Q&A: Is a gold-tone coffee filter better than a paper one?

Consumer Reports News: July 13, 2010 03:45 PM

My Cuisinart DCC-1200 coffeemaker came with a gold tone filter that the manual says is better than a paper filter because it lets more natural oils through. Is that true?

In addition to your Cuisinart DCC-1200, many coffeemakers that use cone-type filters (as opposed to those that are shaped like a cupcake), come with gold/gold-tone/metal permanent filters. Cuisinart claims such filters provide “full-flavored coffee.” And using one may help get more from the beans, says Bob Karpel, who oversees Consumer Reports’ coffeemaker tests.

“Although untested by Consumer Reports, it's likely that this is true depending on the porosity of the paper filter, which affects the size of particles that can filter through, the coffee itself and the brewing temperature,” says Karpel. “I enjoy my morning cup of coffee enough to blend five different kinds to make just one breakfast pot. And I can easily taste differences when I use my gold filter.”

Karpel gives metal filters two more plus marks: “Using less paper is better for the environment and the metal filter, around $10, pays for itself in short order. I've used my same metal filter for almost 10 years now.”

If you’re a coffee lover, take a look at our Ratings (for subscribers) of Colombian and coffee blends. Come August 3, we’ll have Ratings of Sumatran and Kenyan coffees. And remember that a good coffeemaker can make a difference. The top pots from our recent tests reached the 195 F to 205 F necessary to get the best from the beans and avoid a weak or bitter brew.

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