Brown Unbleached Vs White Bleached Coffee Filters Compared

Coffee is one of the world’s favorite drinks, with millions of people worldwide drinking a cup of coffee the first thing in the morning. In fact, those of us in the United States drink between 2 - 3 cups per day 

With so many people drinking so much coffee, it’s no surprise that home brewing has surged in popularity in recent years. If you’re making coffee at home, chances are you’ve had to pick up some coffee filters. 

Coffee filters are typically white or brown in color, but what is better?. If you're looking for more information on brown vs. white coffee filters, you're in luck. Keep reading to find out more. 

A coffee filter is a thin, (usually) paper filter that is used to separate the ground coffee from the water when brewing coffee. Coffee filters make a big difference when brewing your coffee because they remove a lot of the unwanted oils and particles that can make your coffee bitter and unpleasant. 

Coffee filters, whether on their own or with a pour-over, are an excellent way to make a cup of coffee at home. Coffee filters are great for both coffee connoisseurs and complete beginners because they allow you to make a cup of coffee with minimal equipment and preparation. 

white coffee filter pour over

Brown Vs White Coffee Filters: What’s The Difference? 

The main difference between brown and white coffee filters is the materials they’re made from. White coffee filters are typically made from paper that has been bleached with chlorine (or oxygen bleach). Brown filters, on the other hand, are typically made from unbleached paper. If you opt for white filter papers, we recommend filters bleached using oxygen over chlorine. 

But why would you choose a chemically treated filter when you have the option to go for something natural? 

Some people find that brown paper filters, though effective at what they do, add a papery taste to your coffee that just makes it less enjoyable. Although bleaching is arguably just for cosmetic reasons, some find that the treatment of the filters also removes some of the papery taste. 

Which Makes The Best Coffee? Bleached Vs. Unbleached 

For the average coffee drinker, there's no noticeable difference between brown and white filters. 

However, as we mentioned above, some people say they notice a papery taste when using brown filters. To avoid this, give your filter a quick rinse with water before adding your coffee for a smoother taste. 

The question of whether to use bleached or unbleached coffee filters has been around for a long time.

There are two schools of thought on this issue. Those who use unbleached filters claim they produce a better-tasting coffee.

Those who use bleached filters claim that bleached filters are more efficient and cost-effective. 

man filtering coffee at home

Which Is More Environmentally Friendly? 

The production of white paper filters tends to be more harmful to the environment because bleach is used during the manufacturing process. The good news is that white and brown filters are both compostable, even if they have been bleached. 

If you're looking to reduce your environmental impact, consider using a reusable coffee filter. By avoiding paper filters, you'll be reducing waste and saving money on filter replacements. 

Should You Wet A Paper Coffee Filter First? 

If you're using a paper filter, particularly an unbleached paper filter, you may want to wet or rinse your filter first — this will keep any papery tastes from seeping into your coffee. 

If your paper coffee filter is too hard to unfold, you can also wet it first. Wetting the filter makes the paper more pliable and easier to manage when adding to your Chemex or V60. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Why are unbleached coffee filters more expensive? 

Compared to bleached coffee filters, unbleached ones use fewer chemicals. Yet many brands charge more for unbleached versions. 

So why are unbleached coffee filters more expensive? It comes down to supply and demand.  

The demand for this kind of filter is higher, so cost savings can be passed on to the customer. It’s also possible that an ‘organic tax’ comes into play — companies know that people will pay more for products if they're considered organic or natural. 

Are coffee filters reusable? 

The answer is yes, you can use coffee filters multiple times to brew coffee. However, after a few brews, the filter will get discolored from the coffee oils, and the paper will lose its ability to filter the coffee properly. 

As an alternative, reusable coffee filters are great for the environment and a great way to save money, and no, they don’t give your coffee a weird taste. All you have to do is rinse them with water, and you're good to go. 

Difference between melitta brown vs white coffee filters? 

If you're looking for premium coffee filters, there's a good chance that you'll find them at your local grocery store. It's more likely than not that they'll be the Melitta brand. Some brands of white coffee filters are processed with chlorine. Melitta filters are all-natural and contain no chlorine, making them friendly for those with chemical sensitivities. 

When it comes to doing the job they are designed for, they essentially do the same thing, so don't feel like you need to shell out on the big brands to get a good cup of coffee. 

What can I use if i’m out of coffee filters? 

Although it might be a little bit more work, you can actually use a couple of paper towels or tea towels if you don't have a coffee filter. Just fold them and lay them flat on top of each other, and lay your coffee grounds on top of the towels before using as you would a typical filter. 

Without a paper filter, the coffee grounds would be distributed evenly in the cup, and the coffee would taste like dirt. It would be unpalatable. The paper filter allows the coffee to be distributed through the paper evenly and serves as a barrier between the grounds and the coffee. For that reason, we would recommend stocking up on coffee filters so you never have to face this problem. 


So, which is better - brown or white coffee filters? Really, it's up to personal preference. We would recommend trying both to see what you prefer. As always, we would recommend investing in some high-quality coffee beans, which can make much more of a difference to your coffee.