Monday, March 03, 2008

Reusable Coffee Filters

DG and I were talking over the weekend about the reusable coffee filter she bought recently at Ward's. It's made of canvas, and it frequently clogs. We both use Melita coffee filters, and she is definitely the more environmentally conscious user; she puts a paper filter inside the reusable filter, and then washes the paper filter. She says she gets about two uses out of it. I don't know how she does it -- I try rinsing out my paper filter and it completely falls apart.

Anyway, so I've been mulling over the idea of how to construct a reusable coffee filter. Yesterday I tried a double thickness of cheese cloth nested in the Melita coffee cone and that worked exceedingly well. After taking DJ and the old man to school and work this morning I got to work on the filter. Should I be finishing up The Blithedale Romance for class on Wednesday? Yes, indeed. But no, fiber and machine exert its siren call on my seamstress soul.

So, this morning I made the filter. It took about half an hour. As you can see, I need to use wider bias tape to cover the edges more effectively; unfortunately, I don't think this prototype would last one washing.

My theory is that in order to make the reusable filters work, you'd need at least three; one to let dry a little so the coffee grounds will come out easier, so you can rotate a little better. I made a loop at the end so you could hang it to drain over the sink or dry after rinsing it out.

Note about the top picture: I uploaded this full-size, so you can click on it and get a more detailed look at the design.

Update: I had just come back from my run and decided that, besides a shower, I needed another cup of coffee and said, "what the heck?" I made it using the filter. It worked! It is a smooth cup of coffee, I might add -- at the usual strength using the 2 tablespoons of (gratuitous plug coming) Sweetwater Ethiopian that I usually use with the paper filter. I let the filter drain in the cone for a couple of minutes and then dumped the grounds in the compost container (that's another post that will have to wait, for now) and then hung it up. As you might be able to glean from the poorly-lit photo, I basically hung a bent paper clip from the cabinet, and put the filter on that to dry over the sink. Let's see how long the filter lasts, and in the meantime I might just make a few more.
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