What Can I Use Instead Of Coffee Filters - Hidden Alternatives In Your Kitchen!

What Can I Use Instead Of Coffee Filters? – Hidden Alternatives In Your Kitchen!

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:46

If that question, what can I use instead of coffee filters, has been bugging you this article will show you the hidden alternative that you have in your kitchen.

There are some great emergency coffee filters that you can use and that will produce a great tasting coffee!

Keep reading for the details!

What Can I Use Instead Of Coffee Filters?

When you are out of coffee filters, and it affects the best of us and as fate has it, it always hits us when we are in need of a serious boost!

Thankfully, there are many coffee filter substitutes that you can use that will produce a great cup of coffee.

A coffee filter substitute like a dish towel, paper towel and other cloth items are the most popular choices. I’ll talk about those and what you need to be aware of in order to not get some funny flavors in your brew.

Take this opportunity to give some serious consideration to properly managing your paper coffee filter and doing a little stock management.

Buy 3 boxes, when you open that last box, go online or head to your local store and order 3 more.

While you are there, get your hands on a semi-permanent or permanent coffee filter. I’ll detail those in a minute.

What Can I Use Instead Of Coffee Filters
Paper Coffee Filters Are Not Your Only Option

Read: What can I substitute for a coffee filter?

#1 Metal Coffee Filter

A metal coffee filter can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • Stainless steel.
  • Aluminum.
  • Copper.
  • Gold.

My preferred material of the three is copper as it is a material said to bring many health benefits as per the alternative medicine practice of ayurvedic medicine.

Gold filters are rare and are usually filter baskets for drip coffee makers.

Metal coffee filters are permanent filters and when looked after well to ensure that they don’t get clogged can be passed through generations.

You can use these both in your coffee machine and simply add your coffee as you normally would, or you can use them for your pour-over coffee depending on which one you have.

#2 An Organic Cotton Cloth Coffee Filter Or An Organic Hemp Cloth Filter

An organic cotton cloth coffee filter or an organic hemp cloth filter are semi-permanent filters that will get from 90 to 120 uses out of them before you need to replace them.

Organic is best as there are no harmful chemicals used in their production that may seep into your cup of coffee.

Cloth filters come in a variety of shapes, from flat bottom, cone, and as a coffee sock.

They work great for pour over coffee. With your drip coffee maker it is a matter of trying and finding out. It all depends on the type of coffee machine you have and the flow rate. Add your coffee grounds and watch your hot water to ensure that your coffee maker doesn’t flood.

Cloth Coffee Filter
Cloth Coffee Filter

Read: Can you substitute a paper towel for coffee filter?

#3 Cheesecloth

If you are an avid fan of making cheese or alternative milks like almond milk and have some spare cheesecloth, you can use it as a very effective coffee filter substitute for filtered coffee of all kinds.

If you use a paper filter in your percolator, coffee urn, the portafilter of your espresso coffee machine.

The one issue that a cheese cloth has is the pores are larger than paper filters and thus the water flows quicker. You will likely need to double your cheesecloth to prevent it from flowing too fast.

By far the best method is to cut your cheesecloth to shape for your particular coffee maker, be it an Aeropress, a percolator, a siphon coffee maker or whatever it may be.

Add your coffee ground and brew your coffee. For pour over coffee and drip coffee machines, drape your cheesecloth in your filter holder or your coffee basket and use the weight of your coffee grounds to ensure that it is held in place. You can also use paper clips or a rubber band.

#4 Cloth Napkin, Dish Towel, Handkerchief Or A Sock

I’ve added these four popular methods together; although they are good and are effective, they all have the same inherent drawback, the same problem.

You have most probably already washed them using either a natural or chemical based detergent or fabric softener which will seep into your drink and spoil the flavor and impart some unhealthy chemicals.

A cloth napkin, a handkerchief and a dish towel are used in a similar way. You can simply drape them around your filter holder or coffee basket and add your coffee.

You can, if you so wish, cut the item to shape.

A sock is used by adding your coffee grounds to the sock and pouring your hot water over the coffee grounds. I find that letting the coffee sock steep for a few minutes gets a better tasting coffee.

