 and #4 filter sizes which are for 2 to 6 and 8 to 10 cups respectively.
The size is determined by the size of your machine and its capacity.
The question for you to figure out is which material you want to use, paper, metal or cloth and the shape of the filter that you want to use.
Join our cool coffee community and join in by sharing your recipes, creations and don’t forget those memes and jokes. Find us on Facebook/Meta.