Cone vs Flat Coffee Filter: Which One Is Better?


Do you know the difference in a cone vs flat coffee filter? We’re not talking about simply the basic difference in appearance, but also the difference in the outcome of flavor.

coffee filter cone
coffee filter cone

Let’s look at the details of the differences between the two as well as determine which one might be best for your personal coffee preference.

What’s the Purpose of a Coffee Filter?

The purpose of a coffee filter is to fulfill one main purpose. It keeps the coffee grounds from flowing into the finished coffee as it’s brewed.

As the hot water flows through the coffee grounds, the coffee filter traps the grounds but allows the liquid coffee to flow through.

Does Shape Matter, And Why?

You might think that the shape of your coffee filter has little bearing on the outcome of the flavor of your coffee. However, that’s not true.

In fact, studies have been done in various places, including at the UC Davis Coffee Center which shows the results that the shape of a filter does play a factor in the flavor of the coffee.

What is the Difference?

Despite the brewing process used, the main difference between the two types of filters and produces different flavor outcomes.

This is the case with ground coffee as well as whole coffee beans that have been processed into ground coffee. Regardless of its ground size.

Here is the outcome according to the filter used:

Cone shaped coffee filter:  The results of coffee brewed with a cone shaped filter is a flavor that’s nutty, earthy, smoky, umami, and woody flavors.

Flat shaped coffee filter:  The results of coffee brewed with a flat bottom coffee filter is a flavor that’s citrus, floral, sweet, and fruity.

cone vs flat coffee filter flavor
cone vs flat coffee filter flavor

The reason for the variation in flavor is because the extraction process that takes place while the coffee is being brewed is different between each shape of filter.

Types of Coffee Filters

There are many types of coffee filters on the market today. Many can be found in grocery stores.

Some kinds of filters can be interchangeable depending on your coffee machine and filter size. Other coffee machines might require you to use one type of filter only.

Here are some of the different types of coffee filters.

Paper Filters

Paper coffee filters are intended for a one time use and are disposable after that. They are made with a special filter paper that allows liquid such as the brewed coffee to seep through without the coffee particles entering the finished area or the coffee pot.

Paper filters come in a variety of colors and shapes such as flat coffee filters and cone filters. Paper coffee filters can be purchased in white filters and brown filters.

One time use paper filters work well for light roast and dark roast coffees and provide a wonderful coffee flavor.

cup of fresh coffee
cup of fresh coffee

Basket Filters

Basket filters are permanent filters that are typically made right inside your coffee machine. They’re usually removable so that coffee can be added, and they can be cleaned. But they’re not thrown away after a few uses or a single use like the paper and cloth filters are.

Basket filters are typically made of plastic and some machines have metal filters. A metal coffee filter is the most durable simply because of the product it’s made from.

Basket filters can be a best type of coffee filter depending on how you like to make your coffee. They can be flat bottom filters or cone coffee filters based on the type of coffee machine you’re using.

Cloth Filters

Cloth filters are reusable filters, meaning they are intended for more than one use.

They’re typically 100% cotton unbleached filters that keep the coffee grounds in place while the coffee flavor and coffee oils seep through. Cloth filters are one of the popular coffee filter types.

Coffee Filter Sizes

Coffee filter sizes vary according to the coffee machine used. And they should be coordinated to fit your particular machine for the best results.

This will keep coffee grounds from overflowing into the brew and ruining the taste of your coffee.

cup of hot coffee
cup of hot coffee

Coffee Filter Shapes

There are three main coffee filter shapes that we’ll focus on. Those are the cone shape, semi-cone shape, and flat bottom coffee filters.

The difference in the shape of the filter is exactly as it sounds. Conical filters are shaped like a cone. These cone-shaped filters allow for better extraction compared to a flat filter.

Semi-conical shaped filters are a filter shaped like a cone at the top that gradually tapers, then at the bottom, the cone is flat shaped.

Flat bottom filters are filters that are flat on the bottom and have sides that go up the edge of the coffee basket.

Grind Size

Coffee grind size is another factor that matters when it comes to coffee flavor. As you experiment with grind size, water temperature, filter shape, and brew time, you’ll likely find the preferred combination that creates the perfect tasting cup of coffee.

Coffee can be ground in different sizes. A finer grind of coffee will allow the extraction of the coffee to be bolder in flavor. And compared to a medium grind that creates a weaker extraction under the same circumstances.

flat coffee filter
flat coffee filter

The flavor of your coffee matters for coffee lovers and anyone who drinks coffee for that matter. Brewed coffee is a fantastic drink that’s enjoyed in coffee shops and is made at home by many.

Types of Coffee Machines

Different types of coffee machines have different shapes of coffee baskets. A cone coffee maker can be found in a drip coffee brewer, manual drip coffee maker, or even a French press.

When you’re experimenting with achieving the best possible coffee, consider the type of coffee machine as a factor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to cone vs flat coffee filter. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Which is better cone or flat coffee filter?

There is no right or wrong answer in regard to which is better, a cone or flat coffee filter. It’s a matter of personal preference and the desired outcome of flavor.

Which shape of coffee filter is best?

The two main shapes of coffee filters are flat bottom coffee filters and cone shaped filters.

Which one is best depends on the desired flavor outcome. For example, a cone filter will produce a bolder, smoky and earthy flavor. Whereas a flat bottom coffee filter will create a fruity and floral flavor.

Why are cone filters better?

Whether cone filters are better is a matter of personal preference. Some say they’re better because of the extraction they provide, along with the flavor.

Hand drip coffee
Hand drip coffee cone filter

If you’re someone who prefers more of an earthy, smoky, umami flavor, then a conical filter might be the better option for your brew.

Does a cone filter make stronger coffee?

Cone filters can make coffee stronger because of the extraction they provide. The basket shape allows water to flow differently for each filter shape in a cone vs flat coffee filter.

In a cone filter, the hot water runs through the coffee grounds and extracts more total dissolved solids which allows more coffee in your coffee, resulting in a smoky, earthy, umami flavor.

pour over coffee
pour over coffee

On the other hand, a flat bottom filter makes coffee with fewer total dissolved solids, which results in flavors such as tea, florals, fruits, and honey.


Coffee flavor can be determined by not only the shape of the filter used such as a cone vs flat coffee filter. It can also be adjusted by other aspects such as the roast level, brewing method, amount of coffee, and water flow.

Take the time to experiment and find the best cone shape for your preferred brewing method.

Related Ideas:

My Coffee Tastes Too Watery –  8 Easy Fixes
How Many Cups of Coffee Can I Make with 8 Tablespoons?
Does Cold Brew Coffee Go Bad?
The Best Way To Reheat Coffee Properly

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cone vs flat coffee filter
cone vs flat coffee filter

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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