Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Worthwhile Wednesday- Reusable Coffee Filters for a Good Brew

Last week I talked about roasting your own coffee, and trust me, you won't regret trying it. This week, I'm continuing with the coffee theme, and I'm going to show you how I make reusable coffee filters.

But first, here's a little bit about why I made our own:

1) I hate waste. I'm not afraid of washing or a little extra clean up if it eliminates waste. Less trash makes me very happy.

2) I'm cheap or frugal, if cheap offends you. This cuts out another thing we have to purchase. Instead of new filters every time, just pull out a reusable one.

3) It's easy. Like I mentioned before, I don't mind a little extra work, but when it's this easy- it's a no brainer.

Now back to the filters. We have two ways we brew coffee at our house and when you read these, I might remind you that we are coffee snobs.

The first is our French press. Hands down, best coffee if you use it correctly. Coffee needs two things to be extracted properly- 1) heat and 2) time or pressure (that's why espressos brew so quickly, pressure). I might add that this is one of the reasons I'm not a fan of the Keurig systems, not enough time or pressure (no offense if you love yours, it's not for me though).

So as long as your water is 198-204 degrees F and is in contact with the grounds for approximate amount of time (this depends on methods and grind- check it out here) than you'll have optimal extraction. For the French press that's easy, just get your water close to boiling and pour over (go with courser grounds so the filter catches them all, and you don't over extract- over extraction = bitter). At the designated time, push down slowly the metal filter and enjoy.

The second way we brew is a drip cup. Now my hubby thinks this is the better way to brew. The cup is conical shape (which provides better drainage = no sludge & better extraction) and drips the hot water directly into a single serving cup. With a good filter and good brewer it has the proper time for extraction. I must admit, I like it too and the hubby is a master at brewing...so I may have to give him this one.

But the problem with the drip cup? Filters! So to stop the waste and expense, enter make your own.

First you'll want a paper filter for a pattern. I used a number 2 filter. If you have a conical basket for a larger machine, you'll probably need a number 4. I added one inch seam allowances for each side.

Make your pattern and cut. For fabric, I used unbleached muslin. This is IMPORTANT. You definitely don't want to ingest any bleach or taste it- Yech.

I wanted a raw look up top, but also didn't want my fabric to rip or shred over time. So I did an overlock stitch on the top.

I then sewed all three sides together (1/2 inch seam allowances).

Trim the edges to remove excess fabric and then flip inside out. Press.  Sew three sides again (1/2 inch seam allowances).

You've just added French seams! Yay. The great thing about this, is it exactly mimics the paper filter, in that you have a thicker bottom portion to fold down over your drip hole. This slows the water down (remember time for extraction) and doesn't expose your coffee to raw seams.

But remember our raw top? I make it taller to fold over the cup. I hate when a paper filter gets caught by the water and folds over.  With it rounded over the top, no problem!

A simple and easy way to eliminate some waste.  Plus remember that easy part- it's not only easy to construct, but simply rinse out when done and allow to air dry.  No need to wash with soap- besides who wants soap flavored coffee??  If you do worry about germs, don't, just boil it and use again.

All in all very worth your time.

This post is linked to Frugally Days Sustainable Ways # 18.


Amie said...

Kate - from seeing these filters in person and in action... they are a work of art! (and I see you are selling them in your etsy store! for a ridiculously low price even!!!!)

Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy said...

Loooooove my French press. Use it every day!

Chele said...

Wondering if I could make & use these in an electric coffee pot? We use out automatic maker for tea rather than coffee. Thoughts? :)

Kate said...

Yes, if you have the conical basket. If you have a flat basket you can use a pare filter to make a circle filter or create a fabric basket that sits in it. But it works the same. :) hope that helps!

Kate said...

Me too! I'm not great at pour over cups, but my hubby is excellent. :)

Kate said...

Thank you, Miss Amie! The girls miss you and I'll get your filters out soon. :)

Chele said...

Thank you Kate!!! :)

WhisperingWriter said...


I've been called cheap but I don't mind. I use coupons a lot.

Michigan Loony Loomer said...

What a great idea! Thank you for the tutorial. What a cute, beautiful family you have!! God bless.

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