How To Survive a Coffee Filter Crisis

A coffee filter crisis occurs when you realize too late that you’ve used and tossed your last coffee filter and your to-do list is too long to allow you to run down to the store to buy replacements so you can prepare your morning coffee first thing - or second thing, in this case. The timing of such a crisis is always at the most inconvenient time, but it’s often that a person is caught unaware because a spouse, roomie, or child has made an extra pot of coffee and used up the filters without announcing it. Don’t despair: Sailee Kale has provided a list of emergency coffee filters for just such a crisis. The suggestions range from muslin cloth to reusable filters of several types. Two types of household cloth stand in as a good substitute. Muslin cloth is fine if you happen to keep it around, but it should be new and clean, and hopefully washed with a natural unscented detergent. A very fine cheesecloth would do in a pinch, but it has to be very fine, and it’s probably less likely to have this cheesecloth hanging around your kitchen than an extra box of filters. The reusable filters are a better solution because you don’t have to worry about running out of anything in order to use them. Reusable cloth filters are a great choice. Though they can be hard to clean, they are made for the purpose of filtering coffee and therefore they interfere least with the coffee’s taste. Eventually they’ll wear out and need to be replaced, though. Metal coffee filters of stainless steel or gold mean you never have to buy paper filters again and won’t run out, so unless something very unusual happens to the filter, such as the dog eating it, it should prevent any future coffee filter crisis. In case your coffee filter crisis occurs before you can prepare ahead and purchase some of the above items, there is a one substitute of last resort. Paper toweling may work in a really desperate situation. Cut to size and placed in the coffee maker, it should work as long as the paper is porous enough. Unbleached and undecorated paper toweling is preferred, because otherwise there are chemicals on the paper which probably won’t be an asset to the coffee. Kale suggests if these solutions aren’t possible, a longer range solution would be to have on hand instant coffee, or a second kind of coffee maker that doesn’t require a paper filter. The French press - as well as the stovetop Moka pots - are two examples. Available in many styles and prices, these will allow total coffee filter freedom for years to come. So there you go - brew on – paperless!

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