I have to admit, as much as I want to like reusable coffee filters, I just… can’t. While there are a host of reusable filters in a variety of materials—laser-etched metal, cloth, mesh, you name it—that make really nice cups of coffee, I’ve yet to find one that comes close to matching the clarity I get from a good ole paper filter. But hope springs eternal that there’s a reusable filter out there for me, and with the Loca (stylized LOCA), I may just have found it. Made entirely of ceramic, the Loca is a reusable filter promoting clarity and sweetness in coffee, and it’s live on Kickstarter now.
Calling the Loca just a coffee filter almost feels a bit reductive. Yes, it’s a filter but it is one that doesn’t need a pour-over device, and a very aesthetically pleasing one at that. Meaning “filtration” in Japanese, Loca applies centuries-old Japanese ceramic techniques to modern ends, creating a novel use: brewing coffee. Coming in either a bowl shape or a more traditional-to-pour-over conical shape, the Loca filter features a porous ceramic material consisting of 50-micron holes throughout, letting the brew pass through but not the grounds.
Per Kickstarter, this filtration method removes impurities in the coffee that lead to “harsh and odd flavors,” leading to an increase in sweetness and decreases in sourness, astringency, saltiness, and bitterness when compared to a standard paper filter. The filter is so good at decreasing bitterness that Loca actually suggests using it with dark roast coffees to allow for the sweetness of the roasts to shine without the additional roasty flavors. With medium and light roasts, the Kickstarter notes, the coffee may taste “a little lighter than usual.”
Each filter is handmade by a craftsman using “traditional techniques,” per Loca. The zero-waste filter is easy to clean, requiring little more than a rinse with hot water. Or if there is a material clogging it, you can burn it out, which frankly sounds kinda rad.
Having earned nearly 15 times their ¥200,000 ($1,818 USD) goal with just over two weeks left in the campaign, the Loca Kickstarter still has a handful of great rewards available for interested parties. A Loca ceramic filter can be acquired for as little as $33 for the small round, $41 for the regular-sized round (my personal favorite), or $45 for the v-shaped filter. Each comes with an appropriately-sized filter stand. For those looking for a little more, Loca also has rewards that include a filter as well as a rather fetching Aritayaki porcelain mug.
There's hope yet that there's a reusable coffee filter out there for me. For more information or to back the project, visit the Loca Kickstarter page.