Can You Use a Paper Towel as a Coffee Filter?

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

This way, coffee preparation uses ground and roasted beans which give 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 runout. So it can be quite a surprise in the morning when you find your filter box empty.

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 super market 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 really an option?) Maybe go to your local coffee shop.
  3. You see a roll of paper towl next to your coffee machine and you start to think, can paper towel be an acceptable replacement? Well, it’s made of paper, is not it? You’re genius mindset is putting a smile on your face. But will it work?

Way of using paper towel as a coffee filter

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

Test it out, put the paper towl 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, some don’t.

Is use of paper towels safe for us?

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

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First, paper towels aren’t naturally white, meaning they go through the bleaching process. 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 when this “genius idea” comes to our minds we should think twice. The material, which is on paper and its derivative chlorine dioxide, is minimally harmful when we use the paper for what it is intended for-external use. But when these chemicals come into contact with hot water they become more carcinogenic, and their harmfulness to our organism increases dramatically.

What about brown paper towels?

These have not undergone aggressive bleaching procedures, but they also have many other harmful chemicals and 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 toxics, primarily due to more rough structure and passed medical tests, which officially declared it safe to come in contact with what we bring in ourselves.

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

But do not 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. 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. Check out some other coffee filter substitute you can use!

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