Prior to using any of the above items, rinse well with an abundance of hot water to remove the scent of any fabric softener or detergent used.

How To Use Paper Towel As Coffee Filter
A Paper Towel Is Not The Best Choice

Read: Coffee filter substitute 

How To Use Paper Towel As Coffee Filter

Paper towels, kitchen towels, toilet paper, a paper handkerchief or a similar such item are the most obvious and popular solution for that moment that you are clean out of paper filters.

I have a large dislike for their use as they are chemically treated and often have dye used to pattern them. Even the pristine white ones are treated with bleach.

Unfortunately, unlike a dish cloth, sock or napkin, you can’t rinse out the chemicals used.

Thus, it is better to use paper towels that are made with organic material and are untreated with any chemical agents.

Line your coffee filter holder or filter basket with your paper towel, add your ground coffee and pour your hot water over them carefully.

If you are using an automatic drip coffee maker, monitor the flow rate to ensure your coffee compartment doesn’t flood.

Be mindful of the fact that paper towels are not the strongest of materials and may tear during the brewing process.

My Favorite Coffee Filter Substitute For Coffee Maker

My favorite coffee filter substitute for a coffee maker is not really so much of a substitute as I have a preference of using it as my regular filter and that is my beloved permanent coffee filter, a copper permanent coffee filter.

I have both one for pour over and one for my drip coffee machine.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Can I Use Instead Of Coffee Filters

What Happens If You Don’t Use A Coffee Filter?

If you don’t use a coffee filter of any description you can and will end up with some coffee grounds in your cup of coffee which will, while there, continue to extract.

Can You Make Coffee With Just A Paper Filter?

Yes, you can use just a paper filter and coffee grounds to brew reasonably good coffee, but you will get much better results when you have a filter holder like a Hario V60 or Kalita Wave.

Is Filtering Coffee Necessary?

Yes, at the very least filtering your coffee is necessary to prevent coffee grinds from getting into your brew and making it gritty and spoiling your coffee.

Are Coffee Filters Important?

Yes, if you want an enjoyable coffee without coffee grinds getting into your cup of coffee, a coffee filter is an important and essential item that you will need to ensure that coffee grounds don’t end up in your brew.

Also, the use of a filter gives you control over the contact time to a degree based on the type of filter and the material that is made from which influences how your coffee will taste.

Do You Need Filter Paper For Filter Coffee?

Although many coffee lovers claim that it is a personal choice, the use of a filter paper, a metal filter or a cloth filter is essential for you to ensure that you don’t get any sediment from getting into your cup and having some control over how much coffee oil gets into your brew based on the type of filter that you use.

Do Paper Coffee Filters Have Plastic In Them?

Paper coffee filters are made of paper but not absolutely 100% paper as there is a very small amount of plastic that is used to bind the paper fibers.

Is It Safe To Reuse Paper Coffee Filters?

Yes, you most certainly can reuse coffee filters. Even though they are cheap, and coffee enthusiasts may get a little snobby and insist on using your filter only once, the hard fact of the matter is you can use your filter a few times and still get great coffee.

As a bonus, there will be less waste which will help the environment.

Do Coffee Filters Make A Difference In Taste?

Yes, a coffee filter makes a big difference to the taste of your coffee. It is important to know that using a coffee filter does not detract from the flavor of your coffee, but it does alter how your coffee will taste depending on what type of filter you use.

A paper filter will result in a very clean and crisp tasting coffee while a metal filter produces a bolder coffee with a heavier body. A cotton filter will result in a coffee that is a middle ground between a paper filter and a metal filter.

Final Thoughts – What Can I Use Instead Of Coffee Filters?

If you have read this far, you should have the question, what can I use instead of coffee filters answered, and you have a great list of everyday items from around your kitchen that you can use as an emergency coffee filter.

If you need more ideas or have pertaining questions that you need answered, ask away as I am delighted to help you and answer all those questions that are bugging you.

Join our cool coffee community and tell us about your own DIY emergency coffee filters and tell us about the great coffee beans that you are trying out. Find us on Facebook/Meta!

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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