By Leo Sainati
Out of the dozens of coffee brewers you can buy on the market, there’s one that you might already have lying around your home. Well, not literally, but almost. The coffee sock is not necessarily an actual sock, but rather a tightly knitted piece of fabric attached to a metal wire.
The Coffee sock is particularly common in many Latin American and South American countries. Originating in Costa Rica, the coffee sock was a sustainable, natural method of brewing coffee using everyday household items. Rather than throwing away hundreds of paper filters each year, the coffee sock presents a more durable and eco-friendly alternative to coffee making.
There are many different methods for brewing with a coffee sock. Some maintain that it should function as an immersion brewer, steeping in hot water for a few minutes similar to a tea bag. More recently, companies such as Hario have been making cloth filters as a replacement for the paper or bamboo pour-over variety. This is one of the most informal coffee making methods, so there’s not strict rules to measure or grind your coffee a specific way. For those used to pour-over, a cloth filter will yield a smoother, clearer cup of coffee in less time than paper or bamboo filters.
Cleaning/Maintaining the Filter
Arguably, the most difficult and time-consuming part of cloth filters is the maintenance process. After each brew, the filter needs to be thoroughly rinsed of all grounds, as they can easily corrode the filter if left uncleaned. If you use the filter every day, submerge it in a glass of water and keep it in your fridge until tomorrow. The filter should never dry, as it becomes moldy and releases a bad smell that will ruin any cup of coffee you make. Only using the filter once in a while? Throw it in the freezer between uses and simply rinse with warm water when ready to use.