How to Make a Coffee Filter (The 5 Easy and Fast Methods)

Last Updated on February 3, 2022 by John Moretti

Morning shows the day, and a perfect cup of coffee is the key to kick-start your morning! If you are one of many coffee enthusiasts who brew their own morning cup, running out of a coffee filter is the last thing you would want. Of course, you don’t want to run to the nearby store in the morning. 

A paper towel or a cloth napkin works excellent as a coffee filter. Reusable tea bags can be used to make great coffee filters together with another, a less common alternative, a fine-mesh sieve, where you have greater control over how strong you want your coffee to be.

There’s always a solution to every problem with DIY. You can make your own coffee filter at home in no time. 

How To Make A Coffee Filter?

The 5 Ways to Make a Coffee Filter Yourself

Making a coffee filter is not rocket science! You can make one out of basic supplies lying around in your home with a little bit of creativity. Why bother running to the store when you can DIY without having to spend much!? Take a look at my list, and you might find some great and useful ideas and alternatives for coffee filters.

1. Use A Paper Towel or Napkin

Napkin As filter

The simplest yet most effective way to make a coffee filter is by using a paper towel. It is an inexpensive alternative to the coffee filter available in the market that does the job flawlessly. Use a double layer to prevent the coffee grounds from breaking through the filter. 

Paper towels are available as both bleached and unbleached. If you want to avoid paper taste in your drink, go for a bleached one. 

Do It Yourself

  1. Get a paper towel or napkin and fold it into a square shape.
  2. Make a pocket to place the coffee grounds and place the paper coffee filter at its place.
  3. Fold the paper edges to completely cover the coffee pot to avoid spilling the grounds into the drink.
  4. Next, add the required quantity of coffee grinds and gently pour hot water over them. Do not use boiling water.
  5. Let the water drain through the filter. Then remove the filter and dispose of it.


  • Paper towels are easily available. You will always have some at home.
  • Inexpensive alternative
  • Easy to use – just put the paper where the coffee filter normally goes.
  • Paper towels have fine weaves with high filtration properties. You needn’t worry about gulping the mud at the bottom of your cup.


  • Paper towels and napkins are very thin that may break during the process.
  • Certain chemicals used to process the paper towels may react with the coffee altering the taste of your drink.

2. Use A Cloth Napkin Or Dish Towel

Coffee Filter

Unlike paper towels that need to be thrown away after every use, cloth napkins can be reused again as long as it is clean. The coffee will leave permanent stains on the cloth; therefore, go with the one you no longer plan on using. 

Do It Yourself

  1. Start with a clean cloth napkin or dish towel.
  2. Set it into the compartment where you would normally put the coffee filter. Let the center part of the napkin sink slightly into the cup. Fix it into the place with an elastic band around the cup. 
  3. Put a required quantity of coffee grounds on the napkin and gently pour hot water over it. 
  4. Let the water pass through. Remove the cloth from the mug without letting any ground drop into the drink.
  5. Rinse it thoroughly with cold water and refrigerate it in a sealed container to avoid bad smells in the next use.


  • Easily available, reusable, and sustainable alternative to paper towels.
  • Can be used without a drip basket or a pour-over by improvising with an elastic band to fix it to the cup.
  • Environment friendly and free from chemicals and bleaches if properly cleaned before use.
  • High filtration property traps even the finest coffee grounds.
  • Gives more aroma and texture to the coffee than a paper filter.


  • Permanent stains on the cloth.
  • Cloth washed in detergent will transfer an unpleasant taste to the coffee.
  • Over absorbent.
  • May cause dripping over the sides of the cup.

3. Use Reusable Tea Bags

Reusable Tea Bags

What works for tea can also work for coffee. All you need is a little bit of creativity to make a coffee filter out of a reusable tea bag. It works like a charm every time because it is meant to filter drinks. 

Next time you are out of the coffee filter, just go for a tea pouch lying around in the kitchen.

Do It Yourself

  1. Put just the right quantity (usually two tablespoons) of coffee grounds into the reusable tea bag and seal it up.
  2. Dip the tea bag with coffee grounds into the cup with hot but not boiling water and let it soak the flavor for about five minutes. Steep for more if you want it strong.
  3. Put aside the tea bag and enjoy your freshly brewed coffee anywhere.

Out of tea bags as well!? No worries! DIY by using paper and thread. Add coffee grounds to brown paper and tie it tight. There’s the homemade tea bag that you can use to brew coffee.


  • Tea bags are made for brewing.
  • Coffee tastes better and stronger due to steeping.
  • Quick and convenient.
  • No chemicals used to make teabags.
  • Coffee grounds can’t escape into the drink.


  • Unless you are an avid tea drinker, you won’t have many reusable tea bags lying around in the house.
  • Less common method.

4. Use A Cheesecloth


Cheesecloth is made of cotton, and it is used to separate liquids from solids when making cheese. Depending on your filtration requirement, it can come in different grades. To use cheesecloth as a coffee filter, you should go for a fine quality to trap the coffee grounds.

Do It Yourself

  1. Fold a cheesecloth or cut it into halves as required according to your vessel.
  2. Place it over the container or filter basket. Tie it with an elastic band to keep it intact and avoid slipping out of place.
  3. Add coffee grounds to the cloth and gently pour hot water over it.


  • Cheesecloth is stronger than paper towels. You needn’t worry about it tearing up during the brewing process.
  • Safe, easy, and chemical-free method.


  • Develops permanent stain after use.
  • Less common method since cheesecloth is not as easily available as paper towels.

5. Use A Fine Mesh Sieve

Fine Mesh Sieve

If you don’t want to go through the hassles of making a coffee filter yourself, then a fine mesh sieve is a good choice for you. It can be used to filter your morning cup of coffee. 

Do It Yourself

  1. Start by adding hot water to coffee grounds in a measuring cup or any vessel of your choice. 
  2. Gently stir the mixture with a spoon to let the coffee steep.
  3. Wait for about five minutes to let the grounds sediment at the bottom of the cup.
  4. Use a clean fine mesh sieve to pour the coffee into your drinking cup.

You can enhance the filtration process by covering the sieve with a clean piece of cheesecloth to trap fine coffee grounds in the first place.



  • Not as effective as other types of coffee filters.
  • Cannot trap fine coffee grounds and oils.
  • Less common method.
  • Difficult to clean the mesh sieve.

What Is The Purpose of Coffee Filters?

Using Coffee FIlter

Simply put, a coffee filter keeps the coffee grounds out of your drink. The brewing process leads to the secretion of organic compounds, known as diterpenes, present in coffee. These oily substances mix up with the drink, making it taste even bitter.

Unfiltered coffee has health consequences as well. The oily compounds are responsible for triggering the blood cholesterol level because they obstruct the functioning of the cholesterol-regulating system in the intestines.

Using a coffee filter not only makes your drink taste better but also prevents compounds like cafestol and kahweol from escaping into the coffee. As a result, filtered coffee is healthier and reduces the risks of heart attack, blood pressure, and stroke.

Final Words

Running out of a coffee filter is not the end of the world. You can still make a good cup of coffee with the simple DIY projects as discussed above, no matter where you are. It is all about getting creative with the daily supplies lying around in your house that can be used as coffee filters with quite impressive results.

As coffee is becoming an essential potion for people, especially in the morning, it is wise to look out for a convenient, cost-effective, and sustainable solution. Learning to make a coffee filter is a skill that every coffee enthusiast should possess to master the art of coffee making.

Consider the pros and cons of each method, find the one that best serves your coffee preferences, and stick to it. Impress your friends with your coffee-brewing skills the next time you go camping in the woods. Thank us later!