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Professional Coffee Equipment; How Cone and Flat Coffee Filter Affect Your Brewing

We all know that the grind size, the type of coffee you use and ultimately the brewing method you choose have an impact on the taste of your filter coffee.

But does the shape of your coffee filter also have an effect on the taste of your final brew?

This question has been a longstanding debate among coffee enthusiasts. In this article, we hope to shed some light on the key differences between a cone and a flat coffee filter, the type of flavor profiles you can expect, and whether one filter will outperform the other.

Does the Shape of the Coffee Filter Matter and Why?

Why do some coffee machines require a flat bottom filter while others require cone-shaped filters?

If we are talking about an automatic coffee machine, different filter designs are typically chosen to work well with the spray head attached to the coffee machine.

The combination of the nozzle type and a particular filter shape will ensure that the hot water disappears evenly over the bed of coffee grounds.

The shape of the filter will determine how quickly the water will pass through the coffee grounds.

For example. If the hot water passes through the ground coffee quickly, the flavor of the brewed coffee will be weak. If the water flows too slowly, the coffee starts to become bitter.

However, if we are talking about hand-poured coffee brewing, the flow rate of the water can be fine-tuned and fine-tuned by adjusting the grind size of your coffee. How this water flows is then determined by the shape of the filter.

Cone Filter Or Flat Filter What Is The Difference?

Besides how they can affect water flow, the shape of the filter can also have a noticeable effect on the taste of your coffee, and science can back this up.

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) delved a little deeper into the cone or flat coffee filter debate to see if they could solve this conundrum once and for all.

Their tests found that inexperienced coffee tasters were able to distinguish between different coffees brewed using different filter shapes.

– William Ristenpart, director of the UC Davis Coffee Center

During the research, the only other variable that tasters were able to distinguish apart from filter shape was the degree of roasting of the coffee.

This clearly proves that the shape of the coffee filter can change the flavor profile of brewed coffee.

But why does the filter shape make such a big difference? Simply put, it's all about how the water flows through the cone or flat filter, which then determines how the coffee is extracted.

Measuring Extraction Using Both Types of Coffee Filters

This is where it can get a little technical.

Measuring varying extraction results using a cone or flat shaped filter can be measured using a measurement known as Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS for short.

The measurement actually tells you the actual amount of coffee in your coffee. A higher TDS indicates more #extracted coffee.

So how does this have anything to do with a #flat or #cone-shaped #filter? Here is where it gets interesting. Using the TDS measurement, flat filters have been found to produce brewed coffee with a lower TDS compared to a cone filter.

This is true if all other brewing variables are equal, such as water temperature, coffee grind size, and pouring technique.

Does a Coffee Filter Affect the Flavor of Your Brew?

So putting all the technical jargon aside, how does the shape of the filter (cone or flat) affect the flavor of your coffee?

If we're talking about the flavor profile of your brewed coffee, the lower total dissolved solids found in coffee brewed in a straight filter tend to produce sweeter notes such as honey, fruit, grain, and floral.

Cone filters, on the other hand, typically produce higher levels of total dissolved solids and bring out the darker and earthier flavors found in coffee such as smoky woody flavors, umami notes, dried fruits, salty and cocoa.

Let's not forget that the shape of your filter plays a minor role in how your brewed coffee will taste.

If you're using a manual pour brew machine such as the Chemex or V60, you can adjust the grind size and pour technique to improve the final brew.

But one of the most important factors is the type of whole bean coffee you buy, how fresh those beans are, their origin and how they're roasted will all play an important role in the coffee brewed.

What about Coffee Filter Baskets?

Throughout this article, we have referred to the shape of the actual filter, but what about the filter basket?

The shape of the basket will determine the shape of the paper filter you will use in it.

A cone-shaped conical basket requires a cone-shaped paper filter, and the same goes for a square-shaped basket. All other variables and differences highlighted in this article apply to both the shape of the basket and the filter.


If you've come this far, you will know that there is no wrong or right type of coffee filter. It doesn't matter if you brew the coffee using a cone or flat filter. One does not make more delicious coffee than the other.

However, the studys and blind taste tests prove a difference.

If you like a more earthy style of coffee, choosing a conical shaped basket filter may be a good choice. Those who prefer the fruity-sweet flavors found in coffee will enjoy the flavor notes that a straight filter tends to produce.


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