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Home » 4 Amazing Coffee Filter Substitutes

4 Amazing Coffee Filter Substitutes

Picture this… You’re craving a good cup of coffee. You go to your coffee-making station and your heart leaps as you realize you still have some of your favorite coffee beans. This is going to be delicious!

You get out your pour over equipment and stop short. Aghast, you realize that you’re out of filters. What. The. Heck.

Everything else is here! You’re just missing the flipping filter! Don’t throw your equipment around in a rage just yet (seriously, don’t. That stuff is expensive!). Instead, check out some of these great coffee filter substitutes!

#1 Go West, Young Man… and Make Some Cowboy Coffee!

Ah, what’s more iconic than a cowboy?  They don’t just come with a great vibe, they also come with a top-notch coffee style all their own!

The best part? You can make cowboy coffee without a filter. That’s right. Forget trying to jerry-rig something. Just cut the filter part out completely! Let those grounds settle, and enjoy some strong, delicious coffee.

If you’re not a fan of loose grounds in your coffee, though, (and we don’t blame you), then let’s move on to some other alternatives, shall we?

#2 Get A Filter That Keeps On Giving

If you find those cowboy coffee grounds unbearable, yet you’re still rolling your eyes every time you need to buy more consumable filters, pick up a reusable metal coffee filter. Here’s a list of the best coffee filters we recommend.

Don’t expect a perfect replacement for those paper filters, though, as these often allow a bit more of the coffee oils and micro-fines into the cup, which can affect the flavor.

Nevertheless, this is a very affordable option that will keep that coffee flowing from your Chemex. If the potential for a taste change doesn’t float your boat, though, you’re not out of options yet. You can still try… a sock!

#3 The Coffee Sock

Got cold feet? Get a coffee sock (1)! Okay, it’s not really for your feet – and that’s a good thing if you don’t want your coffee tasting like corn chips (2)!

For real, though, this is a spectacular option that will never leave you without a filter again.Just add your coffee grounds to this sock-shaped filter, position it over your cup, pour the water, and before you know it, you’ve got some delicious coffee!

If you’re getting one, here’s a tip.

Before the first use, boil them for 10 minutes. After every use, rinse them thoroughly to remove any oils.

Once purchased, you won’t need to drop another dime on a coffee filter, either. What’s more? It’s eco-friendly! Let’s recap: Saves money. Saves the planet. Gets you coffee. Win. Win. WIN.

#4 Make Your Own Filter

Finally, if you like the sock option but don’t want to buy one yourself, here’s an awesome DIY option (3) that allows you to get back on that coffee-brewing horse in five minutes. You heard us right: Five. Minutes.

All you’ll need is a little bit of muslin (enough to cut a cone-shaped filter out of), scissors, and either a sewing machine or a needle and thread. The whole thing is quick and easy to make, and you’ll be saving yourself some green and helping the planet out in the process!

Don’t Let Your Coffee Equipment Strain Your Nerves

The next time you find yourself staring down an empty box of paper filters, remember this list of coffee filter substitutes.

From purchasing reusable metal and fabric filters to DIY fixes, or even just brewing your coffee like a cowboy, this list has options that are environmentally conscious, can help you save money, and can help satisfy that coffee craving any time of the day or night.

Which is your favorite idea? Let us know below!


Yes, you can use an old sock as a coffee filter but we don’t really recommend it. Why? Well, it’s not really hygienic. If you really have to, just make sure it is a clean one. You don’t want your coffee to smell and taste like crap. To use an old sock, just put your coffee grounds in it and slowly pouring hot water through it.

Yes, permanent filters are better than paper in some ways. For example, they are reusable so having one can save you money. They’re also more environment-friendly since you won’t be throwing away too much trash, although you will need to clean them after each use. 
Using paper filters, on the other hand, is better for your health as they filter oils that can potentially increase your blood cholesterol levels. Coffee filtered with paper filters also taste better than the ones filtered with permanent filters.

You can actually use a muslin cloth to make your DIY coffee filter. Just shape the cloth into a cone and sew the ends together. This DIY filter only takes around 5 minutes max to make!

  1. Solano, F. (2018, February 28). Coffee Sock: Old-School Filters that Save the Planet. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2016/01/coffee-sock-old-school-filters-that-save-the-planet/
  2. Why do my feet smell like corn chips? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/questions/why-do-my-feet-smell-corn-chips
  3. Chevron and Stitches. (1970, January 01). DIY Reusable Coffee Filter. Retrieved from https://chevronstitches.blogspot.com/2013/01/diy-reusable-coffee-filt.html
Jovana D
I come from a country where people drink domestic coffee (what the rest of the world knows as Turkish coffee) and where Nescafe designates all instant coffees ever made. So, imagine my first encounter with, say, Hario V60...Yes, it was love at first sight.  Today I’m a moderate coffee connoisseur and a huge coffee lover. My favorite brewing methods are the V60 and traditional espresso-making. Yet, despite my country’s long tradition of Turkish-coffee-adoring, I somehow cannot stand it. That’s just too dark, even for me.