Serious Eats contributor Erin Meister has thought about it a lot. She says,
"Paper filters come with a host of taste contaminants all their own. From the basic papery flavor they can contribute themselves (just the nature of the beast, sadly) to the slightly dirty or woody taste that can come from any dust that might settle inside them, paper filters are a subject of much discussion and disagreement among incredibly discerning coffee lovers: To rinse or not to rinse?"
Meister says if you're going to rinse, the best method is to flush paper filters out with hot water before beginning to brew a cup of coffee. You don't need to soak them — you just need to run them under water long enough for any remaining chemicals, particles, or dust to work its way through before your morning coffee does.
• Coffee Filters: You Should Clean Them at Serious Eats
Intelligent or overboard? What do you think?
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)