You ran out of Chemex coffee filters right when you wanted to prepare yourself a coffee?
Or do you just want to find a permanent alternative for Chemex filters?
I got you covered.
Here are a few ideas for a Chemex filter alternative you can use instead of the original.
The Best Chemex Filters Alternative: Top 7 Picks
If you have a Chemex coffee maker, you know that the most important part of it is its special coffee filter.
It is bigger and thicker than a regular coffee filter. Also, it is made from special paper.
Why are Chemex coffee filters so special?
And why are they so expensive compared to regular coffee filters?
They are designed to remove all the bad fats, bitterness, acidity, and sediments that other filters can’t hold. That is the reason why Chemex filtered coffee is healthier than most of its opponents.
Also, the pour over coffee with Chemex tastes so good.
To be honest, the Chemex coffee filter is really worth every penny.
But, the Chemex paper filter isn’t irreplaceable.
There are alternatives you can use, whether you need a one-time replacement or you want a long-term reusable solution.
In no particular order, here they are.
1. Reusable Stainless Steel Filter – The Able Brewing Kone
The main reason why I would try to find an alternative for Chemex filters is all that trash from disposable filters. And they are quite expensive too, especially if you are brewing coffee every day.
If you are anything like me, you probably thought about finding a reusable permanent filter.
I found one of the best alternatives for Chemex filters. It’s called Able Brewing Kone.
Able Kone metal coffee filter is designed especially for Chemex, so it fits perfectly and makes an amazing brew.
It’s a reusable filter made from stainless steel. It is strong and durable, and it will serve you for years.
Of course, there is some difference in the coffee that you will get.
You know how Chemex filters give clear and light coffee? Well, Able Kone will give you a more full-bodied, flavorful coffee.
Here’s the thing:
Able Kone lets through finer sediments, coffee oils, and fats in larger amounts than the Chemex filter. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it depends on your preferences.
Because of that, I recommend you use a medium-coarse to coarse grind with the Able Kone filter. If you use a fine grind size, lots of it will end up in your cup.
The upside of the Able Cone filter is that more flavor passes through it, compared to the Chemex filters. (Plus, stainless steel will not alter the taste of your brew.)
Maintaining is pretty easy, just throw away used coffee ground and wash it with warm water and detergent after every use. And if you feel too lazy to wash it, just throw it in the dishwasher.
Able Kone fits in Chemex for 6, 8, and 10 cups. Unfortunately, if you have Chemex for 3 cups, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Even though Able Kone is a bit more expensive, it can make up for a great investment.
2. DIY Coffee Filter (from Cloth or Napkins)
OK, but what about situations when you need a filter alternative instantly?
You can make a DIY cloth filter in no time. You can use almost any kind of cloth: dish towel, cheesecloth, or a cloth napkin. Some people even use cotton t-shirts.
I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it works.
Just make sure you use a clean cloth. Cotton is the best option.
And don’t forget coffee will stain it, so use some cloth you don’t mind if it gets coffee stains.
Depending on the thickness of the cloth, fold it once or twice.
Coffee made using cotton cloth can turn out really good. If the cloth is thick, it will hold sediments out of your cup.
The bad side is it can alter coffee taste depending on the quality of the fiber. Also, it may be too absorbent, and pick up some of those oils and flavors.
The good side is that this is an easy and fast solution.
Also, you can’t beat the price (free!).
3. Barista Warrior Stainless Steel Coffee Filter
Here is another reusable stainless steel filter that will spare you from purchasing Chemex filters for the next couple of years.
Barista Warrior is made to fit Chemex coffee makers, as well as most standard coffee makers. Same as Able Kone, it fits in Chemex for 6, 8, and 10 cups.
Barista Warrior has a different filtering system. Inside the metal filter, there is a fine mesh that is also made from stainless steel.
This double filtration will keep more coffee grounds in the filter. That means less coffee ground in your cup.
Full disclosure, though: your coffee won’t be as clean as coffee poured through the Chemex filter.
The taste will be fantastic nonetheless. You see, Brewing Warrior allows more flavor and oils to flow through than the Chemex filter.
Just don’t forget to use medium coarse or coarse-grind coffee beans. Otherwise, you will get over-extracted and bitter coffee with a bunch of grounds inside your cup.
The only problem with the Barista Warrior is its double wall, which gets clogged easily.
But, you can avoid this.
Just wash it thoroughly with warm water and detergent, or put it in the dishwasher, every time you finish brewing.
You can even soak it in vinegar from time to time. Vinegar can dissolve oil and fat buildups from stainless steel.
