Flat Bottom Coffee Filter Vs Cone (How Basket Shape Affects Brewing)

Are you someone that enjoys drinking filtered coffee? If so, you may be wondering about the differences between a flat bottom coffee filter vs. cone coffee filter.  

Perhaps it's about the coffee flavor, or maybe it's the extraction time. Whatever the query, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know in this guide.  

1. Coffee Grinds 

In terms of the coffee grinds that need to be used, both flat bottom coffee filters and cone coffee filters are relatively versatile.  

With flat bottom coffee filters, however, you'll have more freedom as they can be used with any grind size - from coarse to medium or even fine. Since they're more versatile, you'll be able to get the most out of your coffee's flavor.  

With cone shaped coffee filters, on the other hand, they work best with a medium-fine grind.  

2. Coffee Flavor & Taste 

If you prefer a more robust coffee flavor and taste, cone coffee filters are exactly what you need. Due to its unique shape, the coffee has time to steep and release its flavors. As it has a small surface area, water is able to flow through at a slower rate, therefore resulting in your coffee achieving maximum flavor and aroma.  

In comparison, coffee using flat bottom filters will have a lighter flavor as water comes into contact with the filter for a shorter period of time.  

3. Extraction Time 

Both filters have relatively quick extraction time, but flat bottom filters are quicker than cone shaped filters. As flat bottom filters have larger holes, it allows the water to pass through more quickly - resulting in you getting a cup of coffee in less time.  

On the contrary, cone shaped filters take slightly longer. Though it might be longer, however, you'll have less of a chance of drinking any unwanted sediments as these elements will be filtered out of the coffee.  

4. Water Flow 

When it comes to water flow, cone shaped filters have a slower water flow in comparison to flat bottom filters. As mentioned, flat bottom filters have larger holes which allows water to flow through quickly. What this means, however, is that you'll have a cup of coffee that's less intense in flavor, aroma, and caffeine.  

With cone shaped filters, water takes a bit more time to filter through, resulting in more oils and flavors released from your beans and a darker and richer coffee.  

5. Type Of Coffee Machine Required 

With cone shaped filters, you'll be able to use them not just with drip coffee makers but also with pour-over coffee makers. You will, however, need to know what size you're purchasing as not all sizes are compatible with all coffee machines.  

With flat bottom coffee filters, you can use them with any coffee machine. As they only come in one size, you can use them with any coffee machine that you have - which is a huge bonus.  

Flat Bottom Coffee Filter Vs Cone

Flat Bottom Coffee Filters (Overview + Pros & Cons) 

A flat bottom coffee filter, also known as a basket filter, comes with a relatively large surface area. Due to the flat bottom coffee filter’s unique design, water comes into contact with the grounds for a shorter period of time, and fewer coffee solubles are extracted from the coffee.  

Individuals tend to use flat bottom coffee filters as they're not only cheaper and more versatile, but they also produce a milder cup of coffee than cone filters. If you use a flat bottom coffee filter, it’s likely that your coffee will have sweet and floral notes.  

Flat Bottom Coffee Filter Vs Cone (How Basket Shape Affects Brewing)

Not all coffee machines take flat bottom coffee filters, but there are plenty of Breville and Lelit coffee machines that do use flat bottom coffee filters. The good thing about these filters is that they also only come in one size, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally purchasing the wrong one.  

With a flat bottom coffee filter, you'll also typically be able to brew anywhere between eight to 12 cups of coffee at a time. In terms of the grind, a medium grind is most suitable for flat bottom coffee filters, but you can generally use any grind.  

What We Like 
  • Quicker extraction time  
  • Cheaper than cone filters  
  • Brews larger cups of coffee  
  • Produces a more balanced coffee brew  
Things We Don’t 
  • Not great if you prefer a stronger cup of coffee
  • Coffee grounds may not be saturated evenly

Cone Shaped Coffee Filters (Overview + Pros & Cons) 

Cone shaped coffee filters have a tapered bottom along with a wide opening. Due to its unique shape, both the water and the coffee grounds end up in a central location which ensures that the water evenly passes through the coffee grounds.  

If you're someone that enjoys a stronger and more intense coffee brew, you’ll prefer cone shaped coffee filters. Due to the shape of the cone filter, it has a longer extraction time, allowing it to soak up the grounds and produce a bolder tasting brew.  

chemex pot with cone shape coffee filter

With cone-shaped filters, there are four different sizes, so you’ll need to make sure that you know what size would work with your coffee machine. Here’s a rough guide of the different sizes:  

  • Size 1 is typically good for brewing one cup of coffee. 
  • Size 2 is ideal for brewing two to six cups of coffee in electric coffee makers.  
  • Size 4 can brew eight to ten cups of coffee in electric coffee makers.  
  • Size 6 can brew 10 cups of coffee or more using either pour-over or non-electric coffee makers.  

In terms of the grind, the best grind to use for a cone-shaped coffee filter is a medium grind. Cone-shaped coffee filters also work well with pour-over coffees, and in those instances, a medium-fine grind would be best.  

What We Like 
  • Produces a stronger coffee  
  • Provides even saturation  
  • Won’t have to worry about your filter falling on the grounds  
  • Usually gives a more robust coffee flavor  
Things We Don’t 
  • Can intensify bitterness of the brew 
  • Pricier than other filters  

Flat Bottom Vs Cone Coffee Filter FAQs  

Can you use regular coffee filters in a cone basket? 

Yes, you can use regular coffee filters in a cone basket. All you've got to do is mold it into a cone shape, and you'll be all good to go.  

Can you use a cone coffee filter in a basket coffee maker? 

No, you cannot use a cone coffee filter in a basket coffee maker. Due to its unique shape, a cone coffee filter just wouldn’t be able to fit properly in a basket coffee maker.  

What can substitute a coffee filter?  

Several items can substitute a coffee filter from paper towels to dishcloths, mesh sieves, and even reusable tea bags. If you'd like, you could even make your own coffee filter at home.  


Conclusion

If you're more concerned about flavor, a cone coffee filter will help you get that robust coffee flavor. On the other hand, if you're more concerned about convenience and a quick cleanup, a flat bottom coffee filter would suit you better.