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American Coffee Trader Cloth Filters

May 23, 2012

There are passionate folks who believe in re-capturing old-school production methods. Often, these folks work in clothing. Raw denim sewn on ancient looms, articles stained with obscure dyes, hefty cotton enlisted in the service of the perfect T-shirt. American Coffee Trader consciously aligns himself with these artisanal values. He makes reusable cotton filters from organic American cotton, and the filters are hand-sewn right here. The cotton itself is clean and thick; other filters, even those by Hario, sometimes have a funny fibrous odor. These filters are so nice that, if they fit, I'd wear them as T-shirts, coffee stains and all.

I've used both his cloth v60 and his #2 flat-bottom, which works in both a small and large Beehouse dripper. I only used the v60 cloth a few times, and it's meant to come into its own after it has been fully seasoned. After about 10 uses, the flow-rate should mimic paper's. A lot of people like the slow flow-rate of paper, which allows for good immersion while using a coarser grind. I didn't fully season my v60, only using it a handful of times. I find the v60 tricky, and I don't believe the good cups are worth all the failed cups, or that the good cups are any better than cups brewed using less finicky drippers. Enter the Beehouse.

Sidenote: these filters make for amazing cheesecloths. My v60 and cloth helped me make an amazing veal stock, perfectly clean with a clearly structured acidity. Just kidding, no I'm not.

Beehouse. I brewed back-to-back cups with the cloth filter this morning, and both were stunning. The first used a clean Sumatra, and it was so juicy and foresty fresh. A later cup using a paper filter was more earthy, too earthy I think. I also used the cloth filter for a natural Ethiopian, and the dry berry quality was truly stunning. It was like drinking a fantastic wild blackberry juice, with a touch of coffee flavor.

The filters are around $7-$8 each. Considering the number and quality of brews that they produce, this seems like a fair trade. 

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