Brown vs. White Coffee Filters

Pour-over is one of the easiest ways to brew fresh coffee at home. In this brewing method, a paper coffee filter is a must-have accessory. However, you should notice that coffee filters come in two different colors.

So, which one should you pick between brown vs. white coffee filters?

Both of them are made from the same material. But, the color varies due to the manufacturing process. White filters are bleached; brown filters are not.

Do you want to know more? Keep reading and enjoy.

Difference between Brown vs. White Woffee Filter

Check the following table to know the key differences between these two pour-over coffee filters.

Brown filterWhite filter
AppearanceIt looks brown. It looks clean white.
MaterialBrown coffee filters are made of unbleached paper.White coffee filters are made of bleached paper.
ProcessingIt is less processed.It goes through several chemical processes.
Impact on tasteIt causes a papery taste in brewed coffee.It does not change coffee’s taste.
Eco-friendlinessBrown filters are safe for the environment.White filters are harmful to the environment.

History of Pour-Over and Coffee Filters in Brief

Pour-over brewing and coffee filters were invented in 1908 by a German housewife, named Melitta Bentz. She always had a hard time achieving the perfect taste of coffee.

This German housewife often noticed some ground in the bottom of the cup that caused bitter coffee. So, she tried to brew ground differently.

She took a blotting paper and folded it like a cone to hold ground coffee. Finally, she poured steaming water over the ground, and the coffee was fantastic!

This is how the pour-over coffee was born! Melitta Bentz patented her invention and started a company called Melitta. The company has been selling beautiful and cost-effective pour-over coffee brewers till now.

Does it Matter What Coffee Filter You Use?

Brown vs. White Coffee Filters-1

In short, it does not matter what coffee filter you use. Both are good choices for making excellent pour-over coffees. To be honest, the differences mostly depend on users’ personal choices.

The Brown filter looks much more natural since it is unbleached. In contrast, the white filter looks clean and modern. It is up to the users which color they prefer.

Users who care about the environment will go for the brown filter. On the other hand, people who prefer the pure taste of coffee over anything will surely pick a white filter.

Read More: Best Filters for Chemex

Do Coffee Filters Affect the Taste of Coffee?

If you have used both the brown and white filter, you should detect a little difference in the coffee’s taste.

A Brown filter can add a papery flavor to the coffee. Since it is less processed, it carries the organic smell of paper.

On the other hand, the white filter delivers a clear taste of coffee. It is highly processed and bleached to remove all odors of manufacturing materials.

Are brown Coffee Filters Better than White?

Brown vs. White Coffee Filters-2

This question can start a new debate. Here you will discover two groups of people in favor of both filters.

Users with an eco-friendly mindset will stand for brown filters since they are harmless to the environment. In contrast, genuine coffee enthusiasts will stand for white filters because they provide the natural taste of coffee.

It is truly difficult to find the better option between the two. But, there is a quick solution for coffee drinkers to create a balance.

Coffee professionals suggest rinsing the brown filter before brewing. As a result, the filter will lose its papery smell and deliver a similar outcome to a white filter.

Which Coffee Filter is Better for the Environment?

The brown coffee filter is safer for the environment. It goes through less manufacturing process. So, the filter keeps the original color and smell of paper.

The problem with a white filter is its chemical bleaching process. It is bleached in two common methods, including chlorine bleaching and oxygen bleaching.

In chlorine bleaching, the white filter goes through heavy chemical processes. It generates toxic compounds during this time that are harmful to the environment.

Though oxygen bleaching is safer, it is still hard to identify the bleaching process as a customer.

What is the difference between #2 and #4 Cone Coffee Filters?

Those numbers simply indicate their compatibility with a pour-over brewer. Coffee brewers like Chemex and Hario V60 come with multiple brewing capacities such as 4-6 cups and 8-12 cups.

The number on cone coffee filters helps understand if the filter will fit your pour-over brewer. For example, a #2 coffee filter is compatible with a 4-6 cups Chemex or Hario V60. Similarly, the #4 will fit in an 8-12 cups brewer.

Final Verdict

It is an utterly complex task to find the best one between brown vs. white coffee filters. If you ask people, most will go for white filters since they deliver much clear coffee with no outer tastes.

In the question of effortless pour-over brewing, the white filter has no alternative. Unfortunately, it harms our environment indirectly.

On the other hand, a big drawback of the brown filter is its papery taste in brewed coffee. However, there is a quick solution to this issue. You can rinse the brown filter gently before brewing to avoid the papery smell in your brewed coffee.

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