The great debate about whether or not to rinse paper coffee filters before use seems to have no end in sight. Some people believe that rinsing a coffee filter removes some of the paper flavors or eliminates paper taste.
Yet others say this is ridiculous and that it doesn’t make a difference, either way.
This article will discuss the issue of whether or not it is a good idea to rinse a coffee filter before you use it in your coffee machine.
Should you rinse paper coffee filters?
Most people ask when starting with home-brewing coffee if they should rinse their paper coffee filter before brewing.
I recommend always rinsing the coffee filter with off-the-boil water before adding ground coffee to it and starting the brewing process.
If you don’t rinse your filter, you may be adding unwanted residue and flavor to your final cup of coffee.
Below, I’ve listed three reasons why it’s best to rinse your paper coffee filter before use.
Three reasons why you should rinse your paper coffee filters
Paper coffee filters are made from absorbent paper. This material is designed to soak up liquids such as water and oils.
Below, I’ve listed three reasons why I recommend rinsing your paper coffee filters. Let’s get into it:
1. Removing odors and unwanted oils
Coffee filters are designed to filter out any unwanted oils and odors from the coffee beans.
The coffee filters make for a cleaner tasting cup of coffee, compared to a cup of coffee made with a French press, for example.
However, the coffee filter you’re using also has a slight smell to it, which will transfer into your coffee if you’re not rinsing it.
I’ve tested many coffee filters over the years, and all of them have a bit of papery or even carton smell to them.
This is especially noticeable when rinsing it. You can also try this at home. While rinsing the coffee filter, hang above the filter, and you’ll get that papery smell, which isn’t enjoyable.
But when rinsing the coffee filter before use, you’ll remove it with the hot water that’s running through.
After you’ve rinsed it, you can throw the water away, and you can begin brewing a delicious cup of coffee without the addition of unwanted flavors.
2. Preheating the coffee brewer
Another great reason to rinse your coffee filter is that you’ll preheat the coffee brewer.
This is especially true for the Chemex and a Hario V60 with the server attached.
The hot water that you run through the coffee filter will heat up your cold brewer. I always give the water a swirl before throwing it out, so I know that the glass has been heated slightly all around.
Hot coffee should always be served hot, and this slight preheating of the coffee brewer ensures that you’ll always serve hot coffee, even after you’ve brewed the coffee.
The best part about this technique is that you can keep your coffee warm until you’re ready for a refill. You won’t have to make another batch, as the preheated brewer will have kept your coffee warm enough.
The third and final reason for rinsing your coffee filter is because it will make for a better extraction.
Coffee filters, when wetted, will stick to the sides of the coffee brewer better, creating a seal around the edges of the coffee brewer.
Take the Hario V60, for example; it has these ridges that run through the coffee brewer:
If the coffee filter is rinsed, it’ll stick to the edges better, creating a better flow for the water to run through, ultimately making a better and faster brew.
This is also true for the Chemex. When I started brewing coffee, I found myself struggling with the thick filter that the Chemex uses.
The filter always had a few folds, which obstructed the water from flowing through naturally, increasing the brewing time.
And because the brewing time was longer than I wanted, the coffee was over-extracted.
This is why the filters sticking to the sides is the best way to go and will make for better-tasting coffee!
Which coffee filters should you rinse?
I suggest rinsing all the coffee filters you use at home; this includes the filters of the Chemex, Hario V60, and AeroPress.
Only the paper coffee filters have to be rinsed because these can leave that papery taste to your coffee.
If you’re using metal coffee filters for any coffee brewer I’ve mentioned, you can still rinse it, but this is more to preheat the coffee brewer.
I always rinse the Hario V60 and Chemex filters before brewing coffee with them, but sometimes I forget to rinse the filter of the AeroPress.
The small filter of the AeroPress is less papery than the Chemex filters, and because the coffee has less time in contact with the filter, you can get away without rinsing the coffee filters beforehand.
Now, I still recommend rinsing all of your paper coffee filters because it’ll leave you with a better-tasting cup of coffee, but the AeroPress is a bit more forgiving because you’ll most likely make more robust coffee with it.
So the papery taste of the filter will be less present in your cup of coffee. I suggest giving it a try at home yourself, so you can taste if there’s a difference. It’s a really fun experiment to do.
Paper coffee filters are a great invention. The coffee can taste so different when using a coffee filter compared to not using one.
Today, I’ve discussed why it’s important to rinse your paper coffee filters before brewing coffee with them.
You’re now one step closer to making that perfect cup of coffee at home time and again!
I’ve listed a few coffee recipes below that are great to try out if you’re interested in brewing a nice cup of coffee.
Do you rinse your coffee filters? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!