The AeroPress doesn’t look much like a traditional coffee maker, and that’s because it’s not. It’s much better.
It was created by a Stanford University engineering lecturer, Alan Adler. He applied his lifetime of learning to solve the dilemma of how to brew coffee quickly. And also decrease bitterness.
Since its creation, many third-party companies have begun selling their own AeroPress accessories. This includes different filters.
In this article, I’m going to be comparing two different filter methods for the AeroPress. You probably already guessed which methods from the title.
That’s right – it’s AeroPress Metal Filter Vs Paper time! Let’s do this!
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How To AeroPress
I’ll come back to the AeroPress filters shortly, but first let’s quickly look at how to AeroPress.
The AeroPress includes a BPA-free polypropylene chamber and plunger. Users put a filter in the bottom of the chamber, add fine ground coffee on top, and then pour hot water over the coffee.
They then stir the water and coffee, and push down the plunger to force the brewed coffee through the filter.
It creates about 30 pounds of resistance. It’s this pressure that extracts flavor from the coffee.
This results in a delicious, smooth, strong cup of coffee. It’s roughly the same concentration as traditional espresso.
How Is It Different?
AeroPress coffee has a higher pH level than coffee made in a drip coffeemaker. This means it’s less acidic.
It also takes about 30-60 seconds to prepare a cup of coffee the AeroPress way. Talk about fast!
Clean-up is as simple as preparation. It’s also durable and cheap, making it a favorite of coffee lovers around the world.
A lot of people who make their coffee in the AeroPress really, really like it. It’s fair to say that this is a coffeemaker with a cult following.
There’s even a World AeroPress Championship that’s held every year since it launched in 2008. 2020 was an exception, for obvious reasons.
It started in Oslo, Norway, but has since been held in Australia, the UK, the US, Italy, & Korea. In 2021, the event will be held in many different countries. Check this page for updates.
With any tech or gadgets that have a loyal following, there are strong opinions about it. The AeroPress and AeroPress-brewed coffee are no different.
One of the controversies is between paper and metal filter disks. Which option produces better coffee? Read on to learn more about the best AeroPress filters for your needs and wants.
Which Is Better – Metal Or Paper?
The very short answer is that AeroPress metal filters let more oils through. This results in coffee with more body (and a few extra grounds).
Paper filters allow higher pressure and a cleaner brew, but also less body.
One of the benefits about the AeroPress, though, is you can swap between paper and metal filters with ease. So if you want to use a particular filter to enhance a particular bean or brew, go right ahead!
AeroPress Metal Filters
To break it down further, there are a few different kinds of metal filters for the AeroPress. They all have their own unique properties and characteristics.
Following is a list of some different metal filters available. These aren’t necessarily the best metal filters for AeroPress, though. Let’s take a quick look at them now.
This is the original mesh filter made for AeroPress coffee makers.
The filter is manufactured from 316 stainless steel, so it’s corrosion-resistant. It’s made with very fine mesh – 100,000 holes per square inch – so you can use very fine coffee grounds with this filter.
The Kaffeologie filter produces a brew that’s like French press coffee and doesn’t let any grounds through. It’s sturdy and durable.
Fellow Prismo for AeroPress:
The Fellow Prismo is actually way more than a filter. This device includes a pressure-activated valve with a screw cap and a metal filter.
The valve remains sealed until you press the plunger on the AeroPress. Once pressed, it increases the pressure in the chamber.
You get a cup of coffee that’s like authentic espresso.
Able Disk/Able Disk Fine:
The Able Disks are made from single pieces of photo-etched stainless steel.
The disks have no rims. This means that no coffee grounds get caught in the rims. Also, the rims themselves can’t damage the AeroPress chamber or plunger.
The standard disk produces a full-bodied cup of coffee with a few grounds. The fine disk produces sweet, clean coffee with no grounds.
The fine disk is thinner and more delicate, but both are metal and, so, “more delicate” is a relative term.
CremaCraft Classic Filter:
The CremaCraft is a medium-fine filter. It’s made with one-piece stainless steel construction and 250-micron filtration. It was designed to reduce clogging.
It produces a full-bodied cup of coffee with a bit of sediment and a creamy mouthfeel.
Altura The Ultra Filter:
Altura The Ultra filter is made of stainless steel ultra-fine mesh fabric (15 microns). So even though it’s metal, it actually produces a cup of coffee that’s like one made with a paper filter.
It also allows for an inverted brew, which most other metal filters don’t.
Although the mesh is ultra-fine, it allows coffee oils through for a creamier, fuller brew.
