I’ve long thought that a “permanent” coffee filter would be a good idea on a boat. We had a few friends that used them, and they always seemed like a neat idea:
- Anything that’s designed to be re-used just seems more environmentally friendly.
- Buy it once, rather than finding filters in out-of-the-way locations.
- Less trash — each one is small, but yes, they do add to the trash management issue.
- One less thing to store, since you can leave it in the coffee maker.
However, after using one for almost two weeks in a condo that we rented, I quickly concluded that I wouldn’t want one on a boat for three reasons:
- It’s a pain to get all the coffee grounds out. Quite a lot stick inside, and you have to wipe them out with a rag (more laundry) or a paper towel (more trash). Some always stick inside, and it takes water to get them out — more water than I’m willing to use on what seems like a simple thing.
- And when you’ve rinsed those grounds out, where do they go? Typically, they end up going down the drain . . . and that can cause clogs or slow drains as they mix with grease and soap.
- And if you don’t scrub the filter out with soap and a little brush, coffee oils will build up on the tiny mesh and then your coffee will taste funny. It’ll taste funny, too, if you don’t totally rinse the soap out . . . and that takes more water than you’d think as the mesh really likes to hold soap.
I was really surprised at the amount of water and time (and an extra paper towel!) that it took to clean up the permanent filter. The extra paper towel negated any trash savings or “less environmental impact” that I thought the permanent filter would have. And I hate having little bits of food go down the drain — the less that goes down, the less chance of clogs.
So I’m retracting my earlier comment that using paper or permanent filters is just a matter of personal preference . . . . I’m now thinking that paper are really the way to go if you have a coffee maker that uses filters. And for those systems where a paper filter is optional, my guess is that they’ll save in clean up time and water usage, too.