Evidence suggests that, before the invention of the paper filter, people would use socks as the very first coffee filters. Soon after, cloth filters were became popular and, even after the invention of paper filters, remained so despite the higher cost. It wasn’t until a couple hundred years later that paper filters became ubiquitous for coffee brewing. However, even today, there is room for the cloth filter as an environmentally friendly way to brew a great cup of coffee.
The CoffeeSock is a handmade reusable cloth filter produced from organic cotton in Austin, Texas. In addition to filtering out the grounds, the cotton soaks up some of the coffee oils. While reusable, the Coffee Sock does need to be replaced after several months of coffee making. However, the company touts that it will cost you 25% less than the approximately 500 paper filters it replaces; generally, the CoffeeSock runs between $10 and $20 depending on variety and merchant. When it is time to discard a Coffee Sock, it is compostable.
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Generally, it works the same way as a regular paper filter. There are different kinds, so ensure you have the right one for the specific brewing type- auto-drip brewer, AeroPress, Chemex, mason jar (for cold brew) or Kalita Wave coffee dripper.
Before using it for the first time, boil it for around ten minutes then drain and rinse. There are specific instructions depending on the kind.
When you are ready to brew for the first time, insert the CoffeeSock wherever the filter would normally go for your brewing method and brew as normal.
After you are finished, dump the grounds, wash and rinse the filter, and then leave it to dry.
According to the instructions, you should regularly boil the CoffeeSock every two months or when there is a block caused by the accumulation of coffee oil, it is contaminated or is used with perishable food items.
The CoffeeSock is available as a kit with an included mason jar or standalone. Multiple varieties are available for different sized containers.
Below are several Hot Brew Coffee Sock options:
We tried out the cold brew CoffeeSock. We used the 64 oz variety and separately purchased a mason jar. Essentially, you add the grounds to the sock, attach the sock to the mason jar, and pour water over the grounds.
Afterwards, you tie the sock up and leave it in the mason jar and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours. After 12 to 16 hours, remove the mason jar from the refrigerator, take the sock out of the mason jar, dump the grounds out of the sock, and then wash and dry the sock.
The resulting Cold Brew was quite good- particularly rich and sweet versus cold brew made with a paper filter. Particularly since you can make a lot of cold brew at once with this variety (64 oz), we found the additional cleaning/drying associated to be relatively insignificant.
The CoffeeSock works well in place of a standard paper filter- but a bit more work is required on your part. You will need to manually rinse it, dry it, and occasionally need to boil it. Initially, I felt the CoffeeSock was something I would end up putting away on a shelf given the extra work, but I could see myself using this for awhile.
While I may be more hesitant to use it for hot or single serve brewing as the extra work would be less justified, making large batches of cold brew seems like a sweet spot for the CoffeeSock. Additionally, you can feel good knowing that it’s a more environmentally friendly process.
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