You just woke up. Still groggy, you make your way to the kitchen, and to your utter dismay, you realize you have used up all your coffee filters. You rack your brains, thinking of some alternatives on how to prepare coffee in such a case. Driving down to the nearest gas station or Starbucks is not always an easy way out; you may have to pack your children off to school, or get ready to go to work. And to do all that, you need to be wide awake, for which you require coffee! So now what do you do? Well, don't panic. Here are some alternatives for a coffee filter, which will keep the morning from turning into a disaster.
Substitutes for a Coffee Filter
A plain woven muslin cloth (or any unbleached cotton fabric) will work well as a coffee filter. Make sure the pores in your cloth are finer than the ground coffee you use. Use a new, clean, tightly woven cloth, which has been washed at least once. Washing cotton increases its absorbing power. If you are someone who prepares butter at home (not many people do) you can use butter muslin cloth as well. If you intend to reuse the cloth as a coffee filter, avoid using harsh, scented detergents to clean it as they can tamper with the flavor of your coffee the next time you use them.
Cheesecloth, generally made from loosely woven cotton gauze, can make for a good coffee filter substitute. The grades of cheesecloths can vary, from being coarse and rough to fine and smooth. A finely graded cheesecloth will work better, since it does not permit the coffee grounds to seep through. If you regularly make cheese and wine at home, you are bound to have a cheesecloth.
Metal Coffee Filter
A stainless steel filter is now available at most stores. Easily washable, and definitely more user-friendly than a cloth or paper towel, this wire mesh filter is an excellent alternative to a paper coffee filter. They fit perfectly inside the coffee maker. You buy one, and you may never have to worry about running out of paper filters ever again.
Reusable Cloth Filters
A wide variety of reusable cloth coffee filters are available in the market. Though they are washable, small particles of coffee can actually get stuck in them, which makes them difficult to clean. But they can definitely be used instead of the regular coffee filter. The advantage is they allow the essence of the coffee to seep through, and you get a strong flavored coffee.
Gold Coffee Filters
These filters are actually made of gold, as the name implies. While most use 23 karat gold, there are some that are made of steel, than gold-plated. Easy to clean, even in a dishwasher, and everlasting, the only disadvantage is they are expensive. But once you buy them, you won't have to ever bother buying any other kind of coffee filters again.
These can make for a great substitute if you have run out of coffee filters. Being porous, they have the ability to absorb fluids. Cut them of the same size as your regular coffee filter so that they fit inside the coffee maker. Then brew your coffee just like you always do. Probably not the most ideal way to filter coffee, but then, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Some other options are to keep a pack of instant coffee handy. Even if you run out of coffee filters, you do not have to go without your morning cup of Joe. You can buy a French press, which will save you the hassle of using paper coffee filters ever again. Turkish coffee is another option. The pulverized coffee beans ensure that the prepared coffee does not contain any suspended particles, making it easier for you to enjoy your drink. But do not gulp down the thick sludge at the bottom of your cup!
Well, so here are some substitute methods you can try out if you are left with no coffee filters. Even though all the above options are viable, the chances of you having muslin and cheesecloth, or the other types of metal and cloth filters at home are rare. The coffee may not taste as good as it does with regular coffee filters, but hey, something is better than nothing.