Caring for a cloth coffee filter -- how?
June 30, 2013 9:16 PM   Subscribe

How do I care for my reusable cotton (flannel) coffee filter?

My Keurig machine broke, and I didn't find k-cups to be favorful enough, so I'm going far in the other direction and I just bought a Hario drip pot (compare to Chemex pour over coffee maker). And, of course, it came with a flannel filter.

Which is great! The placebo effect alone will have me believing it improves the flavor. Google seems to think I should keep it wet in a ziplock bag or something in the fridge between use. Is that right? Really? Do I just rinse it and toss it in when I'm done?

Basically, I'd prefer between use care taking to be as simple as possible, but I don't want anything to be gross!
posted by J. Wilson to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Keep it wet? Sounds like a great way to grow bacteria. I'd keep it clean and dry.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:05 PM on June 30, 2013

The filters that come with the Toddy cold brew system are thick, felt-like discs. The instructions say they can be reused up to 10 times or over 6 months (whichever happens first) if the filter is rinsed, placed in a ziploc bag, and put in the freezer.

Those filters may be even more prone to "going bad", as they're very thick and trap a lot of sediment that's hard to completely rinse out; they're used for cold-brewing so they're never incidentally sanitized with hot water; and they sit out at room temperature immersed in coffee and coffee grounds overnight each time you brew with them.

Flannel sounds thick (also odd to my mind for a coffee filter, but maybe flannel means more than I think it does - yes, I'm imagining a plaid cone filter). If you were to rinse it well and hang it up, would it dry quickly? If not, I think the freezer option in a ziploc bag would work fine. Rinse it to defrost it before brewing again. Certainly safer than keeping it in the fridge.

Alternatively, you could try rinsing and then microwaving the filter to sterilize it each time, then hang it up while it's steaming to dry quickly.
posted by WasabiFlux at 10:49 PM on June 30, 2013

How thick is this flannel? After my Toddy thing (the plastic part) broke, I started using a cotton flannel drawstring bag (which is actually plaid!) to cold brew our coffee. I grind up coffee, put it in the bag, then in a big pot with cold water, let it sit around for half a day, and voila, I have a pot of yummy coffee concentrate. I dump the grounds in the trash, rinse my bag really well and hang it up to dry. Every few weeks, I throw it in the washer with a load of towels (I'm not even sure why I do that, it just seems like a deep clean is a good idea once in a while). I'm not sure I understand the point of keeping it wet, that sounds weird!
posted by upatree at 11:48 PM on June 30, 2013

"Before each brew, I wet the filter/in the carafe with boiled water (that I will then be brewing with) in order to warm up the filter, but also give it a wash. Afterwards, I dump the grounds, remove it from the hoop, and give it a good 10 second hand scrub under some hot tap water. Then I soak it in a hot pyrex dish of leftover brewing water while I clean everything else up. When I'm done cleaning up my coffee station, I dump the cleaning water that the filter sat in, pour some cold tap water in, pop the pyrex top on and put the filter in the fridge."
posted by iviken at 1:53 AM on July 1, 2013

Yeah, you want to keep it in the fridge to inhibit the growth of nasties, but this also keeps some of the retained coffee oils from breaking down and going rancid.

Those coffee filters are functional, but they do retain quite a bit of oil over time, and do wear out eventually.

I you're looking for a long term filter solution re: sustainability, you should check out the Able Kone filter. It's very nicely constructed, and will last forever. And the cup profile is really nice too.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:21 AM on July 1, 2013

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