Chemex, Hario, Kalita Wave, Bean Envy, Bodum, OXO Brew… what’s your favorite pour over?
I have my favorite, but that’s another article.
Honestly, it’s really hard for me to choose a favorite, and… it can be subject to change!
Each pour over has its own special paper filter you should use with it. Each filter has a different thickness and other factors which give every pour over its unique taste.
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It was fairly recently I learned about and got to try metal pour over filters.
I must say, they are pretty great.
Today we’re out to answer the question… which one’s better, paper or metal pour over filters?
Let’s start with the pros & cons of each.
Pros & Cons
Up to bat we have metal filters vs. paper filters. And paper filters are different depending on which pour over you’re using.
But there are also different types of metal filters. I have three different ones.
In general, here are the pros & cons of each…
- You get the unique taste that the pour over was created for
- Ease of use and disposal
- Nice, organic look
- One-time use
- More expensive in the long run
- Great, clean taste
- Less expensive in the long run
- Nice, sleek look
- Possibly loses the original intended taste for the pour over
- More difficult to clean
Pros & Cons Explained
With paper filters, it’s nice because each manufacturer designed their own filters for their pour over.
You have to really tune in to notice the difference sometimes between pour overs. But it’s there. The paper filters are the main factor in that difference. There are other factors but the filter is the biggest.
Another awesome thing about paper filters that makes pour over one of the easiest coffee brewing methods is that for clean up, all you have to do is throw the filter away!
Maybe wash the dripper too, but that takes literally about five seconds. I love this about paper filters.
They also have a nice, organic look. Chemex especially makes beautiful filters that make a glamorous pour over look even nicer as it’s brewing.
The cons of paper filters are basically just that they are one-time use. So you have to buy more when they run out and in the long run it’s more expensive than its competitor, the metal filter.
Taking this into consideration, metal filters are more environmentally friendly.
For metal filters, first off, they also have a very nice look. So yes, this is something great about both paper and metal filters.
It’s not an organic look, but it’s a sleek and modern look. One of my metal filters is copper-colored and it’s beautiful! I also love the look of metal filters.
Because you’re guaranteed to have no residue from metal filters, you will always have a clean tasting cup of coffee. You never have to rinse a metal filter before use.
However, if you don’t rinse a paper filter with hot water before your pour, you’ll have some paper residue in your coffee. It might not even be noticeable in taste, but it’s there.
Another really great thing about metal filters is that you don’t need to get more than one! This means that in the long run they’re also cheaper than paper filters.
For example, you can buy 200 Hario V60 filters on Amazon for $11.75. If you were to brew two times a day, that bag of filters will last 100 days: just over three months.
You can get a metal filter for about $15.00 on Amazon that will last…. a really long time. More than a year.
The biggest con about metal filters is the cleaning.
It’s not that bad though, it takes about a minute to do.
The best way to do it is to spoon out as much of the coffee grounds as you can.
Then you rinse the outside and inside of the filter, brushing the inside gently with your finger or thumb making sure to get off as much coffee residue as you can. A more thorough cleaning should be done weekly too.
So whereas a paper filter takes about three seconds to “clean”, AKA throw out, metal filters take about a minute to rinse off and clean.
The Taste Test…
I did a taste test.
I was writing the section just below about “Does it taste very different!?”, but I decided first I had to try it for myself.
With some tasty Colombian coffee, two separate times, I used the same amount of water and coffee at the same temperature, with my Hario V60. The only difference was the filter: paper vs. metal.
I do really like the taste that Hario’s paper filter gives, so I thought it would be a good one up for the challenge.
In this taste test, I actually felt like the metal filter provided a smoother, cleaner cup of coffee, with a nice body.
The coffee made with the metal filter seemed to be slightly more flavorful and crisp than with the paper filter.
Now, this was just one time trying it, and while I used the same everything except filter those two times, it should be tried multiple times to see if there’s really a difference.
This wasn’t a scientific study, but it was accurately measured both times I brewed.
That being said, I’m going to stick with my guns and say that I’m pretty sure the metal filter provides a slightly more flavorful cup of coffee.
Does It Taste Very Different!?
The short answer is no, it doesn’t taste very different.
But if you’re worried if coffee through a metal filter tastes just as good as with the standard paper filter for your pour over… let me tell you right now it absolutely does!
The first time I made coffee with a metal filter, I was quite impressed with the taste.
You may notice a taste difference, and I’d be really surprised if you tried it and thought it tastes worse through a metal filter than paper.
In my opinion: It’s a tie!
Neither of them wins. Neither of them loses, either 🙂
Metal and paper filters are both awesome!
They both have their pros & cons, and while I personally maybe prefer the taste of coffee brewed with a metal filter, I’m not sure I could easily just say, “the metal filter is way better go with that!”
I would actually encourage you to have both metal and paper filters!
At the moment I have both. I enjoy using them at different times.
You could also do your own taste test if you have both kinds! But I think it’s also great to have them because if you run out of paper filters, you won’t be in any hurry to buy new ones, or you may even just stick with the metal filter!
Either way, this was a fun experiment for me to do, and I highly recommend getting a metal filter for pour over.
Another awesome point about metal filters that I forgot to list in the pros & cons is that they’re universal, meaning you don’t have to buy the specialized filter for different pour overs!
You can use the same metal filter for Hario, Chemex, Kalita, Bodum, or whatever pour over you use!
So even if I can’t say that one is better than the other, I will once again say that a metal filter is a very good investment to make for your pour over(s)!
Here are the two that I’m using!
This first one is the beautiful copper one I mentioned in the article:
This second one is the other one I own and use, with a great design and it’s also a big bigger than the copper one (I personally use this more often!):
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I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any questions or comments please let me know in the comments section below.