Are you unsure about the number of coffee filters to use? You should use at most one coffee filter in your coffee maker.
Although some people insist on the goodness of using two (and even three) coffee filters, manufacturers insist on using one filter.
Contrary to popular belief, double filters do not enrich the flavor of the coffee. What you’re tasting is the bitterness from over-extracting coffee grounds.
Read on as we dive deeper into:
- How many coffee filters should you use?
- What happens when you use more than one coffee filter?
- What type of coffee filter should you use?
- Can you brew strong coffee without two filters?
How Many Coffee Filters Should You Use?
One coffee filter is enough when brewing coffee. Coffee filters are designed to allow a certain amount of liquid to percolate, allowing the right amount of extraction to happen in the brewing chamber.
More water accumulates in the brewing chamber when using more than one filter, increasing the risk of over-extraction.
Most people go for two filters when:
- They want stronger coffee
- Want to filter out more sediment from their coffee
- They want to improve the flavor of low-quality coffee
Whatever your reasons are, you can get around the problem without risking your coffee maker by using two or more filters.
Possible alternatives include:
- Using more coffee grounds to get more robust coffee
- Using better-quality coffee or spices to improve the flavor of low-quality coffee
- Using the manufacturer-recommended filter in your coffee maker
- Using a better-quality filter to remove all sediment from the coffee
- Grind your coffee beans, as they have a richer flavor than pre-ground ones
What Happens When You Use More Than One Coffee Filter?
Using two coffee filters produces more robust coffee. This happens because the water is in contact with the coffee beans longer, extracting more components.
The double filters slow the movement of water, resulting in a more potent (bitter) coffee.
While some love using double filters in their machines, it carries two primary risks. It could damage the coffee machine and result in bitter coffee.
Two filters increase the risk of clogging and overflowing in a coffee machine. Manufacturers design coffee makers to pump water into the filter while that water passes through a single filter into your cup.
After introducing a second filter, the water percolates slower while water pumps at the same rate.
This results in overflowing, which could damage your coffee maker, soil your countertops, or worse, cause electrocution.
Coffee filters are also designed to allow the water to extract just the right components. By using double filters, you extend the brewing time and remove more elements resulting in over-extracted coffee.
What Type of Coffee Filter Should You Use?
Paper, metal, and cloth are the three types of coffee filters on the market. The filter choice depends on your preferences when brewing coffee and the flavor profile you’re looking for.
Paper coffee filters are popular due to their availability and affordability. They produce a clean, light cup of coffee without any traces of silt.
They are the perfect choice for coffee drinkers who like their coffee free of even the finest coffee grinds. However, they may have a papery taste.
When purchasing paper filters, choose brown ones, as these are unbleached and offer better filtration for cafestol, a chemical in coffee that increases cholesterol levels.
Metal coffee filters are permanent and reusable coffee filters. They are the perfect choice for the environment-conscious coffee drinker.
They do allow some sediment to pass through, however. That said, metal filters produce a lightly textured coffee complete with its natural oils.
Cloth coffee filters are affordable and environment-friendly filters. While reusable, they require regular rinsing and boiling to keep them sanitary.
Like paper filters, they produce clean and clear coffee. They also filter out oil in coffee. Cloth filters could work if you use two filters to remove excess oil.
Can You Brew Strong Coffee Without Two Filters?
The double-filter method produces coffee with a more pronounced bitter taste—the bitter taste results from over-extraction, which brings out the bitterness and harshness of coffee beans.
Instead of double-filtering coffee to get the bitter product, you can make more robust coffee with a richer flavor by changing the types of beans.
Alternatively, use more coffee from the recommended grind with a single filter.
When using more coffee, the same amount of water will pass through the coffee grounds extracting the right amount of properties. Therefore, you’ll get richer coffee without the bitter flavor.
You can choose the type of coffee based on the flavor you prefer. Light roast coffee offers the widest flavor diversity amongst coffee roasts.
It allows you to taste the distinct flavors of the coffee, not to mention the flavorful aroma light roasts produce. Light roasts also have a slightly higher caffeine content.
Medium roasts, on the other hand, result in a well-rounded coffee that is smoother in the mouth. It is light brown, thanks to the caramelization of sugars in the coffee beans during roasting.
Dark roasts provide a more full-bodied coffee with less caffeine and a less complex flavor. Since they spend a long time in high temperatures roasting, they lose many delicate flavors in light to medium roasts.
But they develop more body and oil in the process.
So, try other roasts instead of double filtering a double roast to see whether you enjoy the experience.
In addition to trying different roasts, you can make more robust coffee using these tips:
- Use freshly roasted coffee beans
- Steep your coffee for longer, but not too long to avoid over-extraction
- Make a cold brew (colder brews have a richer flavor than hot-water brews)
- Use distilled instead of tap water
- Use coarsely ground coffee
- Use a French press to make more robust coffee
So, Should You Use More Than One Coffee Filter?
It’s advisable to use one filter when brewing coffee. Using two or more filters in your coffee machine will not produce better coffee. Besides making your coffee bitter, more filters might damage your coffee maker.
Try experimenting with different brands and brews for different flavors and coffee strengths. Then, share your feedback.