paper coffee filter

Looking to improve the quality of your coffee but unsure if using a paper filter with a permanent coffee filter is the right choice? Our expert guide has got you covered! We'll take you through the pros and cons of using a paper filter with a permanent coffee filter and provide you with the necessary tips to make the perfect cup of coffee. Get ready to elevate your coffee game to the next level!

Paper Filters vs Permanent Filters

paper filter glass carafe

When it comes to brewing coffee, there are two popular options for filtering: paper filters and permanent filters. Each type offers different benefits and drawbacks, which can affect the taste, texture, and overall experience of your coffee.

Key Differences

Paper filters are made from crepe paper and serve as disposable options for quickly brewing a carafe of coffee. They are often finer than permanent filters, which allows them to trap even the smallest coffee grounds and separate the grounds from the brewed coffee effectively. This results in a lighter, brighter, and more translucent cup of coffee compared to using permanent filters.

On the other hand, permanent filters are generally made from metal, such as stainless steel, and can be reused multiple times. They are built to last, with many designed to fit specific coffee makers. While they may not trap the smallest particles as well as paper filters, coffee brewed with a permanent filter tends to have a richer, fuller taste due to the presence of natural oils from the coffee beans.

Pros and Cons

Paper filters offer several advantages, such as easy disposal and minimal cleanup. They also provide a smoother, cleaner-tasting cup of coffee, without any residue or cloudiness. Additionally, paper filters typically trap more oils, which can lead to a cup of coffee that stays fresh for a longer time. On the downside, they can contribute to waste and are an ongoing cost, as they need to be replaced regularly.

Permanent filters, while initially more expensive, are an environmentally friendly alternative as they produce less waste. They also allow for more of the coffee's natural oils to pass through during brewing, creating a richer and fuller flavor. However, sometimes small coffee grounds may pass through the filter, resulting in a slightly grittier texture. Cleaning a permanent filter requires extra work, as it needs to be rinsed and washed after each use.

So, can you use a paper filter with a permanent filter? While it is not typically necessary, there may be some situations where you might want to use a paper filter with a permanent filter. For instance, if you prefer a cleaner and smoother cup of coffee with fewer grounds, you could use a paper filter in conjunction with your permanent filter.

Ultimately, the choice between paper and permanent coffee filters boils down to personal preference, individual needs, and the specific coffee maker being used. It is essential to consider factors like taste, texture, environmental impact, and convenience when selecting the right filter option for your daily coffee brewing routine.

Combining Paper and Permanent Filters

paper filter glass carafe

Is It Possible?

Yes, it is possible to use a paper filter along with a permanent coffee filter. Both filters can be used simultaneously in certain brewing methods, such as pour overs. While it is not necessary to use a paper filter with a permanent filter, doing so may provide some benefits for certain coffee enthusiasts.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Using a paper filter alongside a permanent filter has some advantages and disadvantages that affect both the brewing process and the resulting coffee taste. These factors may influence one's decision to combine the two filter types.


  • Improved flavor: Adding a paper filter to a permanent filter may result in a smoother coffee taste, as the paper filter can capture smaller particles and oils that the permanent filter may not fully remove. This can result in a cleaner, clearer cup of coffee.
  • Easier cleanup: Using a paper filter inside a permanent filter can make the cleaning process easier, as the coffee grounds will be contained within the paper filter. Simply remove the paper filter with the spent grounds and discard, then rinse the permanent filter.


  • Additional cost: While using a permanent filter offers long-term savings compared to solely using paper filters, incorporating paper filters into the brew process will inevitably involve an additional expense. This can offset the cost savings associated with using a permanent filter alone.
  • Environmental concerns: Adding paper filters to the brewing process contributes to unnecessary paper waste. Using a permanent filter alone is a more environmentally friendly option. However, if you still prefer to use paper filters, consider opting for biodegradable or compostable filters to mitigate the environmental impact.

Ultimately, the decision to combine a paper filter with a permanent filter depends on individual preferences concerning taste, convenience, cost, and environmental concerns. By considering these factors, one can make an informed decision on how to achieve their ideal brewing experience.

Choosing the Right Filter for You

finely ground coffee

When selecting a coffee filter, it is essential to consider various factors that will suit your needs and preferences. These factors can help you avoid potential drawbacks and enhance your coffee brewing experience.


Understanding the different aspects of coffee filters allows you to make an informed choice between paper filters and permanent filters. It also includes considering factors such as style, right size, and available color options.

Style: Paper filters are disposable and made from either bleached or unbleached crepe paper. On the other hand, permanent filters are typically metal and reusable, such as gold-tone filters. Paper filters capture oils and tiny coffee grounds more effectively, while permanent filters allow more oils to pass through, affecting your coffee's taste.

Right Size: Ensure that the filter you choose is compatible with your coffee maker. Filters come in various sizes, designed for specific coffee makers and carafes (e.g., 4-6 cup, 8-12 cup). Check your coffee maker's specifications to find the appropriate size filter.

