Metal vs Paper Filters: Which is Best for AeroPress and Chemex Coffee Makers?

Metal vs Paper Filters: Which is Best for AeroPress and Chemex Coffee Makers?

If you're a coffee fan, you know every little thing counts when it comes to making a great cuppa. And one of the most vital things you need to decide is choosing the right filter for your AeroPress or Chemex. It can be a bit of a mission to pick the correct filter with so many options out there. But don't sweat it, we're here to help.

In this article, we'll fill you in on the differences between metal and paper filters for your AeroPress or Chemex coffee maker. So, grab a seat, chill out, and enjoy a mug of your fave brew while we give you the lowdown on metal and paper filters for your AeroPress or Chemex. By the time you finish reading, you'll have all the knowledge you need to pick the perfect filter that suits your style and taste buds.

Table of Contents:

I. Introduction
II. The Basics of AeroPress and Chemex coffee makers
III. The Difference Between Paper and. Metal Filters
a. Metal filters for AeroPress and Chemex
b. Paper Filters for AeroPress and Chemex
IV. Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Metal and Paper Filters
V. Conclusion

    The Basics of AeroPress and Chemex Coffee Makers

    Let's kick off by getting to grips with the fundamentals of AeroPress and Chemex coffee makers before we dive into the nitty-gritty of metal and paper filters.

    AeroPress is a cracking brewing method that leverages air pressure to extract coffee from grounds. To make a cup, you add coffee and water to a chamber, give it a stir, and then press the coffee through a filter into a cup. The result is a scrummy and flavourful cup of coffee that's widely loved.

    Now, the Chemex coffee maker is a little different - it's a pour-over brewing method that uses a paper filter. You add coffee grounds to a special filter and then slowly pour hot water over them. The coffee then drips through the filter into a carafe, producing a clean and bright cup of coffee. The Chemex is famed for its chic design and its knack for bringing out the subtle flavours and aromas of different coffee beans.

    Both AeroPress and Chemex are highly flexible brewing methods that allow for a ton of customization and experimentation. While there's plenty of scope for customization, it's worth bearing in mind that the filter you use can make a big difference to the end result. That's why it's important to think carefully about which filter type is most suited to your taste preferences.

    The Difference Between Paper and Metal Filters

    Metal filters for AeroPress and Chemex

    Metal filters are a newer alternative to the traditional paper filters for brewing coffee using AeroPress and Chemex coffee makers. Coffee enthusiasts often debate between paper vs metal filters, weighing the pros and cons of each. 

    Unlike paper filters, which are a type of coffee filter that are disposable and absorb the oils and sediment from the coffee grounds, metal filters are a reusable coffee filter that allows more oils and sediment to pass through.

    While paper filters are the traditional choice for pour-over coffee brewing methods, metal filters have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among coffee enthusiasts who prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness. 

    Metal Filter

    Here's a comparison of the pros and cons of using metal filters vs paper coffee filters for AeroPress and Chemex coffee makers:

    Pros of using a metal coffee filter:

    • Reusable: A metal filter can last for years with proper care, which means you can stop buying paper filters and save some cash. Plus, you're doing your part for the environment by reducing waste.
    • Eco-friendly: Metal filters are a more eco-friendly choice than disposable paper filters. You're not contributing to the massive pile of coffee-related waste that ends up in landfills each year.
    • Better coffee taste: Using a metal filter can give your coffee a richer, fuller-bodied taste and mouthfeel. That's because more coffee oil and sediment can pass through the filter, giving you a more authentic coffee experience.
    • Sediment: Some metal filters can let more sediment through, which can make your coffee taste gritty or have a weird texture. If you're not into that, you might want to stick with paper filters.
    • Cleaning: Metal filters require more cleaning and upkeep than paper filters. If you don't take good care of them, they can affect the flavor of your coffee. But hey, a little cleaning is a small price to pay for a great cup of coffee.

    Paper Filters for AeroPress and Chemex

    Paper filters are the traditional and widely used option for brewing coffee with AeroPress and Chemex coffee makers. They are disposable and made of paper, which absorbs the oils and sediment from the coffee grounds, resulting in a cleaner cup of coffee. 

    Paper filters are also more widely available and come in various sizes and shapes to fit different types of coffee makers. Let’s take a look at  the pros and cons of using paper filters for AeroPress and Chemex coffee makers:

    Paper Filter

    Pros of using paper coffee filters:

    • Coffee taste – Paper filters can produce a bright and clean-tasting cup of coffee by absorbing natural oils and sediment, which may be a benefit for those who prefer a crisp taste. However, for those who prefer a more robust and flavorful cup with more natural oils and notes, a metal filter might be a better alternative. 
    • Variety: Paper filters come in different types, including bleached and unbleached. Each type can produce a different flavor profile, so you can experiment with different filters to find the one that suits your taste buds.
    • Easy to Use: Paper filters are the ultimate convenience. They're easy to use and require minimal cleanup. You don't have to worry about cleaning them or storing them. Simply use and dispose of them.

