Makeshift Coffee Filter

Makeshift Coffee Filter – Emergency Coffee Filters!

So you need a makeshift coffee filter, something you can use in an emergency. By the time you have finished reading this article, you will have a great idea and a list of items that you can use as emergency coffee filters.

…And the great news is, these are all items that you will find around your home and, in all probability, you already have many, if not all of the common items that make for a great substitute for coffee filters and as coffee lovers will tell you, it is far better to use these emergency makeshift coffee filters than brewing a cup of instant coffee!

Keep reading as we dig down and talk about substitutes for coffee filters!

Makeshift Coffee Filter – 10 Coffee Filter Replacement Hacks!

The following is a list is a great list of alternative for coffee filters that you can use to make a great cup of coffee without having to use the last resort of instant coffee.

The bonus part is, most of these are great temporary reusable filters while you wait to get your hands on new paper coffee filters.

Coffee Filter Replacement Hacks
A piece of cotton can work wonders!

Read: Can I grind coffee beans in a blender?

#1 Emergency Coffee Filter Substitute Paper Towel

The first thought and idea that comes to coffee lovers and coffee enthusiasts mind in their coffee filter backup plan is a paper towel.

You can most certainly use a paper towel as a makeshift coffee filter, but keep in mind that this as a homemade coffee filter will work, and is said by many to be an excellent coffee filter substitute. Just keep in mind the extraction rate will not be the same rate.

Also,

be aware of the not so healthy chemicals used in their production as they may adversely affect the flavor of your coffee.

The process is no different from making regular drip coffee. Just put the paper towel in place of your regular paper filter and add your coffee grounds. Make sure it is double or triple ply to ensure a decent extraction rate.

#2 Cloth Napkin or Dish Towels

Using a clean dish towel or a cloth napkin is another great effective coffee filter substitute that is very easy to use. Coffee will stain your dish towel so don’t go using your favorite one. Simply just drape it into the coffee compartment where you put your coffee filter and then add your coffee grounds.

Then add hot water, and you are ready to go. Keep an eye on the drip rate or extraction rate and taste test your coffee to ensure that it is well brewed and not under or over extracted.

Cloth Napkin or Dish Towels
Cloth Napkin or Dish Towels can make for great emergency coffee filters

#3 No Filter At All And Use Filter-Free Brewing Methods!

Got absolutely nothing around your kitchen that can be used as a fantastic coffee filter substitute the brew up a great cup of unfiltered coffee. You have a number of options, including French press coffee, Moka pot, or go old school and brew up some cowboy coffee.

Be sure to let your coffee steep to let it extract well, as per requirements of the brewing method. When I screw up and run out of filters, I simply use my fave filter-free coffee maker – the French press or the Moka pot if I want a particularly strong coffee.

Cowboy coffee is great because you can brew it with whole beans.

Coffee Filter Pro Tip: When you buy coffee filters, buy an extra pack. When the first one runs out, use the second one and immediately purchase a new packet of coffee filters. Stock management!

#4 Fine Mesh Sieves

Those of you that are masters in the kitchen and love baking and cooking will have a mesh sieve or a fine mesh sieve that you can use as a makeshift pour-over coffee filter and as a filter for a number of coffee brewing methods.

The simplest of techniques is to simply brew a cup of coffee in a similar way in which you would with a French press. Add coffee to a mug. Pour in your hot water. Then stir for 60 seconds or so and let them extract for 4 to 5 minutes.

Then pour your coffee over a fine mesh sieve and into a new cup filtering out the coffee grounds.

Fine Mesh Sieves
Fine Mesh Sieves are great backup coffee filters

#5 Cotton Sock

A cotton sock is a great alternative to coffee filters. It is a solution that has been use for many years. Reusable coffee socks is even a legitimate coffee brewing technique that I believe originates in Cuba and is used all over South America, specifically in Colombia. I’ve even seen these used street side in Thailand!

So, sock coffee without paper filters is a legitimate way of brewing coffee as it is.

