Out of Coffee Filters? Here are Some Things You Can Use Instead

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coffee filter alternatives

Waking up to that first cup of coffee in the morning is one of the best feelings in the world, but waking up and realizing that you have no more coffee filters left will put a damper on the mood real quick.

If you don’t make your coffee using a drip coffee maker, then this isn’t typically a problem for you, but around 41% of coffee drinkers in the United States do use a drip coffee maker, so this can hit home for a lot of you.

So what do you do if you wake up and go to make your morning cup of coffee, or go to setup your coffeemaker before you go to sleep, and realize that you’re out of coffee filters? Well, the first thing to do is not to panic.

Even if you are out of coffee filters for your coffeemaker, you may still have items around the house that you can use instead.

What Can You Use Instead of Coffee Filters?

Let’s take a look at a few different things you can use in place of traditional coffee filters if you happen to run out and can’t get to the store.

Paper Towels

Not our favorite method of drip brewing, but if you’re in a pinch you can always use a few paper towels to filter your coffee grounds.

Simply place a few paper towels on top of each other, over a bowl using clips or a rubber band to hold them in place, and place your coffee grounds in the center. You’ll then want to take some hot water, not quite boiling, and slowly pour it over the coffee grounds.

If you pour too fast, or don’t have enough paper towels stacked, you run the risk of tearing through the paper towel. But if you’re patient enough you’ll be able to get that cup of coffee you’re craving without the need for an actual coffee filter.

The other reason why we’re not a big fan of this method is that sometimes paper towels are treated with chemicals and other elements to help prevent them from tearing and to allow them to be more absorbent. This could lead to your coffee having a slightly different taste than you’re used to, but you are using a paper towel instead of a filter, so it should be expected.

Cloth Napkin

If you’re really in a pinch, this would be our recommendation to use if you don’t have a coffee filter. Be sure to use a clean cloth napkin or dish towel, and you might want to consider using one you wouldn’t mind ruining.

There is a chance that the napkin could become stained after using it to filter the coffee, but if you run it through the wash shortly after using it, you should be alright.

Use the same method as the paper towel above. You’ll want to find a rubber band or some clips that you can use to hold the napkin around the top of the bowl. Then you’ll want to put a small amount of coffee grounds in the center and being to pour hot, but not boiling, water over the top slowly.

Once the water has filtered through the cloth you’re ready to drink.

This method could also leave a bit of a soapy taste to your coffee depending on how recently you washed the napkin or washcloth, but it seems to taste a bit better than the paper towel method.

Cheese Cloth

Not everyone has a cheese cloth in their home, but if you do, this would be the optimal way to filter your coffee using a pour over method.

Cheese cloth is designed to filter liquid out the milk from cheese but makes an excellent filter for lots of different things.

In the case of coffee though, you’re going to want to make sure your coffee grounds are medium to coarse, not super fine, so that they do not fall through the cheese cloth. While the cheese cloth is great for filtering, it’s not meant for extremely small granules, so you’ll want to keep your coffee grounds a little larger.

Use the same idea as above, place the cheese cloth over a container of some sort, place some coffee grounds in the cheese cloth, and slowly pour hot, but not boiling, water over the coffee grounds until the water has completely filtered.

Fine Sifter

If you do any sort of baking in your home, then there’s a good chance you have a sifter in your cabinet. That same sifter you use for powdered sugar can be a great way to filter your coffee in the morning, however you may not get as slow of a drip as you would with one of the other options, since the openings in the sifter are larger than a cheese cloth, paper towel, or napkin.

If you use this method, you may have to pour the water through a couple of times to get the desired taste you’re looking for.

Making Coffee Without a Filter

In addition to these alternatives for coffee filters, there are also ways you can make your coffee that don’t require a filter at all.

Venture over to our post about How to Make Coffee Without a Coffeemaker, for more tips on brewing coffee when you don’t have your normal supplies.

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