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I remember days in the office that I was too busy to be bothered with rinsing the filter and just tapped it hard over a trash bin, do my best to get all the used ground out of there and brewed a new batch as usual. Is this okay, health-wise (surely flavour will be affected a bit) especially since I'm using it everyday, anyway?

Of course when I stop using my dripper for a while, there would be molds in the filter and that prompts me to soap and give it a hot bath.

  • It's a personal, one-cup drip-brew by the way. So germs (if any) are mine alone. I could probably use the foul bachelor frog meme for this. – Adrian Feb 19 '15 at 1:01
  • by filter do you mean a metal-mesh reusable filter? – Justin C Feb 19 '15 at 1:26
  • I don't think it's metal. I've linked "filter" to an accurate image in my question. Please see: ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411FJQ559AL.jpg – Adrian Feb 19 '15 at 1:35
  • The word "need" in the title will be interpreted differently by different people. You could ask something more direct, like "What will happen if I don't clean the filter", or even "If I don't clean the filter, will XYZ happen", etc. – Anthony Feb 19 '15 at 2:10
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    @Adrian - I believe that is metal, probably stainless steel – Justin C Feb 19 '15 at 3:34
4

Looks like a standard metal mesh reusable filter! The mesh is probably stainless steel, perhaps with a gold-tinted coating, sandwiched between a plastic frame. They're alternatives to paper filters for filter/drip coffee. I find the outcome to be a little gritty/grainy; more like French press than a regular paper filter.

In general, if your filter is still performing well, I think you're probably fine with a shake-out, rinse, or occasional scrub. However, any residue might impart off-tastes in your next brew (hopefully what's left is just coffee remnants!). The leftover coffee stuck to your filter (that you didn't wash off) will oxidise, taste stale, etc. (See also this question about coffee going stale -- one answer says it only takes minutes! And this question about what's happening with stale coffee.)

Wet coffee grounds will mould if allowed to sit too long as you report. So if you leave coffee in it, very wet, for a long time, you might be inviting flora and fauna that you don't want. You reported this in your question, but I'm surprised if it would happen very quickly. Clearly, when you have mould growing, you'll want to give it a good scrub. If you store your filter (grounds knocked out, even if not washed) in such a way that the filter can dry out more quickly (e.g., hanging, separate from the coffee maker, propped up to permit air flow, etc.) it seems that mould would have a harder time to grow.

As for getting clogged and occasionally needing a really thorough cleaning... I use a similar device for brewing tea, and it gets clogged sometimes. In fact, I wrote this question/answer on Cooking.SE recently about how it had become clogged after a decade of use; see that for more on how to get such a metal mesh really clean.

A probably-obvious alternative is to use a paper filter. You could toss the whole thing into your compost bin (filter and spent grounds and all!) and everything on the coffee maker will dry out more quickly.

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    @Adrian -- and, welcome to Coffee! – hoc_age Feb 19 '15 at 3:40
  • Thanks, awesome then. Re: taste as long as it tastes better than my usual 3-in-1s (and no molds) then it's all good. – Adrian Feb 19 '15 at 13:40
  • @Adrian - That's my take: leftover grounds from the "previous brew" might cause stale taste; it's about whether you are happy with the outcome. Others will (hopefully!) chime in if they disagree! – hoc_age Feb 19 '15 at 13:49

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