Why filter coffee is so popular (even in Italy)

Even in Italy, home of espresso and mocha fans, filter coffee is gaining more and more acclaim. We asked an expert why.

Italy is a republic based on work and the mocha. At least until recently. Today filter coffee tears more and more faithful to the coffee pot and even to the efficient machine with pods, moving them onto the jugs, stills and gauze of the filter coffee. Francesca Surano , professional consultant in the world of coffee for Umami Area , guides us inside the secrets of the noble and ancient art of extracting coffee with the help of heat and gravity.


Filter coffee, also known as filtered coffee, is prepared by pouring hot water over ground coffee collected in a filter. The resulting liquid is collected in a jug. The heat is present in the water, while the force of gravity operates the extraction of aromas and oils from the coffee. “ It is seen as a meditation drink – explains Francesca Surano – The machine is sometimes preferable, if there is no knowledge. But the manual method allows you to “play” a bit with the variables and extraction parameters “.

The raw material

” Since filter coffee is a drink that manages to enhance all the aromatic and gustatory characteristics of the raw material, it is worth using a high quality starting product “. The beans must be roasted lighter than those for mocha or espresso. In addition, single- origin or Arabica species are preferred, but not compulsory . “They give life to more complex and sensorially pleasing coffees. It is like when we have a native vine, with its characteristics, peculiarities, treated in the vineyard, worked according to specific criteria, which is nice to taste in purity, because it has its own distinctive character. Furthermore, the consumer has the right to drink a cup of coffee that brings with it a production chain with its own social responsibility “. The grinding must be done just before extracting the coffee (and this also applies if we are preparing a mocha). “ The aromatic profile of the coffee begins to get lost from 15 minutes after grinding “. The manual grinder helps to create a coarse or fine grain: for filter coffee it must be larger than for espresso.

How to prepare the perfect filter coffee

The suggested recipe provides a ratio of coffee to water equal to 1:16 . Suggested, not mandatory. Furthermore, we suggest the use of water with a fixed residue at 180 ° C between 50 and 110 ppm. It reads on the label.the quantity and temperature of the water are fundamentalThe higher this value, the more the water will be able to extract. The solid coffee is crossed by the water and takes away with it all the soluble particles of that grain. Mineral-free water has a lower solvent power. So this value is important, but the temperature also counts , which must be around 93 ° C. here too it depends on the result I want to obtain: “ If I use water that has reached boiling point, I could extract substances that give the cup a bitter taste and a perceptible astringency. So we risk extracting a bitter taste from the coffee, which is devoid of bitterness “. The contact time between water and coffee is important because over- extraction or under- extraction phenomena occur . “If I use 15 g of ground coffee and a quantity of water of 240 g, I should extract my drink in about two and a half minutes. If it takes longer, the grain was too fine. If I take less, I have ground too coarsely “. The golden rule for preparing the perfect filter coffee remains one: “ If I have a coffee that I don’t know, I start from a suggested range, after which I evaluate based on the final result “, warns the expert.

A meditation and tasting drink

One has to ask: why are Italians, the people of moka, converting to filter coffee? The answer is in the mood that the cup gives. “ The social context in which we live, the ever faster circulation of information and the need to live in a healthy and sustainable way, has created the ideal conditions for this method to take root ”, explains Surano. Filter coffee is a tasting drink . As with wine, you need tranquility to fully enjoy the pleasure that the cup is able to give.

Moka vs filter: the differences

The main differences between mocha coffee and filter coffee is first of all in taste . Starting from an optimal raw material, for example quality Arabica, properly roasted, the coffee generated by the moka will be denser, but also more bitter and astringent. There are also differences in the amount of caffeine . “ If we use a method with a very long contact time with water, it is clear that that leads to a greater extraction of caffeine. So there is more caffeine in filter coffee, also because I drink more. In addition, I drink a cup of coffee in the mocha, of the filter coffee I drink a cup, the classic mug, much larger “.

The tools you need for filter coffee

To start preparing filter coffee, you can follow the manual methods which have low costs. First: the grinder . It costs between 15-20 euros. You can buy it online or in specialty cafes. The simplest instruments are the V60 and the Chemex , consisting of a jug and a cone that overlap. The V60 is a dripper that gets its name from its conical V shape with an angle of 60 °. Here the cone and carafe are separated. For the Chemex, however, the cone and carafe are united. Plus, you have to buy filters .

The influencers of filter coffee

When something becomes fashionable – be it an ingredient, preparation technique or chef – everyone talks about everything. So sometimes wrong information circulates. So, at least for filter coffee, Francesca Surano suggests the reference points of the sector. One of them is Andrej Godina , one of the best known coffee experts. Then there is Andrea Cremone , a reference point for filter extraction. Federico Pezzetta has gone from being a simple fan of specialty coffee to a photographer, also author of reports on the world of coffee.

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