Can You Use a Paper Towel as a Coffee Filter?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on June 28th, 2022

Although coffee lovers disagree about what brand has the best taste, they generally agree on one thing–most like those who “passed the filter.”

This way, coffee preparation uses ground and roasted beans, giving a better and more diversified taste to the best-caffeinated beverage. It often depends on the filter itself, which can be metal, plastic, or paper, and also influences the coffee taste that ends up in our coffee cups or mugs.

With the right coffee filter, you will get the most delicious and cleanest coffee without the sludge and excess coffee oils.

But, everything would be fine except for a slight flaw–these filters are for single-use, and at least one of us forgets to replenish and run out. So it can be quite a surprise when you find your filter box empty in the morning.

So, you wake up and go to the kitchen immediately to prepare your morning caffeine energy bomb, without which you’re completely dysfunctional–and undergo a surprise…

Now, you have three options:

  1. You will go to a supermarket or 7-eleven that is probably not so close and be late for work,
  2. You will leave the house without having your morning coffee (is this an option?) Maybe go to your local coffee shop.
  3. You see a roll of paper towels next to your coffee machine, and you start to think, can paper towels be an acceptable replacement? Well, it’s made of paper. So your genius mindset is putting a smile on your face. But will it work?

Way of using a paper towel as a coffee filter

Because paper towel is much softer, double-fold them to avoid tearing in contact with hot water and sediment deterioration in your mug. You would hardly be able to “do the job” using a cheaper paper towel with less quality–this scenario will likely be disastrous. At the same time, a better quality paper towel would be a worthy replacement for a coffee filter.

Please test it out, put the paper towel in a decanter, Chemex, etc., after you have doubled them. Then try to pour your perfect water temperature for your coffee to see if it works.

What about the taste?

Let’s assume the greatest difference between normal coffee filters and paper towels is the likelihood of absorption, which results in a slightly different taste of coffee.

Paper towels are poorer absorbents, so more coffee oils and other additives remain on them, and you get a “cleaner” coffee with a slightly weaker flavor. Many people prefer it; some don’t.

Is the use of paper towels safe for us?


Though with the help of paper towels, coffee filtering is possible, it is quite clear that this is not their purpose. We’re sorry we’ve got to disappoint you. Since this product isn’t intended for use in food and beverage preparation, it’s logical we ask ourselves–is this healthy?

First, paper towels aren’t naturally white, meaning they go through bleaching. We often have traces of ink and glue on top of that.

The chemical bleaching method, most often performed by chlorine, is the main reason why we should think twice when this “genius idea” comes to our minds. The material, which is paper and its derivative chlorine dioxide, is minimally harmful when we use the paper for what is intended for external use. But when these chemicals come into contact with hot water, they become more carcinogenic, and their harmfulness to our organisms increases dramatically.

What about brown paper towels?

These have not undergone aggressive bleaching procedures; they also have many other harmful chemicals and are not for internal use. In addition to changing coffee taste, customers will rarely opt for it.

Why is the filter paper safe?

Blotting papers were the first papers for coffee filtering, but today they are mostly made from plain paper–that is, white. The legally permissible coffee filter paper goes through the bleaching process as well. And yet there is a distinction between them and towels made with paper.

Filter paper is considerably less toxic, primarily due to its more rough structure and passing medical tests, which officially declared it safe to come in contact with what we bring in ourselves.

So, without a second thought, anyone smart enough would advise you to use original coffee filter paper instead of paper towels when preparing coffee.

But don’t worry

Yeah, you can use a paper towel as a coffee filter substitute, but there’s no need for that if you don’t have to. Nevertheless, this is a great idea that can fix your short-term issues or until you arrive at the first coffee shop–in this case, it’s completely harmless.

Because of all of the above faults, we would not suggest its use in the long term. Instead, check out some other coffee filter substitutes you can use!

Video Tutorial


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.