4. Tea Strainer
Another instant solution is a tea strainer. I bet you have one in your kitchen.
I don’t recommend a tea strainer as a permanent solution, but in an emergency situation, it will definitely do the trick.
If you don’t have a tea strainer, in particular, you can use a fine mash sieve. Like those used for flour straining.
If the mash is not fine enough, you can layer it with a clean cloth. Otherwise, a lot of coffee ground will run through, and you will find yourself with mud coffee.
And as you may guess, the coarser grind – the better.
The holes in the strainer are larger than those in filters, so the fine ground coffee will easily go through.
If you have a coffee grinder at home, that’s perfect. Just choose the extra coarse grind.
5. CoffeeSock Organic Cotton Filter
CoffeeSock is a filter-shaped cloth from 100% organic cotton.
You can reuse it multiple times, and put it in a compost once you’re finally done with it.
Compared to the thick Chemex filters, cotton lets through more oils and sediments, so your coffee will be richer.
But, compared to stainless steel filters, fewer sediments will end up in your coffee.
CoffeeSock can work with finer coffee bean grind sizes, but medium to medium-coarse is the best option.
Regarding the coffee taste, CoffeeSock is safe because cotton doesn’t have any taste or odor if you clean it properly. If you don’t like that papery taste of coffee filters in your coffee, you’ll be really pleased.
CoffeeSock demands certain maintenance in order to not get smelly. After every use, it needs a good rinse under warm water. After that, leave it in the breezy space to get dry. This fabric gets dry very fast.
Every few weeks, you should boil the Sock to dissolve oil buildups. Otherwise, it might slow down the flow rate and seriously affect your coffee taste.
What I like the most about the CoffeeSock is that it can fit almost any pour-over coffee maker and all sizes of Chemex.
The best part?
It can last really long.
If you take proper care of it, one CoffeeSock can serve you for a year or longer. That’s what I call getting the most bang for your buck!
6. Regular Coffee Filters
A regular paper coffee filter that you use for a drip coffee machine usually isn’t suitable for Chemex coffee makers.
It’s made from standard paper, much thinner than Chemex filters.
They can easily tear up, and they can infuse coffee with the taste of paper.
Also, because regular paper filters are thinner than Chemex filters, a lot more oils and fats will make it to the coffee.
But, if you don’t have any other solution a the moment, regular coffee filters will do fine.
Just take two or three of them, layer one into another, and pour over the boiling water extra carefully.
It is not the best solution, but it will get you your needed cup of joe.
7Bolio Organic Hemp Coffee Filter
If you’re environmentally conscious, this one is a no-brainer. It will replace a ton of Chemex filters, and when it finishes its work, you can put it in compost.
Similar to CoffeeSock, Bolio Hemp is made from high-quality fiber and won’t compromise the taste of your coffee.
Thick fabric will let through more sediment than a Chemex filter, but coffee will still be clearer than with a stainless steel filter.
Again, use medium to medium-coarse grind size for the best extraction.
It is also easy to use. After every brewing, rinse it with hot water and hung it to get dry.
Hemp Bolio comes in a few different sizes, so you will find the perfect one for your Chemex coffee maker.
For the budget-conscious, the good news is that Bolio Hemp isn’t expensive.
If you have any more doubts about alternatives for Chemex coffee filters, keep on reading.
I will give you answers to some frequently asked questions.
What are Chemex filters made of?
Chemex filters are made from lab-grade bonded filter paper. It is 30% thicker than a regular filter. Because of that, they keep more oil, bitterness, and acidity from your coffee.
Is Chemex eco-friendly?
Chemex coffee maker is not a zero-waste option, but it is eco-friendly. Glass is 100% recyclable, and Chemex filters are completely compostable.
Why are Chemex filters so big?
Chemex filters are bigger than regular coffee filters because they are way thicker than a regular filter. It is also bigger because of the way it is folding. Regular coffee filters are glued, and the Chemex filter comes in a square shape which you fold on your own.
You can definitely find a worthy Chemex coffee filter substitute.
If you immediately need a solution, try using a cotton cloth or a tea strainer, they will do the job.
But, if you are planning to invest in a long-term, reusable alternative, you have plenty of options to choose from.
The best are stainless steel filters like Able Brewing Kone or Barista Warrior, or reusable cloth filters like CoffeeSock or Bolio Organic Hemp filter.
Struggling to find out which coffee type is the best for your Chemex? Read our article and learn how to choose the best coffee and bring your Chemex brew to the next level!
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