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14 Best Coffee Filter Substitute To Stun The Handsome Barista

What are mornings without coffee? For many people, a cup of coffee completes their day because it helps them focus and stay alert. Coffee filters are a must-have for many coffee drinkers. Well, who wants coffee grounds to get into their coffee?

But what if something unexpected happens? What if you run out of coffee filters? Oh no! You don’t want to ruin your tasty beans. Here are some innovative alternatives you can consider

  1. Dish towels or a cloth napkin
  2. Napkins and paper towels
  3. French Press
  4. Sieves with a fine mesh
  5. Reusable tea bags
  6. Cheesecloth
  7. The coffee sock

Before proceeding to the list, I will share my thoughts on which coffee filter substitute is the best.

14 Best Substitute For Coffee Filter 

Coffee Filter Substitute

Alternative brewing of coffee in paper filter close up. Hand drip coffee

Coffee is a popular beverage that has been thoroughly researched for its numerous health advantages. These include boosting energy, supporting weight loss, improving athletic performance, and protecting against chronic disease.

People who consume one to four cups of filtered coffee a day have a lower risk of arterial disease. People who take at least five cups of filtered coffee per day have a decreased death rate. 

According to The Science Times (2020), filtered coffee aids in the reduction of cholesterol and the promotion of heart health.

Scientists say that the filter removes the fatty component of coffee, which causes cholesterol levels in the body to rise. They also claim that drinking filtered coffee is preferable to drinking no coffee.

In my opinion, a handkerchief is the best coffee filter alternative. The best part is that you almost certainly have a handkerchief hanging around somewhere. You also have the comfort of knowing that this substitute is durable and will do its job correctly. 

Using a handkerchief is environmentally friendly, which is a benefit. It also doesn’t require any special equipment, so don’t be concerned if you don’t have a dripping basket.

However, you should not forget that this handkerchief may be stained forever. If you’re interested in using a handkerchief as a substitute, you have to make sure it’s clean.

You can also expect a little mess. Puddles can form at the cup’s side even when securing it with a rubber band.

Dish towels or a cloth napkin


A cloth napkin or a dish towel can also be used as a coffee filter if it is clean. Don’t forget that coffee stains, so pick a towel or napkin that you don’t particularly care for.

It should go in the same compartment as your filter. Add the grounds and run the water through the machine as usual. Make sure to tidy up afterward!

The pros are that it is durable and affordable, catches even the finest grounds, and is environmentally beneficial. The cons are the possibility of staining, excessive absorbency, and the transfer of undesirable flavors.

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Napkins and paper towels

You can use a napkin or a paper towel as a coffee filter. These aren’t intended for use in a coffee machine. Still, they can mimic the same effect, making them a great coffee filter substitute.

Paper towels may contain harmful (and unappealing) chemicals. Next time you go to a store, you might wish to buy brown, unbleached paper towels instead of white ones.

The procedure is similar to your daily morning routine. Before adding the grounds, insert the napkin or paper towel where the coffee filter would typically be. If you don’t cover the whole compartment, coffee grounds can go into your coffee.

The pros are that the delicate weave effectively filters out the grounds, and it is inexpensive and straightforward to use. The cons are that it is weak and may break, and cause taste-altering chemicals.

French press


A French press is a primary, manual brewing method developed in France in the 18th century. Plunger pot and press pot are two names for this world-famous brewing process. Coffee machine piston and French press

immersion brewing is done with a French press. 

You don’t have to use any paper filter because the coffee grounds are directly soaked in hot water.

To begin, use coarsely ground coffee beans. Calculate the ratio of coffee grounds to water. Add two teaspoons (14 grams) of coffee to one cup (8 oz) of water.

Check the water temperature after preheating the French press. Combine coffee grounds and water in the French press. Brewing time should be no more than four minutes. 

Serve and enjoy the drink!

Sieves with a fine mesh

In your kitchen, you most likely have a mesh sieve if you cook or bake frequently. This can be used as a filter as well. It’s straightforward to use and creates a delicious cup of beverage.

Prepare the required coffee quantity and pour it into a cup. Fill a measuring cup halfway with boiling water and pour it over the grounds. This should be thoroughly blended before steeping for five minutes. After that, strain the coffee through a fine-mesh sieve into a cup.

What’s the result? A cup of coffee with a lot of flavors!

The pros are that it tastes great, is simple to use, and is environmentally beneficial. The cons are that it is less frequent, may not catch delicate grounds, and is more difficult to clean.

Reusable tea bags


If you make your tea at home, you may have reusable tea bags on hand, or you may be able to make your own! This is the most inventive solution on this list, but it’s effective.

Fill the teabag halfway with coffee grounds. It’s better to use a couple of tablespoons or less. After that, get a cup of hot water and dip the tea bag in it.