AeroPress Paper Filters
Paper filters prevent any grounds from making it into your coffee. And they produce a very clean, fresh-tasting brew.
They absorb most of the coffee oils, so coffee brewed with a paper filter is lighter. It’s close to the texture of tea brewed from tea bags, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Let’s take a quick look at your options for paper filters for the AeroPress.
Official AeroPress Paper Filters
The AeroPress Micro Filters come in a pack of 350, so one box will last several months. Of course this depends on how many people in your house drink coffee (and how much).
I realise some people may be thinking about the sustainability of AeroPress metal filters vs. paper filters. You should know that the paper filters are biodegradable and compostable.
According to AeroPress UK, you can also rinse and reuse a paper filter. This is something I’ve been doing for some time now without a noticeable difference to my cup.
2Pour Non-Bleached Paper Filters
These paper filters are made by the same company that makes the 2Pour accessory for the AeroPress. They’re non-bleached, vegan friendly and suitable for use with the AeroPress and AeroPress Go.
After receiving customer feedback, the good people at 2Pour listened. In September of 2019, they increased the diameter of their paper filters to better fit the AeroPress.
The four-pack shown here is the best value option for the 2Pour paper filters by far.
Aesir Paper Filters
Aesir Paper Filters for the AeroPress are definitely premium. They’re thicker than the standard AeroPress paper filters and have smaller pore sizes.
They’re also low-absorbent. This means that more of the natural coffee oils end up where they should be. In your cup.
Coming in a pack of 100, many comments on Amazon mention the price as being a bit steep. But considering they’re regarded as the best paper filters on the market, they’re worth it!
Why not give them a go and see why they’re the choice of so many World AeroPress Champions.
Does AeroPress Filter Out Cafestol?
The AeroPress paper filters do filter out diterpenes such as cafestol and kahweol. Whether this is a good or bad thing is still up in the air, though.
There’s research that shows that diterpenes in coffee can raise LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels.
There’s other research that shows that diterpenes have antioxidant properties and may reduce oxidative stress on the liver.
If you have health concerns, you should think about the effects of cafestol and kahweol. It may impact your decision about which kind of AeroPress filter you want to use.
How Do You Clean an AeroPress Metal Filter?
Cleaning an AeroPress metal filter isn’t difficult. But it’s another step after the brew process.
You’ll need to remove the filter from the AeroPress instead of discarding it with the grounds, as you would do with a paper filter.
Rinse any remaining grounds from the filter, or knock them into the trash or compost.
Most of the metal filters available are made from stainless steel. So they don’t keep oils or odors and it’s not necessary to wash them thoroughly every time. Still, you’ll have to do it at least once in a while.
The best way is to use mild soap and plenty of fresh water to ensure that all traces of soap are completely removed. Air-dry the filter and you’re good to go.
Which Is Cheaper?
A metal filter is one up-front cost of between $10 and $30, depending on which filter you choose.
Ideally, you won’t ever need to buy another one. But in real life, filters get bent, clogged, or tossed in the trash.
Paper filters are cheaper in the beginning. But you’ll need to buy new filters when you run out, unlike the reusable metal filters.
The filters are cheap enough, though (they’re paper, after all!). It’s mostly a wash, and that the cost will not be a sticking point for most people.
Conclusion: AeroPress Metal Filter Vs Paper
So should you buy an AeroPress metal filter or paper filters?
Our conclusion is that they’re both great in their own ways. It comes down to what type of coffee you prefer.
Metal filters let more of the coffee oils and molecules through. They produce coffee that’s full-flavored, rich, and creamy but may have a little sediment.
Paper filters create a very clean brew. They produce coffee that’s sweet, fruity, and low in acid but may taste a bit thin.
For what it’s worth, AeroPress themselves writes:
“We were originally planning to include a metal filter with each AeroPress but when we conducted blind taste tests comparing paper filtered coffee with metal filtered coffee, the paper filtered coffee always won… That said, while we think that paper filters brew better tasting coffee, taste is certainly personal so people should brew their coffee the way it tastes best to them.”
Since neither the paper filters nor the metal filters are expensive, it makes the most sense to me to have both. Decide which one best suits the character of the coffee beans you’re using at that time.
Just remember this if you switch back and forth between paper filters and metal filters. Be sure not to absent-mindedly dump the metal filter into the trash or compost as you would with a paper one!
What’s your experience been like with metal filters or paper filters for the AeroPress?
Is there one type you prefer over the other? Or do you have a certain brand filter that you love? Let me know in the comments below.