Just put a couple of tablespoons of coffee grounds, medium or coarsely-ground coffee into your clean and recently washed coffee sock. Put your coffee sock inside your coffee pot and allow it to steep for approximately 3-4 minutes.

#6 Use A Handkerchief

A handkerchief or any sort of cloth, especially a cotton cloth that you have can be used as a backup makeshift coffee filter.

The technique is the same as the paper towel method that we spoke about earlier. You may need cut it into shape to suit your coffee brewer.

#7 Cheesecloth

This is probably one of the most common DIY coffee filter options as many coffee lovers use it as an emergency coffee filter and often as a piece of cheesecloth is used to filter out the coarse coffee grounds from cold brew coffee.

You can cut this alternative coffee filter replacement to size and to suit a number of coffee brewing methods. Be careful and don’t overfill it and perhaps fold it as your hot water will flow through it faster than it would through a paper filter. You make need to double brew or steep it for a couple of minutes in your coffee to compensate for an under extracted coffee.

#8 An Old T-Shirt

An old but clean T-shirt makes for a great coffee filter. Don’t use your favorite clothing item as it will stain it. Just like the methods above, you can cut it to shape to fit your coffee brewer or coffee maker.

#9 A Used Paper Filter

Well, if you have got to the last paper filter in your pack of paper coffee filters you can wing it and try and use that last paper filter until you get your hands on a new pack.

Backup Coffee Filter
The best solution is not to run out of coffee filters!

#10 A Wire Mesh Filter

A wire mesh filter is a great option that is reusable, washable and a backup that is there for you whenever you need to use it. There will be no unwanted flavors that you would expect from some of the other methods above.

Due to its design and functionality, it will not filter out any of the coffee oils and will brew a full flavored pot of coffee for you with the boldest of flavors – since none of the oils are filtered.

Frequently Asked Questions Related To Makeshift Coffee Filter

The following are a series of questions that are related to makeshift coffee filters.

Is It OK To Use Paper Towels As coffee Filters?

Yes,

Paper towels are a great and simple coffee filter alternative. There are a few drawbacks. You will need to fold the paper towel for filter well, and be careful of the drip rate and test the brew and see how it compares to a paper coffee filter.

Can You Make Filter Coffee Without A Filter?

Absolutely you can brew a great cup of coffee without a filter. Better still, you can and will end up with a better, stronger tasting cup of coffee as no coffee filter means none of your coffee oils will be filtered out.

Many coffee brewing methods use no filter or a metal filter.

Can I Use Cupcake Liners As Coffee Filters?

No. A cupcake liner is make of a different material and cannot be used as a coffee filter – not even as an emergency coffee filter. Cupcake liners are made of stronger perforation free paper which means your coffee will not drip through them.

It’s a total no-go!

Are Coffee Filters Necessary?

Coffee filters and optional, depending fully on the coffee drink that you are brewing. Many of the brewing techniques that require a medium to medium-coarse grind and above does not require a filter of any kind as an absolute must.

Their use can help to define how a coffee tastes. A paper filter produces a clean, crisp taste while no filter or a metal filter produces a bolder flavor. A cotton filter will produce a taste that is between the two.

Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up – Makeshift Coffee Filter

You have in this article 10 makeshift coffee filter ideas that you can use in an emergency as a backup for that undesirable situation of running out of paper filters.

Use the one or ones that are best suited to your coffee tastes and if you know of other ideas and common household items that you have used to filter your coffee in an emergency – give us a buzz on our social media and tell us about it – we will happily include it in this list. 

Coffee is love, it's more than love — it's a passion of mine. I've had the luck to have travelled and enjoyed the most exotic of coffee's and unique flavors, brewing methods and techniques of making the perfect coffee from Thai hill tribe coffee to Indonesian volcanic coffee, Malaysian coffee that comes in a tea bag and the array of flavors in Vietnam, from Vanilla to Orange to Coconut to Avocado to even salt coffee and the famous egg coffee. The best part of my coffee adventures is getting to mix with the locals over a nice brew and learning how they make it! I'm cited and referenced on Google Scholar for the topic of coffee.

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