Running out of Chemex filters can be an unpleasant experience, especially if it’s the weekend and you can’t quickly get your hands on a new batch. Many people love the specific taste that their filters give to each cup of coffee, and it can be uncomfortable to replace them with anything else, even temporarily. But in some cases, there’s simply nothing you can do about it. Especially recently, when some regions have been hit by a Chemex filter shortage, you have to be careful about planning your shopping, and ensure that you’re well-stocked up on everything important in your kitchen.
What Makes Chemex Filters so Good in the First Place?
Some people think that Chemex filters are simply a pricier version of regular coffee filters, but that’s quite far from the truth. In reality, the company’s filters are specifically designed to get a richer, thicker flavor, and get more of the coffee into the cup. This is achieved through a thicker paper with a more complex internal structure compared to ordinary coffee filters. For this reason, many people find themselves unwilling to switch back to regular filters once they’ve tried Chemex just once. We certainly understand if you’re in that camp – but you should always remember that there are viable alternatives out there.
Can You Reuse Chemex Filters?
One of the first thoughts that might pop into your mind is to reuse your Chemex filters multiple times. Some people have even started recommending that amidst the Chemex filter shortage. But that’s not a good option at all. In fact, the filters are not designed for this kind of use in the first place, and your second use will lead to a ruined cup of coffee. It might seem like everything is fine at a glance, but the filter changes significantly after being used for the first time and won’t work the same way afterward.
You might be able to get some results if you haven’t taken the filter out of the machine yet but replacing the grounds will be very difficult in this case. You’ll also have to deal with the stale taste of older coffee if you go down that road, so keep that in mind. Most lovers of Chemex filters will readily tell you that you should never attempt to reuse them, and they would be right. You can give it a try if you’re curious but just be warned that you will probably not appreciate the final result.
Try Online Stores
If you’re used to retail shopping, you might automatically discard the option of checking around online stores. That’s a big mistake though, as you can often find Chemex filters in various online shops even when your local retailers are out of stock. You might have to wait a day or two extra for the delivery, but it’s better than going without coffee completely, right? Plus, some online stores might be able to give you a much better deal on your filters, especially if you buy in bulk.
Just pay attention to delivery rates and other similar factors because sometimes you might end up paying quite a lot more for your filters than you normally do if you’re not careful. As long as you shop from a reputable store with an established track record though, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re shopping from a place for the first time, give them a try with a test purchase first, and see how that goes.
Another thing worth keeping in mind is to try a store outside of your immediate region. If there’s currently a regional shortage, you might have better luck with a store that’s not affected by it. However, it can be difficult to know which stores are hit by this kind of situation, and it requires you to pay attention to many different stores over time. If you’re an avid online shopper though, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue, especially if you’re specifically used to buying food and other similar goods on the internet.
Substitutes That Can Work
Can’t find any Chemex filters at all? In a pinch, some substitutes can still work – although be warned, you will not get an equivalent level of quality out of your brew compared to what you’re used to. If you can’t go without coffee at all and need your cup to get started in the morning, going with one of those options is still better than nothing.
Regular coffee filters are the most obvious solution here. While they don’t work as well as Chemex, due to their different design and structure, they can still be a useful option for brewing a regular cup of coffee. If your filters are thin enough, you can try stacking two of them to get an effect closer to the original Chemex filters. It won’t be the same, but it will still make a difference. This will work better if your filters are made of paper that absorbs better.
And in an absolute pinch, you can even go with paper towels. Yes, we know, it sounds dreadful, and to an extent, it is. But sometimes you just need to have your cup of coffee and nothing else will do. Your results here will vary greatly depending on the type and quality of your paper towels. Your brew can also end in total disaster if the paper is too fragile. It’s worth giving it a try if you’re desperate but be prepared for disappointment.
Try a Different Brewing Method
If nothing else works, you can also try a different brewing method altogether. If you’re used to drinking coffee made through Chemex filters, that’s probably far from an ideal option for you. But it can still work – plus, it’s never a bad idea to vary things a little when it comes to coffee and other similar habits. If Chemex coffee is all you’ve been drinking in general, you might benefit from a refreshing change by switching things up a bit.
A French press, for example, is cheap and easy to use, and it can sit tucked away in your cupboard when you don’t need it. It doesn’t take a lot of space and is easy to clean, making it ideal for those urgent situations when you want to do something different but don’t know what. Some people fall in love with the taste of French press coffee the first time they try it, while others swear that they can’t stand it. You can never know which camp you’re in until you’ve given it a chance yourself.
Are Metal Coffee Filters Worth It?
Metal coffee filters are often recommended as a viable substitute to Chemex filters. They’re not the same thing though, and the taste they produce is actually noticeably different, especially for some blends. That said, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Some people enjoy the taste of coffee made with metal filters much more than even regular Chemex-filtered coffee, and it’s not a bad idea to give it a try if you never have. A good thing about metal coffee filters is that they’re reusable, so there’s no risk of running into the same situation as with Chemex. But washing them can get annoying after a while, and as we said, the taste might not be ideal for you.
There are also different brands to choose from here, so it might take you a while until you find the ideal product for your specific taste and preferences. Make sure to explore the market in as much detail as you can if you’ve decided to go with metal filters, as this is a bigger commitment than other types of filters, given their reusable nature.
Buy in Bulk Ahead of Time
A good way to avoid this kind of situation in the first place is to simply organize your shopping better. Look for bulk deals whenever possible, and don’t be afraid to spend a bit more on your filters. They can last for a long time, especially if you keep them tucked away in your cupboards, so it can’t hurt to stock up a bit. Online stores can often give you great discounts when buying larger volumes, so look around some of the popular ones and see what you can get.
If you’ve run out of Chemex filters, don’t despair – it might feel uncomfortable for a while, but there are plenty of workarounds to this kind of situation. And remember that a little advance planning can often save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Know which online stores carry Chemex filters, buy in bulk whenever possible, and don’t be afraid to try out something new whenever it’s an option. A great thing about coffee is that it’s such a diverse and interesting hobby, with many different options enjoyed by different people. Just because others don’t enjoy brewing their morning cup of coffee a certain way doesn’t mean that you should share that opinion.