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Fine Grind Filters

Posted by Cailen Pygott on

If you’re anything like me and you love coffee as much as you’re freaked out that we almost didn't have a winter this year it’s likely you’re interested in finding ways to make your coffee routine a little more sustainable. Maybe you’ve been thinking about switching to a reusable coffee filter for a while but haven’t been sure if it would be right for you. “What are they made of?” “How do they compare to the paper filters I’m used to?” and “Just how in the heck am I supposed to clean and take care of one these darn things?” are questions you may have asked yourself. Personally I hope you asked them to Google and were directed to this page because that would mean my specific implementation of keywords, headlines, sub-headlines and link-building created a tasty search engine optimized brew of an article for you, Google, and Bing to sip from. 

But you’re not here to learn about a beginners perspective on SEO tactics! You’re here to learn about reusable coffee filters! Well it just so happens that’s another topic I am very much in the beginning stages of understanding so I called in the big guns. Specifically former Java Blend barista Katelyn “Big Guns” Armstrong of Fine Grind Filters to answer the questions I’ve determined you might want the answers to.

A person is pouring coffee from a Chemex into a ceramic mug. A cloth filter is in the background displaying the used coffee grinds.

What Are Fine Grind Reusable Filters Made Of?

Fine Grind Filters are all made out of one hundred percent cotton. Katelyn makes each filter by hand in Dartmouth Nova Scotia. After leaving Java Blend Katelyn took a job crafting cotton tote bags and garments; when she saw the leftover scraps of cotton weren’t being used she began devising a sustainable way to combine her loves of coffee and sewing. In the fall of 2020 this would take the form of Fine Grind Filters.

Birds eye view of a dry pour over dripper with coffee grinds inside sitting atop a red mug.

How Do Cloth Filters Compare To Paper Filters?

Great question! The biggest difference you’ll notice between a cloth filter and a paper filter is that cloth tends to let more of the coffee’s oils through to the cup. This creates a cup of coffee with a thicker body somewhere between a french press and a regular pour over. 

If you’re brewing with a pour over method such as a V60 or a Chemex you’ll want to make sure you don’t skip pre-wetting your filter before adding your ground coffee. It would even be a good idea to use a little extra water to ensure your filter is properly soaked and your vessel is heated.

Because cloth filters are more porous than paper filters, coffee tends to move through them a little faster so Katelyn recommends grinding your coffee a little bit finer. “Oh I wonder if that’s why it’s called Fine Grind Filters.” I can hear you muttering and YES I did ask her and YES that is why. Also because it’s fun to say. Fine Grind Filters.

How Do You Clean Cloth Filters? How Do You Care For Them?

Safety first! Katelyn recommends sanitizing your filter before you use it for the first time. This is the method for sanitizing a cloth filter:

  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil
  • Stir in 1 tsp of baking soda
  • Add filter and boil continuously for ten minutes
  • Ring out the filter and hang to dry

After each use you’ll want to empty your filter into the compost and rinse it thoroughly under hot water. Make sure to get rid of any coffee grind stragglers and then hang it up to dry. Your filter will hold on to some excess oils after you clean it but that’s fine! Once a month or so when those oils seem to have built up too much just repeat the sanitization process from above. Katelyn dries her filter out on her dish rack but anywhere it will dry quickly and evenly is good. 

Another storage option if you don’t use your filter very often or if you can’t dry it out very quickly is to store it damp. I use my Hario Woodneck once a week and my house is *cold* so after rinsing my filter I keep it in a ziploc bag in my freezer. This prevents any mildew from forming during the drying process!

So Why Fine Grind Filters?

These are durable, handmade filters that will last you a long time and make really tasty cups of coffee. Fine Grind Filters are available for a variety of coffee makers. At the time of typing Katelyn makes filters suitable for basket drip, Hario V60-02, Melitta cones #2 and #4 and (her most prized design) a one size fits all Chemex filter. We helped her prototype the Chemex filter and it’s an impressive design and Katelyn’s current favourite way to brew coffee.

Coffee is brewing through a cloth filter in a chemex using a chrom hot water kettle.

When we talk about being more environmentally conscious and sustainable one of the best things we can do is buy local goods from small producers. Everything about Fine Grind Filters has been sourced from or made in Nova Scotia. On top of buying fabric locally Katelyn’s packaging was designed by Amherst based toy designer Colin Brunt and is printed by Haystacks Media Production in Tantallon. 

A package of Fine Grind Filters Chemex Filters

Intentionally marketed at an accessible price point Katelyn has created a quality product that acts as a fantastic local alternative to larger national brands of reusable filters. Filters can be purchased at our cafe or online through our website or the Fine Grind Filters Instagram page.

All Photography by Victoria Daaboul.

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