Since the very beginning of my interest in coffee there has been a conflict against the potential waste involved with it. First, I start by removing my coffee from a bag that may or may not be recyclable. Then, I wash out my coffee appliances, a V60 or Chemex and place a paper filter in. I boil water with my electric kettle and then I use that water to wet the filter, to remove the papery taste. I dump in the ground coffee and brew up a delicious cup! After that, however, I toss the filter in the trash and repeat this process everyday, sometimes multiple times a day.
It is pretty hard to ignore some of the waste involved with this, not to mention the cost. To try and combat this I started exploring the reusable filter market for pour overs and let's just say, it's not great. However, it's not all doom and gloom I found some options, they have some cons, but they also come with a nice benefit of being eco-friendly. If you have read some of my previous posts you may have seen my review on the Coffee Sock, I am creating this post to compare all of the options I currently have in one central location.
Pros: Great flavor produced (almost) every time, easy cleanup, and readily available for purchase.
Cons: The obvious con to the paper filters have already been noted, cost and not eco-friendly!
Pros: Very eco-friendly, portable, inexpensive, fits both Chemex and V60 with one sock, and from a conscientious company.
Cons: Inconsistent flavors, too quick of brew time, and extra cleanup time.
I never really mastered a consistent tasting cup, through the Chemex or V60. I won't say I never got a good cup but it wasn't often. I still have my Coffee Sock and for coffees that have darker flavors of earth and chocolate it may be a good choice but for nuanced flavors I would go a different route, to avoid the potential for a sour/bitter pour. The biggest challenge was the pour would just go too fast and no amount of tinkering with grind size or pour amount got the coffee where it needed to be.
Willow & Everett Filter:
Pros: Good pour times, inexpensive, and resilient design.
Cons: Extra cleanup, only works with Chemex, and can cause over extracting.
The Willow & Everett filter has served me pretty well in the time I have had it. I have been able to test quite a few coffees with it and it tends to get pretty close to the paper filter. It is stainless steel with a dual filter, with a fine mesh on the inside, that I believe is the reason the pour times go so well. If you look around online you will find a lot of filters with a similar look but the water just pours right through them. While the mesh is nice, it does have its downside. The drawback to the W&E is that it can sometimes over-extract the brew giving a bitter taste and drowning out the flavors. This can sometimes be accounted for with adjusting your grind or pour speed but sometimes it just can't, especially when compared to the paper filter.
I find with the mixture of these three, I have reduced my paper filter usage, but not entirely. I still find brighter flavors coming through with the paper filters, especially with fruit notes. If I had to choose I would go with the W&E filter but the Coffee Sock has its merits as well. Have you tried a reusable filter of some sort? Let me know in the comments below!