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Cone Vs Flat Filter Basket Shape: Which One Of This 2 Is The Best ?

Cone Vs Flat Filter Basket

Cone Vs Flat Filter Basket

Cone Vs Flat Filter Basket: It’s common knowledge that factors like the type of coffee beans, the size of the grind, and the brewing technique can significantly influence the taste of your coffee. But have you ever pondered the effect of something as fundamental as the shape of your coffee filter?

No strangers to this discussion, coffee aficionados have been debating this issue for quite some time, and we finally have some answers! So, what insights have we gleaned about the effect of filter basket shapes on coffee, and how can we apply these findings to improve our brewing experience? Read on to discover more.

Does the Shape of the Filter Matter, and What’s the Reason?

As a coffee enthusiast, you’re likely aware that drip coffee machines and other brewing methods like pour-over use two types of filter baskets: cone filters and flat-bottom basket filters.

But have you ever pondered the distinction between these two types? Intriguingly, coffee researchers have delved into this question, and their findings are quite enlightening.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) conducted a study on this topic. They discovered that even novice tasters could discern differences in coffees brewed with different filter baskets. As stated by Professor William Ristenpart, director of the UC Davis Coffee Center:

“The impact of the basket shape on our sensory evaluation was perhaps even more significant than the grind size.”

Interestingly, the only factor that tasters found to have a greater impact than basket shape was the roast level. This is not surprising.

So, why does the shape of the basket matter so much? It all boils down to water flow. The shape of the basket influences how water flows through the ground coffee, which in turn affects how the coffee is extracted.

Cone Vs Flat Filter Basket: What’s the Difference?

The difference in extraction between the two differently shaped baskets can be quantified using a measurement known as Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). Without getting too technical, TDS measures the degree of extraction. A higher TDS indicates a more fully extracted coffee. Essentially, it’s the amount of coffee in your coffee.

It has been discovered that, all other factors being equal (like pouring technique, water temperature, and grind size), flat bottom baskets produce coffee with lower TDS than cone filters.

How Does It Influence Your Brew?

This is the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Now that we’re armed with this knowledge, how can we use it to brew better coffee?

Different TDS values emphasize certain flavors in coffee, so you can select a filter basket based on the flavors you prefer.

Generally, the lower TDS from flat baskets enhances sweeter notes like fruits, honey, tea, and florals. The higher TDS from cone filter baskets is better for highlighting darker and earthier flavors like umami, smoke, cocoa, and dried fruit.

However, it’s important to remember that there are many ways to influence the flavor of your coffee aside from the shape of the basket. The type of coffee beans you purchase is by far the most significant factor. The varietal, origin, and roast level all play a crucial role. You can also experiment with grind size and pouring technique.

The Final Verdict

There’s no definitive answer as to whether one filter basket shape is superior to the other. Neither brews better coffee than the other. However, we now know for certain that there is a difference. If you’re a fan of smokey and earthy flavors, a conical basket might be your best bet. But if you lean towards sweet and fruity flavors, a flat basket might be the way to go.


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