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Are Bleached or Unbleached Coffee Filters Better?

Are Bleached or Unbleached Coffee Filters Better?

Jake Bonneman
3 minute read

Are Bleached or Unbleached Coffee Filters Better?

Are unbleached filters really better for your coffee, your health, and the environment? 

When it comes to coffee filters, there are two main types: bleached and unbleached. 

Both have their own pros and cons, so it’s important to know the difference before you choose which kind to use.


Bleached Coffee Filters

Bleached filters are made with chlorine-treated paper that has been bleached white. 

They’re typically less expensive than unbleached filters, and they don’t have any noticeable impact on the taste of your coffee.

However, some worry about the potential health risks associated with using chlorine-treated paper.


Unbleached Coffee Filters

Unbleached filters are made with brown paper that has not been treated with chlorine

 They’re more expensive than bleached filters—oddly enough—but some people prefer them because they feel they’re more natural and better for the environment.

Additionally, unbleached filters may give your coffee a very slightly different flavor, a more "cardboard" taste that some coffee drinkers prefer. (Just kidding, no they don't.)


What About The Environment? 

Unbleached filters don’t contribute to a better cup of coffee really, but they do contribute to a better planet. They're less processed than bleached filters (as evidenced by the natural brown color—paper is naturally brown and white paper has been bleached.

Because they’re less processed, they are a better option for the environment.

So, which kind of filter should you use? We know how Mother Nature feels, but ultimately, it’s up to you. 

If you’re concerned about the potential health risks of using bleached paper, then you may want to stick with unbleached filters.

However, if you're fine with a little chlorine and are more worried about the cost or the flavor of your coffee, then the more common bleached filters may be the way to go.


The Takeaway

There's no need to get worked up about which coffee filter is better. White coffee filters are made from bleached paper, while brown coffee filters are unbleached.

Some people prefer white filters because they feel that bleaching gives the paper a cleaner taste, and because the unbleached filters cost an extra nickel.

Others prefer the brown filters because they believe that unbleached paper is safer for their health and better for the environment.

Ultimately, it's up to each individual to decide which type of filter they prefer. So go ahead and experiment until you find the perfect one for you.

Or, just skip disposable filters entirely—and use a pourover brewer with a reusable metal micro-filter like the Espro Bloom Pour Over.


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