12 Best Coffee Filter Substitute

person pouring water on cup

A cup of coffee is what most people need every morning as it jumps starts their day. In fact, there are coffee lovers who cannot make it through the day without grabbing a cup of coffee.

Regardless of whether you need a cup of coffee every day, two or three cups to maintain your energy levels, running out of coffee filters early in the morning or when thirsting for coffee is the last thing you want to happen to you. But in case you happen to be a victim, here are some coffee filter substitutes that you can utilize.

Use a French Press

No coffee filters in the house? Don’t worry. Your French press maker is your friend. It is easy to use, and you are almost assured to make a perfect cup of coffee. One advantage of using a French press is that it makes you a more delicious cup of coffee. The oils absorbed or eliminated in a paper filter, and which make coffee tasteful are not absorbed when using a French press.

Want to learn how to make french press coffee?

Or learn french press vs drip coffee maker

or french press vs aeropress

Toilet Paper and Paper Towel

Toilet papers or paper towels are an excellent alternative if you don’t have coffee filters around the house. They are easy to work with. Just shape them in a way they fit properly in the filter cup or coffee maker. They allow coffee to travel through them hence making it easier to enjoy your cup of java without using coffee filters.

Cowboy Coffee

cowboy coffee method

Another excellent alternative is the cowboy coffee. And like preparing your cup of java using French Press, it is also easier to make one using cowboy coffee. The process is quite easy. It involves heating coffee grounds with water in a kettle and then pouring directly to your cup. If you do everything well, nothing should stop you from enjoying your cup coffee.

Use Tea Bags

Another satisfying way to enjoy your cup of coffee is by using tea bags. All you have to do is grind your favorite blend on the finest setting, then pour the grinds into tea bags, seal them, and finally get ready to enjoy your coffee. This method is an excellent option if traveling, when in a hurry and in case you don’t love the idea of carrying paper filters or coffee brewing machines.

Kopi Tubruk Method

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Kopi Tubruk, also commonly known as mud coffee is popular brewing method in Indonesia. And like other brewing methods, Kopi Tubruk will make you a perfect cup of coffee if you follow the right procedures. All you have to do to prepare a delicious cup of coffee is add two teaspoons of fine or medium grounds and boiling water into your cup and wait for the coffee grounds to steep until they settle to the bottom of your cup. Just remember not to drink the mud at the bottom of the cup.

Mud Coffee

Another great coffee filter option is called the “mud coffee.” Just place one cup of coffee ground at the bottom of your mug, pour in boiling water, and stir a little. The grounds will settle. Wait a few minutes to let them calm down, and you can drink almost to the bottom without getting ground in your mouth.

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If you drink milk in your coffee, add after settling. Do not stir the coffee after settling or it becomes gritty. Good ground coffee performs best.

Metal/Wire Mesh Reusable Filters

If tired of buying paper filters, a metal mesh reusable filter ends your problems. It is permanent and saves you a lot of money. Besides, you will be making a positive move in saving a few trees. And like the coffee paper filters, it is easy to use a metal mesh filter. You just place it at the top of your mug, add 2-3 tablespoons of medium or coarse coffee and pour water over the grounds. And in just a few seconds, your coffee will be ready.

Instant Coffee

Another way to avoid coffee filters is by using instant coffee. It is fast to prepare a cup of coffee using instant coffee. All you need is hot water to prepare your cup of coffee.

Cupcake Paper Cups

Small pieces of paper that keeps the cupcakes in place can also be used as a coffee filter replacement. It’s already designed to keep you from making big changes. Simply pour over water and start filtering coffee grounds. Note that you need layer cups above each other for more efficient filtering.


cheesecloth coffee method

Have a cheesecloth in the house? The Cooks Thesaurus recommends using it in case you run out of coffee filters. And like toilet paper, just fit it in your coffee maker and proceed with the brewing process.

Fine Cloth or Butter Muslin

Similar to cheesecloth, butter muslin is another excellent substitute for coffee filters. Butter muslin is a tightly woven cotton cloth that allows the butter to form and drain. Just remember to use only a clean or new butter muslin. It is that simple.

The Sock Method

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. USE CLEAN SOCKS. As the name suggests, this method involves using a new and clean sock to prepare your cup of coffee. This is what you do, place coffee grounds into a clean sock, place the sock over your mug, and then pour hot water over the grounds. It is that simple. So, next time you run out of coffee filters, and you have a few pair of new socks in the house, don’t hesitate to use them as filter substitute.


There are many ways to prepare your favorite cup of coffee, even without having some coffee paper filters around the house. Hopefully, this piece was helpful. Need more information, feel free to reach us. Besides, feel free to share your experience once you try any of the filter substitutes.


Self-proclaimed coffee drinker. I would, on a typical day, start my day by grinding my coffee with a manual grinder and use a French Press as a starter (2 cups), then a pour-over in the afternoon (4 cups). I had my fair share as a barista but I prefer to drink it, not serve it.