Introduction: Flat-pack Pour-over Coffee Filter

About: Love outdoors, climbing, cycling, longboarding, kayaking/canoeing, woodworking, food, recycling/up-cycling.

I love coffee, and when my french press broke, so did my heart. So I decided to make a pour over coffee thing, I didn't want to buy paper filters and i like to make things so the best bet was a simple compact design. Enter the 'sock' method. A friend showed me the sock filter he brought back from Argentina, it's simple, effective and compact, which ticks all the boxes for me. I wanted something that fit in my mess tin, can work on a coffee cup. So I copied the shape of metal pour over coffee filters and went with a cone instead of the longer sock.


You will need some material for the filter I went with left over calico cotton, it's foodsafe, cheap, tough and has a relatively tight weave.

You will also need some thick wire, I used galvanised steel, it won't be in contact with any heat or coffee, so theres no risk posed by the zinc, alternatively you can spring for stainless steel or thick brass wire.

You will also need cotton thread, a needle, pins and scissors and a chalk or pencil.

Step 1: Making the Pattern

Making the pattern for the cone is straight forward, you need a semicircle. The semicircle needs to have an edge or diameter 26cm long to make a coffee filter 12cm wide.
Once you have drawn your semicircle, also draw a line 2cm in from the edge this is the hem, the part you will fold over.
Cut this semicircle out with sharp scissors.

Step 2: Sewing the Filter

To sew the cone, first fold the cone in half like a pizza slice, then cut the tip of the cone off, about 2cm from the tip. Then fold over a 1cm flap on the thin end of the cone and pin shut with a pin, then fold the long edge over on the flat side to seal the side and also pin closed. You need to make sure that the longer hem over laps the short one slightly otherwise you might have a leaky filter.

Now sew the hem line with a whip stitch, which means you go through the material of the fold, over the edge of the fold and back through the material on the the same side, you always go through the material in the same direction, creating loops over the edge. There is also one called a blanket stich which might be a more secure option.
Note* If i was to do this again, which I probably will, I would fold the hem twice to hide the cut edge of the material and I would use a blanket stitch, but for the sake of speed (and the speed competition) I didn't.

After sewing the edge with the whip stitch I also did a running stitch for a bit of extra security (belts and braces).
You are now ready to attach the ring.

Step 3: Adding the Wire Ring

To add the wire ring, drop your cone through the ring, point down, it should stop with about 1 to 2 cm of fabric above the rim, if it doesnt, take the filter out give the handle a 1/2 twist ato tighten or loosen the ring to the desired diameter and try again. Fold the extra fabric over the wire and pin it closed around the wire.
When pinning this hem down, use lots of pins close together and start at the handle, this way the fabric is less likely to make 'ears'or bunch up as you are trying to fold around a circle, and its less of an issue if the ears are over the handle.
Once its all pinned, sew around the rim using the whip stitch, making sure the loops go over the wire and through the fabric under the wire. Again, what I make another I will use a blanket stitch as it looks tidier and a bit stronger

Step 4: Handle

The handle can be as simple or complicated as you like, simple is better in my book, so if you're happy with a twisted piece of wire, go wih it. You can add a loop by wrapping the extra wire round something round, like a board pen or marker.

I wanted something a little fancier and hardier, something that was easier to hold with cold hands and food safe. So HDPE seemed like a good choice, I cut a section of hpde about 2 inches long, drilled a 6 mm hole. In it and test fitted it against the filter, when I was happy with the rough dimentions, I took it off, shaped it with a carving knife, and kept the shapings.
Then I filled the hole with the shavings, carefully heated the wire handle with a flame, and pushed the handle into the hole twisting in the direction of the twist in the wire.
The plastic will melt and cool holding the twisted wire in place, as HDPE doe not like to be glued.

Step 5: Boil

Fill a pan large enough to submerge the filter and handle with hot water. Bring to the boil. Boil for 3-5 mins. Carefully take it out of the water with tongs, lay the ring over the lip of a jug or pot and put a small weight in the filter e.g. a shot glass or marbles or baking beads. Leave to cool.

This does a few things:
Gets rid of any bacteria,
Tightens the weave of the fabric making a better filter,
Forms the filter into the cone shape.

Step 6: Make a Cup of Coffee

Step one boil the kettle and leave the water to cool for a minute whilst you get everything ready. You need 250ml per cup.

Place the filter over a cup, jar or pot, fill the filter with about 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per cup, medium to course grind.
Pour 50ml or so of the hot water over the grounds and leave them to soak for 30 seconds.
Slowly pour the remaining 200ml of water over the grounds, start in the middle, work your way out in a spiral and try not to pour onto the fabric of the filter.
The longer you soak the grounds and the slower the pour, the stronger the coffee.
Leave it to settle, pour into your favourite mug and enjoy!

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