Coffee filter paper should be rinsed.
…but some filters made water undrinkable and their were some surprises!
The recommendation to pre-rinse the coffee filter was in nearly every one of the first 100 or so coffee brew recipes we added to the How to Make Coffee Database.
Curious just how much the filter changes the taste of the water, we tested a handful of the filters laying around the house.
The water was set to 206F and approximately 150 grams of water were used to rinse each paper. The water was poured just as I would do to rinse the paper before a pour-over, making sure to swirl around the sides and wet the entire filter where the brewing would take place.
From left to right we tested water poured through:
- Nothing – just hot water poured into a cup
- Kalita Wave – brown filter paper
- Melitta natural #4 filter
- Kalita Wave – bleached filter
- Hario V60 bleached paper
- Chemex bleached paper
- AeroPress bleached paper
The results from best to worst
- (1) Hot water in a cup – there is some order in the universe.
- (2) Hario V60 bleached filter – tasted the closest to the hot water with a touch of paper
- (3) AeroPress filter – more paper flavor than the V60 but not too offensive
- (4) Kalita Wave bleached filter was very close to the natural filter paper overall
- (4) Kalita Wave filter natural filter tasted like a nice earth mouthful of paper and was preferable to the bleached paper when hot
- (5) Chemex filter – very strong paper taste and smell with notes of glue – like licking envelopes all afternoon – BLEH
- (6) Melitta natural filter – wow, never would have guessed that was water
Stumptown also tasted water and coffee brewed through paper filters. They tested a Chemex filter, V60 filter, Melitta filters and a sock cloth filter. They also recommend washing the filters but their results were a bit different then ours and thankfully we didn’t have a natural sock to test (that sounds dreadful).
- They said the Chemex filter was the cleanest and most neutral – WHAT? Tasted horrible here, I ran to the sink and spit the water out.
- Stumptown said the V60 filter tasted like grass on the first rinse but better on the second. No taste for us!
In hindsight, maybe I should have pulled out the refractometer to check if there was a difference in total dissolved solids. Not sure my instrument has the sensitivity but I will have to come back to this test and check.