I started drinking coffee in college, using my roommate’s old, clunky coffee pot and disposable filters, but eventually transitioned to using a French press in an attempt to waste less (also, to be honest, I got too lazy to continue buying paper filters in the first place). I still have my old coffee pot though, gathering dust on the cabinets in my kitchen. I pull it out every now and then when I have guests over, because I can pretty much finish the coffee in my French press all by myself.
As long as I used a coffee pot, though, I wished for an alternative to the paper filters. The unbleached ones made from recycled materials were an attractive sustainable option as far as paper went, but I really wanted something reusable.
Enter CoffeeSock: CoffeeSock is a family-owned company based in Austin, Texas, and the creative brainchild of husband and wife team Robert and Corinna Guillory. CoffeeSock's namesake product is their reusable coffee filter “socks.”
Frustrated by constantly running out of paper filters, and inspired by an old handheld “coffee sock” rediscovered from their travels in Costa Rica, the Guillorys decided to brew with fabric. After they realized the potential for this novel alternative, they chose to no longer waste money on a one-time-use product. “We were annoyed at the prospect of giving our money to someone for a product that we would [later] throw away," says Robert Guillory via email. “Cotton filters [are] cheaper and improve performance… the choice is an easy one.”
That’s right: the CoffeeSock filters are made from organic cotton and are super durable — typically, they can be reused to brew your daily cup for about a year. The cotton absorbs a portion of the oils from the coffee beans, while still letting the acidity from the beans pass through, creating a flavor that is both balanced and robust.
And while sustainability wasn't originally a driving force behind creating reusable filters ("It was more about what seemed to be common sense," Guillory says), the good people of CoffeeSock certainly have the environment on their minds. "Whatever can be done to lessen the destruction of our earthly resources… is a step in the right direction,” Guillory says. With about 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed per day globally, tons of filters are being used and disposed of everyday, so the impact really adds up. A CoffeeSock filter could eliminate hundreds of paper filters a year, and because it’s made of cotton, it’s compostable, too! It’s one more way to green your coffee habit.