Unitasker Wednesday: Coffee Filter Separator Tool

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Want to know what is not a problem in search of a solution? Separating paper coffee filters. Want to know what product no one needs to solve this non-problem? An $8 pair of Coffee Filter Separating Tongs:

Want to know why no one needs these tongs? Because a reusable coffee filter costs less than $1.50 and you have no need to use paper coffee filters ever again.

Let’s pretend, though, you are all about the perpetually unnecessary expense of using paper filters and these tongs seem like a good idea. If that is the case, then I’d recommend a $3 Stick ‘n’ Lift style separator. These sticky things take up significantly less space than tongs, have better Amazon reviews, and would be easier to use if you have arthritis. But, since you don’t have any need for the perpetually unnecessary expense of using paper filters because you understand the financial and environmental benefits of using a reusable filter, there is no need to play pretend.

(Want to know what word I misspelled numerous times while drafting this post? Separator. Maybe I need more coffee …)

Thanks to reader Andrea for sharing this unitasker with us.

30 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Coffee Filter Separator Tool”

  1. posted by Runa on

    Haha! Great one. I will pretend that I saved $8 today. For separating coffee filters I use my hands. They came with my body so I didn’t have to pay for them.

  2. posted by sf on

    I wonder about the environmental impact of paper filters vs. reusable ones. Obviously the reusable filter creates less waste day-to-day, but if you’re composting the paper filters, that difference is mitigated. And presumably the paper filters are environmentally friendlier to produce than a plastic-and-metal permanent filter?

    There’s also a health issue involved for some: paper filters absorb many of the oils in coffee beans. Apparently using paperless filters can raise blood cholesterol levels. Probably a minor effect if you’re otherwise healthy, but not for everybody.

    That said — these tongs are silly. ;-)

  3. posted by Shirls on

    I really don’t know why I used to use paper coffee filters. I’ve been using the reusable ones that come with the coffee machines for years now. But I remember even back then they seemed expensive. I still have a pack of the wrong size that may come in useful now and then for straining liquids.

  4. posted by Jesse Kaufman on

    Get a French press! … better coffee and no need for filters :)

  5. posted by EngineerMom on

    SF – I think rather than looking at the environmental cost associated with disposal, the real cost would be at the front end, during production. I don’t know which one would come out on top, even then.

    But as to the health issue – we use paper filters because my family has a genetic history of high cholesterol, and coffee filtered through a metal filter has been shown to influence blood cholesterol. I figure, it’s not that much more expensive to use the paper filters, I prefer the taste of coffee filtered through paper (we’ve tried both, it’s hard to clean the reusable filters satisfactorily), and why make the battle against high cholesterol worse?

  6. posted by Rianne on

    Tip from working in a restaurant – grab the chunk of stuck together filters by one edge and swing your wrist to bang the bottom against a table. Voila, the filters separate and become much easier to pull apart!

  7. posted by NoAlias on

    @Shirls – paper coffee filters are excellent lint-free eyeglass cleaners.

  8. posted by Debra on

    I don’t drink coffee but can’t you sort of flip your thumb on the edge of the stack of filters and separate one that way?

  9. posted by Dave on

    I can’t seem to be able to find a reusable metal filter for my 4 cup coffee maker, I can find them for the 10-12 cupper.

  10. posted by Nana on

    Tried the reusable filter and didn’t like it (plus, it doesn’t ‘pause’ if I want to pull out the pot half-way through brewing.)
    I take the new stack of coffee filters and turn them ‘inside out.’ This separates the edges and I can grab one at a time easily.

  11. posted by Sue on

    I have the coffee filter tongs.

    I’ve had them for many years.

    I need them because my skin is dry & it made it difficult for me to separate the filters in my semi-coherent, pre-caffeine, very sleepy, morning state.

    I keep them in the canister set where I keep my coffee & filters.

    Yes, I keep my filters in a canister. (tupperware coffee house set, no longer made)

  12. posted by sherchap on

    I’ve tried various reusable filters and they are a NO GO for me. So as much as i would like to stop buying filters I can’t do it. Every reusable I’ve tried leaks grounds and/or the sludge into my cup and that just “ain’t gonna cut it” in my book. :)

  13. posted by Anna on

    I actually received one of these as a promotional item in a box of coffee filters. We LOVE this… especially in the office where we feel it is important to use paper filters.