White vs. Brown (Bleached vs. Unbleached): When choosing paper filters, you can select between bleached white filters or unbleached brown filters, made from natural pulp. Both options are safe and will not affect the taste of your coffee, but bleached filters may have a minor environmental impact.

Carafe vs. Cone Filters: Cone and carafe filters are shapes commonly used for paper filters. Conical filters are designed for pour-over coffee makers, while carafe filters are typically used in electric drip coffee makers. Choosing the right shape will depend on your brewing method and coffee maker compatibility.

Gold-tone Filters: Gold-tone filters are a popular type of permanent filter made of stainless steel and gold-plating. These filters offer high durability, ease of cleaning, and minimal waste. Gold-tone filters allow more oils to pass through and are known for their even coffee filtration, resulting in a distinct taste.

To summarize, when choosing the right filter, consider your brewing style, the appropriate size, whether you prefer bleached or unbleached paper, carafe or cone filters, and the option of gold-tone filters. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each to make the best decision for your coffee-making preferences.

Health and Flavor Impact

paper filter in a paper cup

Using a paper filter in conjunction with a permanent coffee filter can affect both the health aspects and the flavor of the brewed coffee. In this section, we will discuss the role of coffee oils, cholesterol levels, and sediment in your coffee experience.

Coffee Oils

Coffee oils are responsible for much of the rich, bold flavors present in a coffee. Permanent filters, often made of metal, allow these oils to pass through, resulting in a strong, full-bodied coffee. In contrast, paper filters trap most of the coffee oils, resulting in a cleaner tasting, brightly flavored, and lighter-bodied brew.

Depending on personal preferences, the choice between coffee oils and a lighter brew can impact the overall experience. For instance, French press and percolator brewing methods allow more coffee oils to pass through, creating a stronger, more robust coffee that many people enjoy.

Cholesterol Levels

While coffee oils can create flavorful cups of coffee, they also contain components called cafestol and kahweol. These components have been found to have an impact on cholesterol levels, particularly increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol. In this regard, using paper filters can be beneficial for individuals with high cholesterol levels.

Paper filters effectively capture cafestol and kahweol, reducing their presence in the final brew. Additionally, it is worth considering an electric coffee maker that uses paper filters for their convenience and cholesterol-friendly brewing process.


The granularity of ground coffee can also play a role in the texture and mouthfeel of the brewed coffee. Paper filters are often much finer than permanent filters, which helps in trapping the tiny coffee particles and sediment. As a result, coffee brewed with paper filters tends to be clearer, brighter, and smoother compared to coffee made with permanent filters.

However, regardless of personal taste, it's important to consider the potential impact on health and flavor when choosing between paper filters and permanent filters, or using both in conjunction.

For those concerned about the environmental aspect, reusable filters can be a sustainable alternative to paper filters. It's also worth noting that unbleached paper filters have less impact on the environment compared to the bleached version, which undergoes a chemical and oxygen process in the production.

Cleaning and Maintenance

filter for coffee pour over coffee

Proper cleaning and maintenance of coffee filters is crucial for coffee drinkers to ensure great-tasting coffee and the longevity of the filters. This section will discuss how to clean paper filters, permanent filters, and a combination of both.

Paper Filters

Paper coffee filters are generally single-use and disposable. This means they require minimal cleaning and maintenance. After brewing a cup or pot of coffee, simply remove the paper filter along with the used coffee grounds and discard it in the trash or compost bin. It is essential to remove the used filter promptly to prevent molding or staining the coffee maker.

Permanent Filters

Reusable coffee filters, also known as permanent filters, require regular cleaning to maintain their effectiveness and ensure a fresh cup of coffee. There are various techniques to clean permanent filters, such as:

  • Emptying the coffee grounds and wiping the filter clean with a towel, paper towel, or sponge.
  • Soaking the filter in a mix of equal parts warm water and vinegar for a few minutes, followed by a gentle scrub with a soft-bristle brush to remove stains.
  • Using a small amount of baking soda mixed with water to scrub away stubborn stains and rinsing thoroughly afterward.

Regardless of the cleaning method used, allow the filter to air dry completely before using it again to prevent any potential damage to the coffee maker or unappetizing flavors in your coffee.


Some coffee drinkers may wonder if they can use a paper filter in conjunction with a permanent filter. While it is not necessary to use both filters simultaneously, there could be specific situations in which doing so would be beneficial. For instance, adding a paper filter to a permanent filter may help separate coffee grounds more effectively and produce a clearer cup of coffee. When using both types of filters, be sure to clean the permanent filter as described above, while disposing of the paper filter after each use.

If a combination of filters is chosen, it is important to note the possible environmental impact of using disposable paper filters in addition to a reusable filter. This consideration may make it necessary for some coffee drinkers to weigh the pros and cons of utilizing both filter types.

Drip coffeeFilter coffeePour over coffee
Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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