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Aug 252009

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Still using paper coffee filters? You might be stuck with a caffeine habit, but getting rid of those disposable coffee filters is easier than you may realize.

Permanent filters made of stainless steel mesh (and typically gold colored) can serve for many years. So can filters made of hemp, the same fiber used to make ropes and more recently, a raft of other items from T-shirts to washrags. Hemp is tough and these filters promise to last for years also.

We bought one from Cusp Natural Products, a family-owned Washington company that began making a few hemp items in the 1990s and today finds itself making hot pads, dog toys, baseball caps and even iron board covers from hemp fabric.

We like supporting Cusp because their products are made from a renewable source and constructed in the USA. Their coffee filters are available in all sizes (#2, #4 and #6) and help us reduce throw-away products, like paper coffee filters. We discovered Cusp products at the Twin Cities Green store in Minneapolis. But since we live in Dallas, it’s good to know we can find them online.

If you want to compare coffee filters, try The Find shopping search engine, where a search for “Reuseable Coffee Filter” pops up dozens of options in cotton, hemp and stainless steel. We like the fiber products, but know people who swear by the durable mesh baskets. So check them all out. (One key to good coffee, aside from buying quality beans and keeping the grinder sharp, is to keep the basket and all other parts clean. We use Coke. Its acid eats up residue and it doesn’t leave the next batch of coffee tasting funny, like vinegar does. (This whole process does wonderful double duty as a cautionary tale with kids, demo’ing what happens to their teeth when they drink colas.)

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