How (and why) to re-use paper coffee filters.
Maybe you have a coffee maker, in which case you should barter it for a parsnip or a couple of week-old radishes because coffeemakers suck. Or maybe you make coffee with one of those doom-dealing, bisphenol-A-leaching plastic Melita filter holders... like me!
If you can't barter your coffee maker because nobody wants it or because it is the last thing you have from your dear, departed great aunt Sal and if you don't have a gold filter for it, go to garage sales 'til you find one. You will find one. The worse the economy gets, the more truly useless things people try to sell. So saddle up and ride out to the more desperate and refi-ed-to-the-hilt of the subdivisions in your area and you'll be a goldfilter owner sooner than you thought possible.
Unless you use preground coffee flakes, the gold filter will let in grounds and the bottom fifth of your pot of bad coffeemaker coffee will be a stygian, bitter swamp. So you want to double up with a paper filter. (You don't use preground coffee flakes because that's disgusting. If you have any Folgers around, barter for some potato peels.)
Either way, whether you make grody coffeemaker coffee or you make Melita coffee like a civilized person, you still want to scrounge up a goldfilter. It will take the weight of the wet coffee grounds off your delicate paper filter and allow you to use it six or eight times, for a savings of $0.0007*.
Here's what you do:
- Put your precious paper filter in your filterholder
- Put your goldfilter in on top of it
- Thow in your coffee and pour water over it or flip the Mr. Coffee switch
- When the brewing process is complete, carefully lift out your goldfilter and discard or, preferably, compost, the sodden grounds
- Leave the paper filter in the filter basket until it is completely dry (some say this step is a little obsessive, but the fact is, a wet paper filter is more fragile than a dry one, and if your paper filter tears, you won't be able to use it again, and that's anywhere from $0.0001* to $0.0007* down the drain! Just THROWN AWAY! Lost forever! Have you checked the Dow today? HUH?)
- Carefully rinse your filter and allow it to air dry
The individual filter isn't worth much, granted. But coffee filters are a staple, the kind of horribly necessary thing you sometimes have to go into the store to buy. If you go into the store, the chances that you will spend money are much greater than if you do not go into the store. It is possible to go into the store and buy just coffee filters, but no one ever does. If you go into the store, you will buy, say, a pack of watermelon gum. That's a pack of watermelon gum you wouldn't have bought had you not gone into the store. Right? Right: it's simple logic. And that is why you should re-use coffee filters and why you should purchase the sort of toilet paper that comes in bales and lasts forever. You want that kind of toilet paper despite the fact that it's not recycled. The recycled stuff is always all fluffy and loosely wrapped on the cardboard tube, so that a roll lasts only about a fifth as long as the fat, dense rolls that come in bales. The stuff that comes in bales will keep you out of the store longer. Staying out of the store is very valuable. The toilet paper that keeps you out of the store is going to save you so much money, it's worth bringing on The Day After Tomorrow to get it.
Twice I have found paper coffee filters at estate sales. I bought them both times. Does it creep you out to think of anyone using The Paper Products of the Recently Dead? No problies, princess, more for me. In a month or two when the lights go out, you might find your attitude has undergone a change.
You may be tempted to buy a re-usable cloth filter from the store. Do not get the type made of muslin. After about five uses, they clog hopelessly, and no amount of soaking in vinegar or laundering will get them functional again. Perhaps, like me, you have a friend who is a genius with the sewing machine. Try not to torment this friend by asking over and over and over and over and over if she could please please please please make you a functional, non-clogging re-usable cloth filter. Bear in mind that talented seamstresses are much in demand these days. If you keep asking and asking and asking and asking, you may traumatize your friend, and then where would you be!