Pour Over Coffee: A Guide to Paper Filters

Many coffee lovers swear by the pour over brewing method using a coffee dripper. When using this method, the choice of paper filter is important for both the taste of the coffee and its environmental impact.

Let’s take a look at the choices for coffee dripper paper filters, and the differences between brown paper, oxygen, and chlorine bleached filters.

Biodynamic coffee ground in white pourover paper filter

Brown Paper Filters

Brown paper filters are unbleached, natural filters that have not been chemically treated. These filters are made from renewable resources, and are compostable along with the coffee grounds. They also have a minimal environmental impact during the manufacturing process, as they do not require bleaching chemicals or dyes.

However, for those with very sensitive palates, brown paper filters can impart a slight paper taste, which is the reason that some choose to rinse the filter before brewing.

Brown paper filters also allow more oils and micro-grounds to pass through, resulting in a slightly thicker and richer cup of coffee.

Oxygen Bleached Filters

Oxygen bleached filters are chemically treated with oxygen, which removes impurities and creates a white color. Oxygen bleached filters can also be composted along with the used coffee grounds.

In terms of taste, oxygen bleached filters have a milder taste than brown paper filters so they could require less rinsing  which could help conserve water and energy. They typically allow less coffee oils and fewer micro-grounds to pass through, resulting in a cleaner cup of coffee.

Chlorine Bleached Filters

These filters are the least environmentally friendly option. The bleaching process produces harmful dioxins, which are released into the environment. The manufacturing process also requires more chemicals, making chlorine bleached filters less environmentally friendly than brown paper or oxygen bleached filters.

In terms of taste, they allow the least amount of oils and micro-grounds to pass through, resulting in a lighter cup of coffee. Now...

The Holistic Roasters Approach

When it comes to choosing an environmentally friendly paper filter, both brown paper filters and oxygen bleached filters are solid choices. They’re made from renewable resources, biodegrade quickly, and have a minimal environmental impact during the manufacturing process. Chlorine bleached filters should be avoided as they have the most significant environmental impact and produce harmful dioxins.
Ultimately, the choice between brown and oxygen bleached filters comes down to personal preferences. By choosing either of these options, coffee enthusiasts can enjoy a great cup of coffee while minimizing their environmental impact. 

We recommend V60 filters - they offer a choice between brown and oxygen bleached white paper filters. We also love Origami filters. They only come in white but they are also oxygen bleached.
A reusable alternative to paper is to consider a cloth or metal filter - it’s the subject of an upcoming article - stay tuned and don't forget to follow along @biodynamiccoffee
White Fellow Kettle pours a pourover coffee using Biodynamic Coffee