    I don’t know if I would pay $8.00 for it, though!

  14. posted by Shalin on

    Wow, possibly most ridiculous unitasker. Is the only *real* purpose for the existence of this device to get on the Unclutterer.com blog?

  15. posted by Pete on

    Blow on the edge, they separate easily.

  16. posted by Michelle on

    As a coffee enthusiast, I’ve gone through many styles of makers, filters, etc., and presently use a gold reusable filter. But in the days of paper filters, I loved having those tongs.

    Like Anna, I had a pair of the filter tongs in a huge pack of Mr. Coffee filters, and I loved how easy it made picking up just one filter. I know it sounds silly, why not just use my fingers? I did, and like Sue, my dry skin made it an irritable task. Like a good gadget, the filter tongs made a frustrating moment in my daily routine simply disappear. The tongs are small and sat in the bowl of the filter stack, so there was no wasted space. Also like Anna, I don’t know if I’d pay for another one, but I did lose it in a move and still wish I had it around.

    I’m not a gadget junkie, and avoid so many of the home kitchen shows because they are just a parade of things that I don’t need and that would clutter up my kitchen. But every now and then….even unitaskers can have a place and a purpose! =)

  17. posted by Rob O. on

    I got a pair of those coffee filter tongs as a freebie in a pack of unbleached paper filters years ago and I loved ‘em until they broke. I’ve never missed them enough to cough up $8 for a new pair, but still, I did love ‘em!

    Like others here, dry skin can make separating paper coffee filters kinda challenging for me, but I somehow manage.

  18. posted by ninakk on

    My Melitta bamboo-or-whatever filters come stacked flat so I don’t need a tong.

  19. posted by Andrea on

    Woohoo! You used my unitasker suggestion! I don’t even drink coffee, but I saw these in a fancy cooking store and had to take a picture and send it in. Didn’t even check the price–eight dollars??!!

  20. posted by Secret Squirrel on

    Ah that is brilliant, made me laugh. I will also save myself 8 dollars by not needing those!

  21. posted by Caroline on

    Just have to say – with a septic system, reusable coffee filters are a no go, as much as I wanted to use one. You have to rinse it out in the sink, and coffee grounds are not good for the health of the bacteria/scum in the septic system.

    As for the tongs, hmmmm another thing to wonder where my husband put it.

  22. posted by Amanda on

    I use the paper cone filters, so I have no trouble separating mine. Even when I used the regular filters, I never had trouble separating them. I also compost my coffee filters as well as the coffee grounds. You can’t compost that plastic filter separater though!

  23. posted by Nancy on

    I had a reusable filter for our drip pot, but it disappeared. I think it got tossed out with the coffee grounds. However, I bought a handy, little one cup pot made by Black and Decker at a fraction of the cost of a Keurig ($20) and it has a reusable filter. Great, except now I’ll worry about the blood pressure risk noters have mentioned. I didn’t know about that. I wonder if they make tiny filters?

  24. posted by Cassandra on

    Having worked at Tim Hortons, I can say that separating 200 coffee filters at a time is a pain. I could see this coming in handy at coffee shops. In a private home? Not so much.

    I like your tip Rianne. I used to flip the stack inside out to get them apart. Same principle.

  25. posted by Dave@BestCoffeeForYou on

    Skip the filters and get yourself a single cup brewer. Forget the tools and just wet your fingers a little and you will be fine.

  26. posted by Audra on

    @Shirls – I have a toddler, and extra coffee filters make great canvases for art projects. I won’t be keeping every treasur he makes, so why not use up something that I can’t use for it’s original function? :)

  27. posted by Dede on

    I don’t drink coffee, but I use paper filters to cleans mirrors, etc. They are streak/lint free and fit my open palm perfectly for cleaning.

  28. posted by Cindy on

    If you must use paper filters, do what restaurants do: turn the stack inside out. that breaks the “seal” so to speak. Makes them much easier to manage.

  29. posted by Tarasa on

    A friend’s mother had some of these tongs, only quit a bit bigger. She said they made it easier to separate the filters for her because of her arthritis…or rheumatism, I’m afraid I don’t recall which it was.

  30. posted by Rick on

    I found the secret for separating coffee filters, BLOW on the edge and they separate so you can grab a single filter. This also works great for stubborn paper cupcake inserts and it doesn’t distort the shape like bending does.

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