It was more than 100 years ago, in the summer of 1908, that a German housewife named Melitta Bentz created the first paper coffee filter. She wanted to remove the bitter taste she associated with boiling loose grounds and find an alternative to the popular method of using linen to brew coffee. She thought that if she could pour boiling water over the grounds, but filter them out, the bitterness would be reduced.
The story tells of her ingenuity as she punctured holes in the bottom of a brass pot, lined it with blotting paper taken from the school books of her two sons, and thus created, in principle, the first coffee filter. The Imperial Patent Office in Berlin issued a patent to protect the invention as a utility model, and after some fine-tuning, in 1912 her now famous family started producing paper filters, and later, filter bags.
Now, more than a century later, the idea born from the vision of Melitta Bentz has morphed into a product still in use today. The company, Melitta, is now run by her grandchildren and markets coffee, filters, and machines branded with her name.