Filter Coffee – Brew Guide

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I’m going to keep this really short and simple.

Filter coffee done right is absolutely lush.

I’d go as far as saying that I prefer it to espresso-based drinks when you extract the flavour from an incredible bean in the right way. But like so many things there are a few basic rules to follow that make the difference between something wonderful and something awful. This guide is really for electric machines.


Arguably, grinders are the most important element in creating great tasting coffee. If your fancy beans aren’t ground correctly, your fancy machine won’t be able to make good coffee, so I would consider doing one of two things. Either buy your beans from a trusted roaster like Lindfield Coffee Works and have them grind your beans for you, or buy yourself an awesome little grinder to use at home like the Wilfa Svart The great thing with this grinder is it’s capable of grinding every possible grinding style with the exception of espresso, so it’s very versatile for all your brewing techniques. (More details about this in another post)


There are many, but the principles are the same for all. Water gets heated and then dumped onto the coffee grounds. The water then drips through the grounds and through a filter paper and is collected in a container. If you have an old machine knocking about, just fish it out, give it a clean and your good to go. If you want to buy one and your really keen then I’d recommend either the Moccamaster KBG Or the Wilfa Classic +

Filter papers:

I’d recommend using a size 4 paper. The white ones are best in my opinion. I always fold down the edges of my papers to allow a precise fit and I also rinse them out with warm water once they are in the basket. Makes a huge difference in the way the grounds settle and prevents leaks and poor extraction.


Always use the coldest water you can. Filtered water is preferable. Personally, I tend to never brew less than 1/2 litre at a time. I find this works best with my recipe and I can normally slurp that up on my own first thing in the morning, either all in one or over a 30 minute period. (Anything you brew is only good for around 45 minutes anyway)


You probably have a kitchen scale already. This will do nicely. It’s very important to be exact with the quantities of coffee and water so do ALWAYS WEIGH YOUR BEANS!

It’s not rocket science. Turn the scale on (if digital) Put a container on the scale and then tare it to zero. Then put the correct amount of beans in. Simple.


Huge variances are here as you’d expect. With filter I’d recommend using something truly different to anything you’d normally use in espresso-based drinks. Ethiopian tends to work really well as it’s very floral. Columbian and Costa Rica are some other favourites. Experiment! That’s the fun part.


  1. OK, so I’ve gone on about all the elements needed. Let’s explain how to do it. As I’ve said, I like to do 1/2 litre at a time so this recipe is for that amount of filter coffee. To make more or less coffee then just adjust your coffee and water amounts accordingly. Each coffee is different so that’s where the fun is really. Playing around with the coarseness of the grind and the quantities used, but to keep things simple I’d recommend using around 60 grams of beans for each litre of coffee made, so for half a litre we need to half that quantity. So 30 grams of beans.
  2. Grind them using the filter setting on your grinder or ask your local trusted shop to do it for you.
  3. Get a size 4 filter and fold down both edges. Open it up and place into the filter basket. Then gently run warm water around the filter coating it all to ensure it’s correctly in position. Empty out the surplus water. 
  4. Carefully tip your coffee grounds into the filter basket and place in your machine. 
  5. Then, I like to preheat my container. Often these are glass jugs so they strike cold. A quick rinse with really hot water just gets the chill off and means your hot coffee will keep it’s temperature. 
  6. Pour 1/2 litre of cold water into your machine and then turn it on. After a few seconds it will start to hiss and spit and finally the hot water starts to find it’s way to the basket. 
  7. Now I know these machines are called automatic coffee makers but this is the important part of the process. The part where the flavour is extracted! So don’t leave it to chance. Once there is some water mixing with your coffee grounds I like to agitate. I use a large metal spoon and I gently dig down to the bottom of the grounds and turn them over in the water. Just once or twice is good. Then wait for another 30 seconds and do it again. Then leave it to finish what it’s doing.

That’s about it! When it’s ready, give the coffee a long, deep sniff. The notes of each bean are so different and I always enjoy this part. It’s a great teaser as to what’s going to be in your cup!

Whether you like to drink your filter black or white, I’d always recommend tasting a small amount black just to truly give a clear picture of what you’ve brewed.

Then pour it into your favourite mug and enjoy.

I love sharing my pleasure with my wife by pouring her a cup too. She’s no expert when it comes to coffee but she’s fascinated by the differences from one cup to the next.

Enjoy! Any questions? Email me.

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