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Intertwined from One Twine

An Unusual and Sustainable Way to Brew Coffee

By Recyclebank |

Would you brew your coffee with a cotton sock?

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.

Would you ever switch to cotton to brew your coffee? Let us know in the comments below. You can share your favorite brewing method, too!

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  • Bertha E. 2 years ago
    I might try the coffee sock, great idea...thank you!
  • lisa p. 2 years ago
    I cold brew coffee which makes a long lasting coffee concentrate that you can even freeze into cubes. You just add hot water to the concentrate. it's like Starbucks Concentrate packets called Via, I think, with no waste! it also produces a nearly acid free coffee with better flavor
  • Karen Q. 4 years ago
    For those who use a Keurig type single cup brewer, there are coffee pods available that are 97% biodegradable. The coffee is called San Francisco Bay (from the Rogers Family). Beside producing amazing tasting coffee, the company is family owned, community conscious, practices fair trade and works to have a zero carbon footprint. Having these biodegradable pods sure is better than all those little plastic Kcups going into the landfills. Check them out online:
  • BILLI H. 4 years ago
    My coffee maker came with a Permanent Reusable Basket Coffee Filter. I just place it in the dishwasher when I am running a full load or do quick rinse off if not running dishwasher that day. I figure that the extremely hot water will kill all germs, if any, from quick rinse.
  • Kent Kelly Ginger M. 4 years ago
    cool concept but I already use a metal basket. Lasted 8 years so far. Regarding wasting water to clean it...I just empty it into the compost bowl on the counter and give it a tap. Most of the grounds fall out. I give it a good cleaning once a week.
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