Many people who see a cold brew for the first time think about iced coffee. However, a cold brew should never be confused with its iced coffee sister, because it is made quite differently. If you are not yet familiar with this type of coffee and would like to know about the best cold brew filter, be sure to read on.
How to filter cold brew coffee
When you make cold brew coffee you’ll need a way to filter it. Once the immersion brew is complete, you have to separate the grounds from the water.
This can be a rather messy process if you’ve not thought it through, so it’s important to decide on how you’re going to filter the coffee before you start the brew.
Many cold brew coffee makers come with filters built-in or as part of the kit.
The Toddy cold brew coffee maker has a paper/cloth filter as well as a much thicker filter in the neck of the brewer which takes care of any remaining fines and sediment.
You could try to just decant the coffee out, but that would not be very efficient, mainly because the coffee grounds don’t always sink to the bottom of the container.
So you’d have to hold a spatula or spoon at the mouth of the pour, and even then, a few grounds will definitely sneak their way in.
Cold brew is best enjoyed crisp and clean, so here are your options when it comes to filtering and straining your cold brew.
Cold brew filters and strainers
The most eco-friendly way to filter cold brew is with cloth. This could be as simple as an old but hopefully clean handkerchief you have lying around, or you can also pick up dedicated cloth cold brew filters.
Cloth filters are really good because they’re 100% reusable and very friendly for the environment. In the long run, they’ll be easier on your wallet, too.
The pores in cloth are extremely small so you will get a very clean and silky smooth brew in the end.
If you are using a handkerchief or a cheesecloth, you may wish to fashion a coffee pouch by tying the grounds into the handkerchief and just immersing the bundle as you would a teabag.
Alternatively, you can clip the handkerchief or cheesecloth to the lip of a jug and carefully pour.
Paper filters are the easiest to use as they’re very efficient at filtering out unwanted aromas and flavors from the coffee. You can just use a standard drip coffee filter and pour the final brew through it.
If you’re using a paper filter in the last stage after completing the immersion brew, it would be better to decant using a spoon or something to prevent any extra grounds from falling into the paper filter.
The more grounds that get in the filter the more time it will take for the coffee to drip through.
Some cold brew coffee makers use paper filters in the brewing chamber, so those work well, too.
The main disadvantage of paper filters is that they’re single use and the cost can add up over time.
Many coffee makers use fine mesh stainless steel filters and you can certainly pour your final brew through those for filtering out the coffee grounds.
Some automatic cold brew coffee makers come with filter baskets that use a fine stainless steel mesh to keep the coffee grounds in.
Other brewers like the Hario Jug have a cylindrical filter that you fill the coffee grounds in and immerse the entire cylinder in the water.
Once the brewing time is complete, you just remove the filter and you’re good to go.
Stainless steel is easy to clean and will last a long time. The disadvantage of stainless steel filters is that some small particles do tend to seep through, so the final brew is not as clean as it would be had you used paper or cloth.
Coffee roasters like Bizzy sell their cold brew blends pre-packaged in teabag-like pouches. These are very easy to use because there is no grinding or measuring involved. Just throw a pouch into the recommended amount of water and let it brew.
Once the brew is complete, remove the pouch and enjoy your coffee!
You can even make your own DIY pouches using paper filters as we described above.
Pouches are convenient, cheap, and a beginner-friendly way of making cold brew coffee. There’s little to no mess involved, too.
The disadvantage of ready-to-use pouches is that the coffee is pre-ground and you may find it is a little more stale compared to freshly ground coffee.
One of the easiest ways to filter cold brew is to brew it in a french press. This is my go-to method because it is so easy to do and I already have a french press, so I don’t want to go out any buy a separate cold brew coffee maker.
A french press already has a stainless steel mesh filter so the coffee grounds are filtered out pretty well. The grounds you’ll use for cold brew are very coarse, so you don’t need to worry about them getting through the filter into your coffee.
However, some fines and particles may still sneak by, so for best results, use a french press in conjunction with a paper or fbaric filter.
Cold brew kits have multiple filtering stages
In our article about cold brew coffee makers, we noted that most cold brew makers are essentially the same, as there’s just a chamber where you immerse the grounds and water and there is a means of filtering the ready coffee into a glass or jug.
The innovation you get from buying a cold brew kit is the added filtering system. Most cold brew kits utilize two to three filters for maximum smoothness and cleanliness in the brew.
The first filter is a fabric or paper filter that behaves like a standard filter. The next filter is usually madefrom a much thicker material that filters any fines and particulates out of the coffee.
There are many ways to filter cold brew coffee, but the best ones are fabric and paper as they do the best job and filtering. .