How to Use a Coffee Sock: A Simple Guide to a Great Cup of Joe

how to brew coffee with a cloth filter

A coffee sock can be used to make a better cup of joe than you might have been getting from your drip brewer. But wait. You’ve never heard of a coffee sock? No…it’s not a coffee-shaped sock, and it doesn’t belong on your foot. 🧦 No, my coffee-loving friend. These simply constructed brewing filters will knock your socks off when you taste the brew created with them.

This environmentally friendly cloth filter sock is also good for our world, so you’re creating less waste when brewing your coffee with these little guys.

We’re going to delve into what exactly a coffee sock is, what it’s made of, how to use a coffee sock, and why you would want to consider this unique addition to your coffee gear. Ready? Let’s go!

By the way, if you click on a link and then decide to make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

What is a Coffee Sock? Where Did it Originate?

We’ll pick up our story of the history of coffee in the 17th century, when European travelers brought it back with them from the Arabian Peninsula. Of course it gained popularity quickly, with coffee shops popping up in Italy and all over Europe.

Originally, the coffee was brewed in coffee pots, with the coffee grounds mixed with water and heated until just before boiling. The pots had sharp spouts, which helped to filter out the grounds. Historians believe that the first type of fabric filter used was a sock. The hot water was poured through a sock filled with coffee grounds.

how to make coffee with a sock filter

Today’s version of a coffee sock is an absorbent cloth filter that can be used in place of paper filters. One of the premier companies offering a quality product is, you guessed it, CoffeeSock.com. Because of their stellar reputation in the coffee sock world, we’ll hone in on the way their product is produced. And, I use their products and am familiar with the quality as well as performance.

Most coffee socks are made from organic cotton, with no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, are renewable and compostable. They are made to fit a variety of coffee brewing methods, including pour over #2 and #4, Chemex, Hario V60, drip coffee makers, and cold brew. Yes…there is a coffee sock for everyone!

It’s often called “the poor man’s French press.” Now, if you’re familiar with how French press coffee is brewed, how it looks, and how it tastes, you’ll know that it is a rich tasting coffee that has a little bit of oil on the top, as well as a small amount of residue in the bottom of the cup.

That’s because the freshly ground coffee beans are allowed to remain in contact with the water throughout the brewing process, as well as the fact that more of the oils are retained without using a paper filter.

So…coffee brewed with a coffee sock gives some of the same type of flavor and mouthfeel, without the oils and residue. It is a brighter, lighter brew!

How to Use a Coffee Sock as a Filter

The coffee sock makes a great filter for brewing great coffee at home. It is used in a similar way as a paper filter, so there aren’t any special instructions as far as usage is concerned, except for the first time you use your brand new coffee sock. Boil it for about 10 minutes to let it clean and shrink, then let dry. Now it’s ready to go to work for you!

Because there are a variety of coffee socks available to purchase, make sure you have the proper size sock to fit your particular brewing method. That will give you the best result.

The fabric weave weaves form a mesh that is too fine for grounds to pass through. This means you can enjoy your cup without worrying about pesky grinds getting through to your cup of java.

Why Would You Choose to Use a Coffee Sock for Brewing?

how to make coffee with a cloth filter

A coffee sock is an ideal way to brew a cup of great tasting coffee. That, my friend, is reason #1.

You’re a coffee-lover who is willing to put a little bit of effort (and love) into the brewing process. That’s reason #2. Pushing a button on the coffee maker is quick, but there’s more to a mug of coffee than getting it into your hand as fast as you can. Well, most of the time, anyway.

If you have determined that your purchases and actions benefit both you and the planet, a cloth filters are the right choice, which is reason #3. Millions of trees will thank you, too, for not choosing paper filters when brewing your coffee.

As mentioned above, the use of organic cotton produces a coffee sock that has not been exposed to pesticides or chemicals. If this is high on your list of must-haves, reason #4, make sure your coffee sock filters meet them. The products highlighted in this post do.

