Coffee filters are one of those ubiquitous kitchen items that every single person in the world (who has a kitchen) can most likely identify. Cone shaped, traditional flat bottom, it doesn't matter; close your eye and I bet you'll picture one right away.
I was talking coffee with some folks recently and an old-timer said "I hate drinking drip coffee because I always taste the paper first." I thought this was a funny thing to say but it got me thinking... and then it got me experimenting, and now its gotten me writing.
Maybe this is a bit picky, but when you spend as much time drinking coffee as I do, picky is a necessity; that old-timer was right--I could taste the filter. I brewed the same coffee with several different methods, some with a standard white filter and some with no filter. White paper filters definitely have a flavor; its not necessarily a bad or offensive flavor, but its there. I realized that once I could pick out the flavor of the filter, it began to annoy the heck out of me.
What to do? It isn't always practical to use filterless brewing methods and my home coffee maker doesn't have one of those nifty metal filters; I'm sure some of you are in the same boat? This led to further experimentation and I found that that paper flavor wasn't as much paper as it was white paper. I find that the bleached white paper has a much more noticeable flavor that isn't nearly as prevalent with unbleached, natural fiber filters. So that is the coffee tip today, try your own experiment--use a filterless system as the control and then brew with bleached versus unbleached filters; taste the difference and let me know what you find!