SwissGold Permanent Coffee Filters – Review
October 10, 2005
Well, there are a couple of good reasons. First, you aren’t consuming a bunch of paper products, and disposing of them in landfills. Second, you don’t have to keep spending money on filters — $3 – $5 a shot for a pack of filters adds up to real money soon enough. Third, you never go to make a pot of coffee in the morning and find out you’re out of filters (making a filter out of paper towels never works, trust me.)
All of that is true enough, but the most important reason for using a permanent metal filter is the taste.
When you brew coffee with paper filters, two things happen — first, the paper absorbs some of the deeper flavors and body of the coffee. The true taste and mouthfeel of the coffee you’re using doesn’t come through, and you end up with a thinner, less flavorful cup of coffee. Second, depending on the variety of paper filter you use, flavors from the paper and processing are added to the cup. I know I can taste the difference between “natural” and “bleached” filters, so there is certainly a taste component being added.
There are cheaper permanent metal filters, and even cheaper “gold tone” filters. The SwissGold filters however are plated with 23 carat gold, which is “flavor inert”, and it won’t oxidize or rust.
They also seem to trap a little bit finer particles than some of the “OEM” metal filters, which means less sediment in the bottom of your cup.
Finally, the SwissGold seem to be better made than many; I’m sure you can probably wear one out, but I never have managed to, and that’s with a lot of abuse and even the occasional trip through the top rack of the dishwasher.
For me the bottom line comes down to “why not” — when a plain “permanent metal filter” basically costs the same as two boxes of paper filters, and the SwissGold costs the same as three boxes, why not go with the good stuff?
For a metal filter, you’ll want to grind slightly coarser than you’d grind for a paper filter; since a metal filter has both larger and fewer pores than a paper filter, this keeps excess sediment out of your cup (you’ll probably always get a bit), and keeps from potentially overflowing the filter with a slow extraction caused by an overly fine grind.
Cleanup couldn’t be easier — wash them with soap and water, and an occasional trip through the top rack of the dishwasher. If you use a coffee brewer soaking solution (such as Caffeza) you can soak them along with the rest of your equipment.