Paper Towels as Coffee Filters

With just a little trimming, paper towels seem perfect as coffee filters

With just a little trimming, paper towels are perfect as coffee filters

By necessity, I learned that papers towels as coffee filters work wonderfully. I say “necessity,” because I’m really not functional in the mornings until I’ve had that first cup of coffee. So, yes, I was having some zombie-like angst the other morning when I realized that I had used my last paper coffee filter.  So…

First thing to do: cross over two small paper towel sheets

First thing to do: cross over two small paper towel sheets

…out of desperation, I tore two small sheets from the roll of my Bounty paper towels, laid them flat, and crossed them.

Gently tuck two small sheets in the permanent coffee filter

Gently tuck two small sheets in the permanent filter

Then I gently tucked them into the coffee maker’s plastic filter. (Those are white water marks on my very old plastic filter, by the way.)

Trim the paper towels pretty close to the top edge of the permanent filter when using paper towels instead of regular coffee filters

Trim the paper towels pretty close to the top edge of the permanent filter

Then I trimmed the paper towels close to the top edge of the plastic filter. Don’t worry…the cut line doesn’t have to be exact and it’s fine if even a half-inch extends from the top.

Paper towels trimmed and ready. Try paper towels as a makeshift coffee filter...good coffee and they hold up when removing the wet grounds!

Paper towels trimmed and ready

Now the paper towels were ready to go as a coffee filter….

Ready to insert in coffee maker

Ready to insert in coffee maker

…so I added the coffee grounds and crossed my fingers. I really had no idea if this would work or not!

Try paper towels instead of paper coffee filters

Try paper towels instead of paper coffee filters

I inserted the filter into my Mr. Coffee coffeemaker and anxiously watched.

Paper towels as rad coffee filters

Paper towels as rad coffee filters

I was relieved that the paper towels allowed water to come through fast enough not to overflow, and the paper towels didn’t dissolve or collapse.

Paper towels make a marvelous coffee filter

So far, so good…

I was shocked by how well paper towels worked as a coffee filter

I was shocked by how well paper towels worked as a coffee filter

When finished, the paper towels seemed to have absorbed a little more water than a regular paper coffee filter, but the difference was insignificant.

Wet Bounty towels containing wet grounds are sturdy

Wet Bounty towels containing wet grounds are sturdy

One noticeable difference was how much sturdier the paper towels were when removing them with the wet coffee grounds. My paper coffee filters are flimsy and often tear when I remove them with the coffee grounds from the plastic filter. But the paper towels never showed any sign of tearing, and made a neat little packet for clean and easily disposal.

The brand I used, Bounty, hold up beautifully when used as a coffee filter

The brand I used, Bounty, hold up beautifully when used as a coffee filter

I used Bounty brand paper towels, and I was stunned by how well these paper towels worked as coffee filters. And a bonus? I think my coffee actually tasted better made with the makeshift paper towel filter. One reason might be because the paper towels seemed to absorb more of the coffee oils and so made for a better-tasting coffee. Only after my experiment was complete and I had sipped some of my wonderful coffee did I look online to find that other people successfully have done what I’ve shown here. I also found that a few people have concerns about the safety of using paper towels as coffee filters.

No warning about using paper towels as coffee filters on the Bounty package

No warning about using paper towels as coffee filters on the Bounty package

The concern seems to be that because the paper towels are bleached or chemically treated to be white, they might not be safe. The Bounty paper towel packaging doesn’t warn against using paper towels as coffee filters. Here’s what I found on Bounty’s website, in its frequently asked questions section:

Q: Can I use a Bounty paper towel as a coffee filter?

A: We haven’t designed or tested Bounty for use as a coffee filter. The thickness and absorbency of Bounty are very different from that of coffee-filter paper.”

Obviously, white paper coffee filters designed for coffee makers are bleached too, maybe with the very same process used to bleach paper towels. Maybe there are some bleaching agents leeching out into my coffee, but I’m guessing they’re minuscule, and until I see convincing evidence that paper towels as coffee filters are a health danger, I’m not worried.

With just a little trimming, paper towels seem perfect as coffee filters

Like I said, I was impressed by how my coffee tasted even better than coffee made with paper filters designed for coffee makers.  It’s true…Bounty paper towels make a perfect coffee filter!

–G

This week I am linking up with Link Love @Running with Spoons Weekend Potlucks @The Country Cook Friday Favorites @ Life in Leggings What’s Cookin’ Wednesday @Buns in my Oven MMM @Healthy Diva Life Totally Terrific Tuesday @ Live Randomly Simple The Wednesday Round Up @ Love, Pasta and a Toolbelt Create & Share DIY and Recipe Party @ Designs by Miss Mandee

 

Comments

  1. Laura says

    We, too, have experienced the day when we had to use paper towels and had the same results. Don’t think I’d make a habit of it, but worked!

    We recently bought a coffee maker that doesn’t require the filters – made by Living Solutions – and had an excess of filters left over. We found that they are wonderful for cleaning windows and other surfaces and also used them to separate our plates and other dishes for packing purposes – just fyi 🙂

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