Here is reason #5. Unlike paper, cotton imparts no flavor on the finished brew. It is tasteless and odorless and is insoluble in water. What do you get? A clean tasting cup of coffee.

If you’ve enjoyed French press coffee but are searching for a lighter alternative, here’s reason #6. The cotton fabric of a cloth filter absorbs some of the oils released from the coffee beans, but still lets the acids pass through. You, as the happy recipient of the brew, receive the crisp, rich, and robust flavor without the oiliness.

A Guide to Brewing Coffee with a Cloth Filter

how to use a coffee sock

A coffee sock filter can be used to brew just about any type of coffee. We’re going to discuss a pour over type method, so with minor variations, this step-by-step method can work with a pour over, Hario V60, Chemex, or other pour over brewing method.

Of course, brewing coffee is a very personal thing, so you’ll want to tweak these instructions as you brew your java to suit your personal taste. I like my coffee strong, so keep that in mind when determining the coffee to water ratio.

How to Make a Great Cup of Coffee with a Sock Filter

  • First, grind your fresh, whole coffee beans (unless you’re using pre ground coffee). If you like your coffee on the strong side, like me, measure out 4 tablespoons of coffee beans, not heaping, and grind them to a medium/fine grind level.
  • Place your coffee sock into the brewer and make sure it snuggled in there. Then, add the ground coffee to the cloth filter and tap it a bit to even out the grounds.
  • Heat your filtered water, 10 to 12 ounces, to 195 to 200 degrees. If you don’t have an electric kettle with temperature settings, go ahead and bring the water just to a boil on the stove, then let it sit for 30 – 45 seconds to cool to the proper temperature.
  • Now pour a small amount of the heated water over the grounds, then sit back and watch it bloom. Give it about 40 seconds. Enjoy the aroma as the carbon dioxide is being released. That, my friend, will brew up a great cup of joe!
  • Pour more water into the cloth filter, up to the line of the coffee grounds, starting at the outside edge and moving inward. Let the water seep through.
  • Repeat the previous step one or two more times, until your heated water has been poured into the dripper.
  • This pour over process will take about 3 minutes to complete. Now…enjoy your coffee!

Best Coffee Socks to Purchase and Where to Get Them

Here is a representative sample of the types of sock filters available to purchase, with options for just about every brewing type, including cold brew coffee. Most of the filters come in packs of 2, and the pack should last about 1 year. Just think…you’ll be saving approximately 500 paper filters!

These sock filters are made by hand in Austin, Texas from certified organic cotton.

They’re renewable, compostable, and do not contain any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Check out these affordable, renewable, versatile, and hopelessly cute sock filters and you might just have found yourself a new way to brew your favorite caffeinated drink!

How to Care for Your Coffee Sock

  • Coffee socks are reusable, of course, which is a great way to save on paper filters.
  • Before you use it the first time, boil the coffee sock for about 10 minutes to let it clean and shrink.
  • After brewing your coffee, discard the coffee grounds. Do you compost? Perfect! If not, here are a few other uses for the used coffee grounds. I have found that if I let the coffee sock sit for about 30 minutes after brewing, the used coffee grounds are easier to dispose of.
  • Rinse the coffee sock thoroughly and let it dry. If you can hang it to dry, all the better.
  • Periodically, about every 6 to 8 weeks, boil the coffee sock for about 10 minutes in fresh water, to remove accumulated coffee oils. You can add a small amount of baking soda to the water for extra freshness.
  • If your coffee sock filter comes into contact with perishable food, sanitize it by boiling for 10 minutes.

Sum It Up

Coffee sock brewing is a wonderful way to produce a tasty, satisfying cup of coffee, my friend. Whether you use freshly ground coffee, or the pre ground variety to brew your cup of joe, and no matter which method you choose, reusable cloth filters to make coffee will be helping to save the planet. And isn’t that a good feeling?

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