Sad changes in multiple brands of filters recently

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martin
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Sad changes in multiple brands of filters recently

Postby martin » Sat Oct 08, 2016 5:44 pm

"Recently" is not very tightly defined, as we shall see.

So I've been brewing with a CCD, using mostly Filtropa (white) filters for the regular daily "cup" with 320 - 340 grams of water. The draining takes around a minute to get to un-swamped (1) grounds, and while there's some variation with the bean and roast, it's rarely much quicker and 90 seconds has seldom, if ever, been exceeded. I've also used the Bonmac filter (original hemp and current bamboo versions) when brewing a large batch, as the increased grounds seem to overload the Filtropa filters, causing a slowdown superficially similar to what I am discussing here - there's an important difference.

So I've been doing this happily for about six years, spanning two roasters, two grinders, and many hundreds of roast batches (of over 100 different green lots), and all was well until one morning when I opened a new box of Filtropas and... the drain stalled. 90 seconds, still swampy, more like a pond, really. I eventually gave up somewhere past two minutes - had to get going to work on the far side my bagel & coffee.

After verifying that several others from that box behaved as badly, I rummaged about and found a few "emergency" Melitta whites tucked away. And with them, all was well again. Not quite as quick as the Filtropas, but that's always been my experience. So I bought another box of Melittas, and was stupid - I didn't open them until that small stash of older ones was used up.

The new Melittas were just as bad as the new Filtropas. At this point I growled, and started using Bonmacs for every brew. I'd never timed the Bonmacs, or have long since forgotten if I did - they drain that standard morning cup in not much over thirty seconds, maybe forty max (different beans, different roasts). Okay, this seems like overkill, and the Bonmac filters are still rather more expensive, but I breathed a sigh of relief and mornings became less stressful.

A few days ago I finally came across a box of Melitta's bamboo filters at Mariano's, having found they didn't seem to be stocked at Jewels or Ultra. And they drain the same as ever - a hair better than the old Melitta whites, not so much better to justify the extra cost. So the Bonmacs are back to being reserved for the more challenging larger brews, and I guess I'll be using the Melittas during the week. At least until something changes again. ;-(

And oh yeah - I thought this would come up naturally, but no. I have a simple test that makes these differences stunningly obvious, and wastes no coffee. I just put the filter under test in the CCD, fill it with hot water, and drain. Both the drain time and the naked eyeball can easily see the difference between the new Filtropa or Melitta and the Bonmac or Melitta bamboo. As the water gets down the last inch or so, it visibly slows down in the new F-or-M, while either of the bamboo filters... well, they're the reference against which the slow down is visible, I guess.

And that's where things stand in early October. I had had some correspondence with SM back before I got hold of the Melitta bamboo filters, and they queried Filtropa, who said they didn't notice any change in their production. And I guess it might not be noticeable in one of the larger-batch electric drip machines that takes a #4 cone, but for me and my CCD the current lot are useless.

(1) In this discussion I'm going to talk about the time to "un-swamped" - when the top of the grounds in the bottom no longer has water standing above it. In normal brewing I usually let it drip a bit longer, but that's more subjective. I mention this mostly because I probably have and will refer to that more complete but less consistent measure of drain time in other discussions.
Sweet Maria's, Behmor, Encore, Bonmac, CCD, Pavina - fun AND good coffee

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Re: Sad changes in multiple brands of filters recently

Postby coffeefreak » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:49 pm

I made the identical observation of Chemex filters a year or two ago. See my post, "Are Chemex filters thinner than before?" on 1/3/16. When I contacted Chemex they swore they had not changed the manufacture of their filters. After finally getting tired of the Chemex brewer's slow draining, I bought a Clever Dripper along with Filtropa filters, and my observation agrees with yours. I have not timed how long it takes to drain, but it is too long. Is there any company that makes a better, ie faster draining, filter?

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martin
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Re: Sad changes in multiple brands of filters recently

Postby martin » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:33 pm

Reviewing my earlier post, I may have made some things less than clear by trying to be concise - probably a lost cause for me. The Bonmac bamboo filters, currently carried by SM, are as good as ever, and they were always the best IME. Also, alas, the most expensive. Melitta's Bamboo filters haven't been affected by the problem I have with their ordinary paper filters or Filtropas.

So current practice for a "single" cup (actually 10-12 oz) is 20g + ~320g water with the Melitta bamboo filters. When brewing larger batches (30 or 40g and about 400g water in the CCD, balance of water into carafe), the Bonmacs are a necessity.
Sweet Maria's, Behmor, Encore, Bonmac, CCD, Pavina - fun AND good coffee


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