The Lattice Filter is a unique reusable Aeropress filter that uses neither paper or metal in its construction. I’ve been running one through its paces for months now and I’m ready to share my thoughts!
LATTICE FILTER REUSABLE AEROPRESS FILTER
The Lattice Filter is a reusable Aeropress filter that is unique because it is neither paper nor metal, yet it’s still flexible, travels well and is easy to use. Prior to Lattice, your choices for Aeropress filters were the stock paper filters or one of several metal filters manufactured by a variety of companies. They offer different cups of coffee using the Aeropress, with the metal filter allowing oils into the cup that the paper filters don’t let through, but at the same time the metal filters also allow some fines from the grind to get into the coffee, too. The result is generally more body but sometimes a muddier cup of coffee. I’ve personally found metal filters to be a little fussy to use, requiring more fiddling with grinder settings. Also, when traveling, you have to have a way to keep the filter safe from being bent and cleaning it is a bit messy. It’s a first-world problem, no doubt, but it’s a problem nonetheless. Likewise, paper filters can be a pain on the road, too. You need to find a way to take many of them with you and the reality of traveling with an Aeropress setup is that it’s not always dry, so you also need to keep them dry and safe, although you can just express them along with your puck when you’re done brewing and cleanup is easier than with the metal filters.
Enter the Lattice Filter. Inventor, David Page, was working in a research laboratory when he came up with the idea. The lab developed high-performance engine piston coatings by coating plastic micro spheres with metal. He was filtering some of these extremely tiny spheres while drinking a cup of coffee he had just made with an Aeropress when the idea hit him. PEEK is polyether ethyl ketone, a colorless organic thermoplastic commonly used in industrial applications. This stuff is robust, being strong as well as very resistant to thermal degradation, biodegradation and degradation from chemicals, especially acids. Concentrated hydrochloric acid will dissolve it, eventually, but even that takes a long time! It is used in all sorts of industrial applications as well as an advanced material in some medical implants like partial skull replacements. I did my homework with how it is around food, too, and found that PEEK is considered food-safe by the United States’ FDA, USDA, NSF and 3-A Dairy and Food. It takes temperatures over 480°F (250°C) to even begin to make it change shape and a lot more than that to melt it or break it down. PEEK is BPA-free as well as phthalate-free, too.
The form the Lattice Filter takes is of a very fine, very thin mesh. Like fabric, it is flexible, so it’s easier than metal disks to travel with. You can get it wet with no problem, so it is convenient and easy to take on the road and doesn’t need to stay totally dry like paper filters. I find it easier to clean up after use than metal, too. Metal filters always stay hot for a while after brewing, but I can pluck the Lattice right off the puck immediately after brewing and not burn my fingers. It washes easily with soap and water and for deeper cleans you can simply use a 2:1 water to vinegar solution for a soak.
Of course, convenience is always nice, but how’s the coffee? I like the Lattice. It’s mesh size is about the same as the finest metal filters and shouldn’t let too many fines through to the cup, but that’s largely a factor of your ginder. Testing it out with a variety of hand grinders (Hario Skerton with a stabilizer modification, stock Handground, stock Kyocera ceramic), they all let a little bit of sediment into the cup, but nothing I could really detect, unless I drank the very last bit of coffee in the cup, in which case it is a tad gritty.
Since I drink so many different coffees so often, detecting small changes in the amount of body of a cup or flavor nuances from the presence of oils or not is tough for me. This would probably be easier using the same coffee day after day for a long period of time, but I just cannot do that kind of testing and keep up with reviews, too, unfortunately. In many uses of the Lattice Filter, I didn’t have a bad cup in the bunch or something that made me think, “Gee, I sure wish I’d used a paper or metal filter on this cup.” They were good cups of coffee! One thing that did take some getting used to is that of the three filters I have (stock paper, Able Disk, Lattice), the Lattice offers the least resistance to plunging the Aeropress. It’s not a problem at all, but with the same grind I can get a lot of resistance from a paper filter, practically give myself a hernia with the metal disk, and then experience almost zero resistance from the Lattice. Once you get acclimated to it, though, it’s no problem. It’s just a very different feel at first and I was wondering if I needed to grind finer to make up for it, but I didn’t.
I like products like the Lattice Filter. It uses a new material to offer yet another alternative to the quite large Aeropress community and it is well made and comes nicely presented in a metal container that can double as some bean storage (or for some paper filters and metal disks if you like to travel with options). These gossamer filters seem like they must be fragile at first, but their toughness quickly becomes apparent. With a lot of use you’ll see some fraying around the edges, but that’s it. Keep it clean and dry between uses and the Lattice should last you for many years. At $12.99 they’re an easy gift idea for an Aeropress fan, or certainly an affordable luxury to add to your coffee gear addiction! I don’t use my Aeropress a ton because I use a pourover standard for my reviews, but when I do, I’m always reaching for the Lattice.
And when you’re getting your hands on a Lattice from David, check out his cool pourover stands while you’re at it, too! Those can be found in the same Etsy store, linked at the top of the review.