What is the significant difference between using a paper filter over a reusable metal mesh filter for Chemex?

  • Aren't cone (kone) filters paper? Can you clarify a bit?
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 6:49
  • I edited your question so that it says the type of filter instead of a brand name so that more people may recognize it. If that isn't what you meant, feel free to change it back!
    – SourDoh
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 15:57

4 Answers 4


A paper filter is a true "filter" in that it basically only allows liquid to pass through. This means that you will have no sediment in your coffee, if that is a concern to you. Paper filters are absorbent though, so some of the flavor compounds of the coffee will be absorbed into the paper, and some other compounds as well (a chemical in coffee that causes a rise in cholesterol is absorbed by the paper). The paper can also lead to a papery flavor in your coffee.

Metal filters only filter out particulates of a certain size, so you will frequently end up with a layer of "sludge" at the bottom of your pot. Metal filters should be non-reactive though, so they will not add a flavor to your coffee and will allow everything extracted from your coffee to pass through.

If cholesterol isn't a concern, I'd say try both and see which you like better.

Types of Coffee Filters

Coffee & Cholesterol

  • In reading the Chemex fan sites, some of them seem to advocate the treated paper, others the metal mesh. Somehow I suspect that these issues are emotional as much as actual perceivable tastes.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 16:52
  • Depending on how coarse you grind the coffee and the fineness of the metal filter you may not ever get sludge in your coffee. Ive used a kone and chemex for over a year and while there may be some small amount of fines suspended in the coffee (it looks a little cloudy) Ive never had anything resembling sludge. Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 23:43

AHHH! Now I get it! I've used both. A lot. The fact is, I don't taste a difference. I only pick one over the other for convenience or economics. It's cool to just dump a disposable filter, no muss, no fuss. But disposable filters cost money. The other one is already paid for. Funny thing, I've used nothing but the metal one for over a year. It would cost me $5 to replenish my supply of coffee filters, it seems I always have some other way I'd rather spend that $5. One tiny caveat is that the metal type will leave a tiny bit of sludge in the bottom of your carafe. Don't pour it into your cup and you'd hardly know it was there.


I actually use both together! I prewet the Chemex paper filter and put it into a Kone S/S filter. The result is a no sludge/no paper aftertaste and a faster pour over. YMMV.

  • If you're using the paper filter, there's really no reason to use the metal filter.
    – SourDoh
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 17:40
  • Depends on the roast and bean. Sometimes I like to get the oily slush out of a certain variety. MY latest change is no more unbleached Chemex filters, they leave a 'paper towel' flavor the bleached version doesn't have. Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 21:29

Paper filters, essentially allow water to pass through with the lack of sediment in your brew. They absorb well enough, but at the same time can absorb some of your coffees flavor. I've heard of many people complaining about a paper-like, or chemical-like taste to their coffee when using a paper filter. Everyone has their own opinion and tastes though when it comes to this.

Metal filters, or the stainless steel filter route can be handy for a number of reasons. The lack of waste after brewing is nice to have. The fact that they're reusable is quite handy and can save you a lot of money in the long run. One of the most important aspects of a metal filter is the retention of oils in your coffee. These filters can give you a nice full-flavored cup.

Hope this helps and happy brewing. Feel free to hit me up for any questions, recipes or roast suggestions.


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