I don't drink coffee, and my partner never makes it at home, so I was a little surprised the other day, when he told me he had bought a coffee maker. It was on sale, he told me, but I knew the real reason - He needed a means to make coffee so he could indulge in a Holiday favourite, Bailey's and coffee. The reasoning for the new purchase aside, I knew that this would be my opportunity to create a post that I had been meaning to write for a while. Reusable coffee filters!
Given most of us compost our filters along with the coffee brewed in them, we may not think of our coffee filters as something that creates an environmental impact. Not only do these filters create waste volume, many of them are bleached with chemicals. Of course there are environmentally friendly alternatives, such as bamboo coffee filters, or unbleached filters, but did you know that coffee brewed using a cloth filter can actually taste better? Both paper and cloth filters will keep particles from getting through, preventing sediment, but paper filters will also filter out some of the oils in coffee which give it it's rich flavour and properly balanced acidity, which cloth filters don't! More and more people are trying to live a minimal or zero-waste lifestyle and depending on how you like to enjoy your coffee, reusable cloth coffee filters may be the perfect choice for you.
Making The Pattern
Making your own reusable cone coffee filter is as simple as it gets. All you have to do is trace off a coffee filter you already have! First you will want to trace around the perimeter of your coffee filter on to a sheet of paper. Then flip the filter over keeping the folded edge aligned with the original folded edge, as shown below. and trace again! This line down the centre, becomes your fold line in the pattern. Alternately, and even faster, you can simply line up your coffee filter's folded edge on the fold of your fabric and simply, trace or cut around it. So simple! I like the idea of having a pattern so I can lay it all out on a single layer of fabric and cut it out with the least amount of fabric waste possible, but this is up to you!
For those of you who don't have a coffee filter on hand, you can do what I did and steal one from an AirBnb in Vermont, or you can just use the pattern I have created (with said stolen filter) here! This pattern is for a size 4 cone filter - a very common size here in Canada.
As with paper filters you will want to choose fabric that is organic, unbleached and un-dyed. I chose Simplifi's 7.5oz hemp organic cotton muslin for these reasons. This fabric is sturdy so it holds its shape in the coffee maker, and has a good weave to keep the coffee particles from coming through. I think it worked perfectly, and you can get at least 8 filters out of a half meter.
Making The Filters
This takes only one seam! Once you have traced off your pattern or printed and assembled the one provided here, you will want to cut out your fabric. I like to use the fold line as the grainline, but if this is specifically a scrap busting project I think you can fudge this a bit and it won't make a huge difference in your finished product. I recommend cutting out a few at a time and sewing them in batches. It is so quick to sew that you may as well make yourself a stock-pile while you're at it. Once they are cut out, you will want to finish the top edge. I used pinking shears because it is VERY quick, but you could serge or zig zag this edge just as easily. You won't want to skip this step as you will be rinsing and washing your homemade filters quite often, and you don't want the fabric to fray.
The next step is just to fold your fabric in half, wrong sides together, matching the bottom edges and sides, and simply serge or sew (and finish) these two edges. Because of the curve in the bottom edge you should be able to do this with one continuous seam. I recommend this so that you don't have as many corners for rogue grains to get stuck. This is also the reason why we sew with wrong sides together.
So that is basically it! This step is optional, but I chose to weave in my serger tails, for a cleaner finish and stronger seam. I do recommend doing this, but in all honesty 9 times out of 10 I will be too lazy and simply chop them off.
Now all you have to do is brew your coffee as usual using your new reusable filter and pat yourself on the back for helping reduce waste!
Cleaning Your Filters
Once you are done brewing you can easily dump out your used grounds in to the compost (or straight in to the garden for a nitrogen boost) and rinse your filter and wash with a mild dish soap. Make sure to rinse thoroughly! You can also throw your rinsed filter in to a mesh bag and once you have a few saved up, toss the bag in to the washing machine, or throw them in the dishwasher!
I'm not sure how I managed to talk about a project with only one seam for 9 paragraphs, but alas, I did! These filters make a great gift, and are also a great scrap-buster, so go forth and sew up a bunch of reusable coffee filters for you and your friends, and let me know how the coffee tastes, because as mentioned before, I don't drink the stuff!
Thanks for stopping by! xo M