A German housewife going by the name of Melitta Bentz invented the first coffee filter. After much experimentation and being fed up with having to pull out stray coffee grounds from serving cups, she created something that would prove indispensable to the coffee-making process.
Filters are today an essential kit when brewing coffee. True, most of them are made of paper, small and the cost is minimal but without their humble presence, brewing your morning cup of Joe would be more time-consuming.
Today, the options before you are endless when it comes to making a quality cup of coffee. But the main question is: should you use a bleached or unbleached coffee filter? Are they any different?
Impact On Taste
Many coffee lovers are interested in knowing what processes will bring them closer to that perfect tasting brew. Most people tend to believe that using either an unbleached or bleached coffee filter will alter the taste of their coffee. This really isn’t the case. Regardless of the filter, if you have a quality coarse ground coffee, the taste will remain the same.
From what we have been able to find out, not much bleach is actually used during the manufacturing process of bleached coffee filters. That’s why there is no direct impact on taste or any negative health side effects.
Some people claim that unbleached filters affect the coffee by imparting a slight taste of paper. This, however, can be avoided by wetting the filter carefully before you brew the coffee.
Bleached filters, unfortunately, are not that good when it comes to their impact on the environment. First, their production entails the manufacturing process. Secondly, when discarded, they can pollute the environment even though they only contain a minimal amount of bleach. During the bleaching process, the agent used is either oxygen or chlorine. Oxygen is more preferable for it’s a more natural approach.
While unbleached filters don’t necessarily brew a better-tasting cup of Joe, they are friendlier to the environment. They are, for one, less processed compared to bleached filters, as is evident from their brown color. Being less processed, they obviously present a better environmental health option.
Filter Quality Matters
Bleached and unbleached coffee filters generally have minimal effect on how your coffee will taste. What can potentially impact the taste is the filter’s overall quality. When buying a coffee filter, avoid all efforts at saving a few cents as that could make all the difference. A cheaper bleached filter could add just as much of a papery flavor to your cup of Joe, if not more, just as would a high-quality unbleached coffee filter.
Coffee Filters Verdict
In the bleached or unbleached coffee filters debate, it basically comes down to personal taste, preferences, or the environmental impact. When deciding to buy either unbleached or bleached coffee filters, follow your gut. Both are capable of producing a tasty cup of Joe. But remember the quality matters and no matter the choice made, always buy high-quality coffee filters. This is what will ultimately affect how your coffee will taste.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.