Coffee connoisseurs know that the type of filter you use will make a big difference in how your cup of Joe turns out. Whether you like the full-bodied brew from metal filters or the light, refreshing feel that comes from paper filters, filtered coffee brewing methods allow for customization, including Chemex.
We’ll detail all the Chemex filter types and everything you need to know about them so you can prepare a cup of coffee tailored to your specific tastes. You might also be interested in our guide on the best Chemex coffee makers.
1. Circle Filters
Circle coffee filters are the most common choice for Chemex brewers. They effortlessly fit into the conical surface on the top of the brewer.
You can choose flat filters, meaning you must mold them to fit the Chemex, or folded ones that slot right in. The quality between the two is the same; the pre-folded version is more convenient but is typically a little bit pricier. Circle filters are compatible with all Chemex products as long as you select the correct size.
Circle filters are usually made from paper; you can choose between bleached or natural.
2. Square Filters
Like circle filters, square filters are usually made from paper, and you can opt for folded or unfolded filters. The square filters don’t fit all Chemex products, so you must inspect your model before trying them.
There isn’t a difference in taste between square and circular filters; some people just prefer them because the edges protrude out and remain dry during the brewing process, making them easier to remove.
3. White Filters
White filters are paper filters that have been bleached, giving them a bright color. They’re usually bleached with oxygen or chlorine.
Although these may sound like scary terms, there is generally not a lot of chlorine used in paper products. Research from the 80s noted that bleached paper contained dioxins, which may be detrimental to your health. Still, they’re generally considered safe these days, especially if you’re not drinking vast amounts of coffee daily.
Some coffee drinkers have environmental concerns about bleached products as they can release toxic byproducts during manufacturing.
4. Natural Filters
Natural filters are simply unbleached, paper filters. The color is the only difference, as they function like white filters. Some coffee drinkers prefer to rinse natural filters in warm water twice before using them as they tend to impart a papery taste to your brew.
5. Bonded Filters
Bonded filters are a type of paper filter created by Chemex. All official Chemex filters are bonded, whether they’re natural or bleached.
Bonded filters are tightly woven and are 20% to 30% thicker than third-party products. The additional thickness helps to catch all unsavory sediments and flavors in the coffee, allowing customers to brew a clean, crisp cup of Joe.
6. Metal Filters
One of the downsides of paper coffee filters is that they can only be used once. Metal coffee filters have grown in popularity as they can be reused forever if you take good care of them.
Metal Chemex filters are generally made from stainless steel with fine holes equally spread throughout the filter. They’re already shaped to the perfect size, so you can just slot them right in and get brewing.
Metal coffee filters allow more sediments through, making deeper, more robust java with a thicker mouthfeel. While many coffee lovers prefer these characteristics in their coffee, one of the selling points of Chemex was a cleaner cup of coffee with a light mouthfeel.
Paper and cloth filters can also catch oils that may harm heart health, but metal filters do not. With that said, as long as you’re generally healthy and don’t drink excessive amounts of Joe, coffee is unlikely to raise your cholesterol levels drastically. Learn more in our explainer on how many microns is in a coffee filter.
7. Reusable Cloth Filters
If you prefer lighter coffee, reusable cloth filters are for you. These filters are usually made from cotton and hemp. They’re thicker than Chemex’s standard paper filters, allowing them to catch even more oils and sediments.
Although some coffee lovers will rinse out paper filters to reuse them, it tarnishes the quality of the drink since they’re designed to be single-use. For eco-conscious coffee drinkers who don’t want to lose the classic Chemex taste, cloth filters are the best option.
You can find conical or square-shaped cloth filters, but this doesn’t impact the taste like the paper version.
Half-moon filters are another type of paper filter. They are semi-circular, with a small circle in the middle to prevent the coffee grounds from falling through. You mold them to fit your brewer like you would with regular unfolded paper filters.
Chemex allows you to choose between natural and white half-moon filters. Like circular and square filters, the shape of these filters does not alter the taste of your coffee.
Can I Use Melitta Filters With A Chemex?
Melitta is an allrounder in the coffee industry, selling coffee machines, filters, and coffee, but the brand is mainly well-known for its paper filters. Aside from the standard choice of white and natural paper, Melitta allows you to opt for bamboo, which is not something Chemex offers just yet. Bamboo is becoming more common among eco-conscious coffee drinkers as it grows quicker than trees, making it easier to replenish than paper.
You can use Melitta filters with a Chemex, but it won’t provide the best results. These filters will not fit perfectly into your device, which may disrupt the brewing process if you have to stop what you’re doing to adjust it.
They are also more fragile than official Chemex filters, so they can break if you’re not careful. Plus, since the paper is thinner, it won’t provide that classic Chemex taste, but you can use two filters at once to achieve similar results. If you liked this post, you might find our Chemex size guide helpful.
Chemex Filter Types: FAQs
Can I Use Any Chemex Filter?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for Chemex, as the brewers range from 3 cups to thirteen cups, so you must choose the size and shape of the filters accordingly.
Can I Use Chemex Filters For Other Coffee Brewers?
You can use Chemex filters in drip coffee machines, but you may need to adjust the shape to get them to fit. Due to the thicker paper, expect your coffee to taste a little different than usual. However, circular Chemex filters are considerably larger than the circle filters used in AeroPress and Delter brewers, so they can’t be used interchangeably.
Can I Brew Chemex Coffee Without A Filter?
You can’t brew Chemex coffee without a filter, as the coffee grounds would fall into your drink. The filter is also required for removing the astringent notes in coffee, so it would not taste the same either.