January 18, 2016

Coffee Sock: Old-School Filters That Save the Planet


Coffee isn’t as green as we like to believe. Every time we use a paper filter, we damage our planet some more. Scary, right? And that’s without considering the emissions caused by the production of all those filters.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The paper filter is a convenient tool of the modern age, but in the past, cloth filters were used – and even today, you’ll find them in Costa Rica. By using a cloth filter, we can decrease the amount of trash and deforestation that occurs as a side-effect of our delicious brews.

But don’t go digging around in your sock drawer because there’s already a product on the market: the Coffee Sock. And we’ve even gone and tested it with a variety of brew methods, so that you don’t have to take a single risk.

Spanish Version: Guía de Filtros de Tela: Amigables con el Planeta

Original Costa Rican cloth filter

The original Costa Rican cloth filter

The Coffee Sock: What, Why, & How

The Coffee Sock, courtesy of the aptly named Coffee Sock Co., is an organic filter designed to fit various brewing devices.

How did they come up with this idea? Well, they ran out of filters and, as self-proclaimed obsessive coffee-drinkers, remembered Costa Rica’s typical coffee sock. An invention was born.

The Coffee Sock is made of untreated, organic cotton. Since cotton is 90% cellulose, a tasteless and odorless compound that is also insoluble in water, it won’t impact on the flavor on the coffee.

Actual travel coffee sock

Coffee Socks: Also perfect for traveling!

How to Use the Coffee Sock: A Guide

The instructions, in theory, are easy to follow. They also turned out to be pretty easy in practice so, rest assured, this won’t complicate your routine too much.

Before the first use, boil them for 10 minutes. After every use, rinse them thoroughly to remove any oils. Not too bad, right? They will also need periodic boiling, but can last up to a year before they being replaced.

The Coffee Sock in Action: Chemex, V60, AeroPress, Cold Brew

As a coffee geek, I simply had to try the filters on different brewing methods. It’s worth mentioning that you do need a different sock for every type of brewing method; I selected the Chemex, V60, and AeroPress filters, as well as a DIY Cold Brew kit.

Coffee sock all filters

Coffee Socks come in all forms and sizes.

Chemex and V60: These two brewing methods had similarly positive results. I was originally a little worried that I might end up with under-extracted coffee since I noticed the water flowing faster than I would expect with a paper filter. Yet I couldn’t be more wrong: the end result was a clean, full-bodied cup with just the right acidity, according to the coffee’s origin.

SEE MORE: Zero Waste Coffee: 5 Creative Uses for Coffee By-products

Coffee sock all filters

Cloth filter for the Chemex.

AeroPress: This was a little more difficult, and the inverted method was a complete fail for me: by the time I wanted to put the cap on, I couldn’t close it because the filter was too thick. However, I next tried brewing it the normal way and, while I had to exert a lot of effort when putting the cap on, it was a success. Again, I got a super clear crisp cup with, when compared to the paper filter, an increased sweetness.

DIY Cold Brew Kit: Despite being a cold brew virgin, I found the kit easy to use. In particular, the clear instructions on the different preparation times were appreciated. To summarise their instructions, just add coffee to the sock, close it, add cold water, and wait. Simple, right?

Cold brew cloth filter

As if your life depended on cold brew!

The Verdict

While some AeroPress users may find it requires a little too much effort, the Coffee Sock delivers an improved coffee and helps save the planet. For those of us too lazy for agar clarification, it’s a great option.

Edited by T. Newton.

Perfect Daily Grind.

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