    Cons of using paper filters:

    • Waste: Let's be real – paper filters are a one-time use item that you toss in the trash when you're done. That means they contribute to the ever-growing pile of waste in our landfills. If you're trying to reduce your environmental impact, paper filters might not be your best choice.
    • Cost: Buying paper filters on the regular can really add up, especially if you're a coffee fanatic who needs a daily fix. You might save some cash upfront by buying paper filters, but in the long run, they can be a pricier option than reusable metal filters.

    Difference between Bonded and Unbonded Filters for Chemex

    When it comes to Chemex filters, there are two types: bonded and unbonded. The difference lies in their construction and how they affect the taste of your coffee.

    Bonded filters have a more dense construction and are made by bonding two or more layers of paper together. This process makes the filter stronger and less likely to tear while brewing. The result is a cleaner and brighter cup of coffee, with fewer sediments and oils.

    On the other hand, unbonded filters have a looser construction, with the paper layers being less tightly packed. This type of filter allows for a slower flow rate and more oils and sediment to pass through, resulting in a richer and more full-bodied cup of coffee.

    Choosing between bonded and unbonded filters comes down to personal preference and the desired flavor profile of your coffee. If you prefer a clean and bright taste, bonded filters are the way to go. If you prefer a more complex and flavorful cup, unbonded filters might be a better choice.

    However, it's worth noting that unbonded filters require a slower and more deliberate pour to prevent clogging, which may take some practice to get right.

    Here’s some great deals for both bonded and unbonded filters on Amazon, why not test them both?

     Chemex Classic Coffee Filters,
    Chemex Bonded Pre-folded Unbleached Square Coffee Filters, Set of 200
    Chemex Bonded Coffee Filters


    Fellow Prismo and AeroPress’s New Flow Control Filter Cap

    For those who prefer a metal filter with their AeroPress, the Fellow Prismo and AeroPress’s new Flow Control Filter Cap are worth considering. These accessories offer a range of benefits over traditional standard filters, including improved functionality and better value for money.

    The Fellow Prismo is a brew head attachment that replaces the standard AeroPress filter cap. It comes with a metal filter that produces a more full-bodied and rich cup of coffee than paper filters. The Prismo also has a built-in pressure valve that allows for a smoother and more consistent extraction, resulting in a more balanced and flavorful cup of coffee. The Prismo has a metal filter included and is not compatible with the standard paper filters. 


    Fellow Prismo Attachment for AeroPress Coffee Maker
     Fellow Prismo AeroPress Attachment


    AeroPress’s new Flow Control Filter Cap, on the other hand does not come with any filter and is compatible with both AeroPress’s metal filters or the standard paper filters. The flow control filter cap allows you to extend brew time and use coarser-ground coffee like pre-ground medium. 


     AeroPress Flow Control Filter Cap
    AeroPress Flow Control Filter Cap


    Both the Fellow Prismo and AeroPress’s Flow Control Filter Cap offer advantages over traditional metal filters, producing a more robust and flavorful cup of coffee. If you’re familiar with the well known inverted method, you’ll know it allows you to immerse the coffee grounds in water for a longer time and increases extraction. Both Fellow and AeroPress’s attachments offer similar benefits to the inverted method with more control and less mess. 

    If you're in the market for a metal filter and not particular about paper filter brewing, we suggest the Fellow Prismo as it comes with a high-quality metal filter at a reasonable price. But if you're open to spending a bit more and desire the flexibility of paper brewing, then the AeroPress Flow Control Filter Cap may be a superior option. In any case, we strongly recommend either of these options for greater control, improved brewing, and reduced mess.

    The Fellow Prismo comes with a metal filter while AeroPress’s Flow Control Filters are sold separately. 

    Final Thoughts

    Choosing between a paper and metal filter for your AeroPress or Chemex coffee maker can be a difficult decision. While both types of filters have their advantages and disadvantages, the choice ultimately comes down to personal preferences and priorities.

    If you prioritize sustainability and long-term cost-effectiveness, metal filters are the way to go. They are reusable and produce less waste, making them a more eco-friendly choice in the long run. If you prioritize convenience and a bright and clean taste, paper filters may be the better option. They are widely available, easy to use, and require no maintenance.

    No matter which type of filter you choose, the key is to experiment and find the right brewing method and grind size for your taste preferences. With practice and patience, you can become an expert at brewing high-quality coffee at home

    If you're interested in exploring more about AeroPress and Chemex coffee makers, check out our articles on the must-have accessories for AeroPress and the best Chemex accessories, including filters, lids, kettles, and stands. Click on the links to discover how these accessories can enhance your coffee-making experience and take your brew to the next level.



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