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You only need to steep this for four to five minutes, or longer if you prefer it more substantial.

You can make a teabag out of string and paper if you don’t have one. Place the coffee grounds carefully into a folded scrap of paper. Then secure the form with a tie.

The pros of steeping are the intense flavor, ease of usage, and no grounds in your cup. The cons are that it is less prevalent and may be more expensive.


Cheesecloth is a type of cloth used to strain and filter liquids while cooking. Using cheesecloth to strain your coffee will also be quite helpful. Fold the fabric many times and cut it to fit in your filter basket.

Depending on availability, a muslin cloth or a cloth napkin may also be helpful. Simply follow the same steps as using cheesecloth. It works like a charm!

The coffee sock


This isn’t quite as horrible as it sounds. Using a clean sock is a simple procedure that, believe me, will not disappoint.

Simply place your coffee beans in a sock, stocking, or reusable coffee sock and steep them in boiling water. Merely remove the sock and enjoy your coffee when you believe it is already done to your liking. You may also use it as a pour-over coffee, although coarse ground coffee is recommended for this approach.

In this situation, a washable cotton tea bag can also be used instead of a sock. Although the cotton tea bag is difficult to clean, it works well as a coffee filter alternative.

Make a cowboy coffee

Cowboy coffee is traditionally made by heating coarse ground coffee with water over an open fire. It’s like making coffee without a filter in a French press. Leaving aside the usual brewing process, this is something worth experimenting with.

Boil the water in a saucepan first, then take it off the heat and set it aside 30 seconds. A cup of water should have one tablespoon of ground coffee. Allow it to sit for four minutes, stirring twice during that time. 

Check to see if the coffee grounds have settled to the bottom of the container. Pour coffee into a cup with care. Then sit back and enjoy sipping your coffee.

Moka pot 

Is Moka pot unfamiliar to you? It’s actually a stovetop coffee maker. It was designed by an Italian in the nineteenth century.

Water is contained in the bottom section of the Moka pot. When the water is heated, the steam pushes it up to the upper section of the basket. This upper section is loaded with ground coffee.

To begin, choose an espresso ground for coffee. Fill the Moka pot halfway with hot water. Fill the basket halfway with coffee grounds and set it aside. 

In the bottom compartment, place the basket. The upper and lower halves must both be screwed together. Place the container on the Moka pot’s stovetop. 

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Place the container over medium heat on the stove. In the upper chamber, coffee is collected.

If you notice bubbles or hissing sounds, remove the container from the burner to avoid a metallic flavor. Fill a cup halfway and dilute to taste.


We use handkerchiefs for many purposes, but have you tried using one as a substitute for a coffee filter? If you have a handkerchief lying around the house, you can certainly use it to make your favorite coffee.

You just have to cut out a square roughly the proper size to make a pouch for the beans.

Permanent metal filter


Metal filters are a terrific alternative if you don’t want to worry about running out of coffee filters. Permanent metal filters are available for both the AeroPress and pour-over brewing processes. You may readily find either a goldtone filter or a permanent metal filter in a coffee machine.

The sole disadvantage of permanent metal filters is that they cannot keep fine grounds. So, you will not receive a cleaner cup of coffee than if you used a paper filter.

An old t-shirt

While we’re on clothing, an old t-shirt can also be used to filter your coffee. Just make sure that the t-shirt is clean and that you won’t be wearing it after using it to filter your coffee.

Make an instant coffee


Some people can never be satisfied with instant coffee. They really prefer freshly brewed ones. But having some is a brilliant idea when you’re craving for coffee but don’t have coffee filters or, worse, coffee beans!

No filter at all

Is there another option? Some individuals make their coffee without using a coffee filter. There are a few options mentioned above such as the French press or percolator, with a metal filter built-in.

Assume you don’t have a coffee machine with no filters. In that situation, no matter where you are, Cowboy coffee (or its Norwegian counterpart, Kokekaffe) is simple to make. You need a heat source, a saucepan, water, and coarse coffee grounds.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the coffee grounds and steep for a few minutes. Remove the coffee from the pot and leave it aside to let the grounds settle in the bottom. You might get only a few grounds in your cup if you pour slowly and carefully!

The benefits include eliminating replacements and the ability to choose from a variety of brewing processes. The disadvantage is that you can have coffee grounds in your cup.


Healthline. (2018). 9 Unique Benefits of Coffee. Retrieved from

Harvard Medical School. (2020). What’s the healthiest way to brew coffee?. Retrieved from

The Science Times. (2020). Drinking Filtered Coffee is Safer Than Total Abstinence As it Reduces Risk of Death From Any Cause: Study. Retrieved from