Whether you prefer an automatic drip coffee maker or the meditation of a perfect...
Throughout the history of coffee, confirmed coffee drinkers were faced with one problem – what to do with those coffee grounds floating in the cup. In Turkey, a coffee maker skilled with the ibrik could swirl the coffee in the pot and pour carefully to avoid most of the grounds. The French Press was invented to push the floating coffee grounds to the bottom of the pot before pouring the coffee. Central American and Spanish housewives poured their boiled coffee through a linen sock to filter out the grounds.
All of these methods worked – to some extent, but no one came up with a really satisfactory method until 1908. That’s when a German housewife named Melitta Bentz, frustrated with the bitter taste of coffee grounds boiled in water, came up with the idea of pouring boiling water over ground coffee instead of adding the coffee to boiling water. She poked holes in the bottom of a brass pot, then grabbed a sheet of blotter paper from her son’s copy book, cut it to size and fit it into the bottom of the pot. Voila! The boiling water dripped soaked through the porous paper, carrying the flavor with it – but the bitter grounds stayed behind, filtered out by the very first coffee filter.
Melitta went on to patent her idea, and the company that she built to market it is still one of the top makers of coffee makers and filters today. Over the years, Melitta – named after its founder – has made numerous changes to the original filter cut from a sheet of blotter paper. The distinctive cone shape is the result of research that shows it is the best shape for extracting flavor from ground coffee. Melitta has developed special porous paper to be used in coffee filters, and in response to customer requests, the company now sells unbleached and natural coffee filters in many different sizes.
Melitta is not the only coffee-related company that started with an idea for a better coffee filter. In 1957, George Bunn introduced the very first paper coffee filter designed for commercial coffee makers. A few years later, he came up with the distinctive fluted design that makes a coffee filter stand up on its own. In 1963, Bunn-o-matic, the company that he founded, introduced the first pour-over coffee machine for commercial use, and millions of coffee drinkers learned to love restaurant coffee.
Back then, most home kitchens featured electric percolators to make coffee. Percolators came with their own metal filter baskets which were relatively efficient at keeping the grounds out of coffee. Only the most meticulous housewives used paper filters that fit into the bottom of the percolator basket to filter out every last bit of the grounds. It was only a matter of time before someone came up with a way to make restaurant style coffee at home, though. In 1972, Mr. Coffee introduced its first automatic drip coffee maker, complete with its most famous accessory – the Mr. Coffee paper coffee filter.
Today, there are many different kinds of paper coffee filters on the market. In addition, a number of coffee maker manufacturers also make steel and gold mesh coffee filters designed to fit their machines. Still, many people prefer paper coffee filters, which are easy to use and make it easy to dispose of the spent coffee grounds with little mess. In addition, there are a number of specialty coffee filters on the market, including reusable coffee filters for Keurig single serve coffee makers and eco-friendly cloth and metal coffee filters.
Top Three Coffee Filters
Mr. Coffee Coffee Filters
Mr. Coffee basket filters are easily the most common coffee filter bought in the U.S. today. The familiar fluted paper filter fits most standard 8-12 cup coffee makers with a flat filter basket. Mr. Coffee coffee filters are made of high quality paper and the white filters are oxygen bleached to avoid the presence of cancer-causing dioxins. Mr. Coffee coffee filters are also available to fit 4-cup coffee makers.
Bunn Paper Coffee Filters
Bunn coffee filters were the first paper coffee filters developed and sold for commercial use. Since 1957, George Bunn and his researchers have refined and developed the coffee filter as carefully as they have their coffee makers. The paper used in Bunn coffee filters is made especially for Bunn-o-matic, and exceeds the standards set by the FDA for products that come into contact with food. The heavy paper filters are easier to handle and have higher sides than most supermarket brands. The higher sides make it easier to dispose of spent coffee grounds neatly, and are less likely to overflow and spill grounds down the side of your coffee maker. In addition, Bunn coffee filters are 100% biodegradable making them environmentally friendly.
Melitta Coffee Filters
Melitta is most famous for their cons shaped coffee filters. The cone shape allows water to stay in contact with the coffee grounds for a longer period of time and funnels the water through the grounds to extract the most flavor from the coffee. The paper used in Melitta coffee filters has been specially designed with thousands of micropores to filter the coffee more efficiently. The seams along the side of the Melitta coffee filters is double seamed to prevent breakage that spills coffee grounds all over your kitchen counter.
The cone shape also makes it easier to clean up and dispose of the used coffee grounds and coffee filters. In addition to oxygen-bleached white filters, Melitta also makes natural brown paper filters that are not bleached at all. Like Bunn coffee filters, Melitta coffee filters are 100% biodegradable and environmentally friendly.