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Home|Melitta History

Melitta History

How a German Housewife Revolutionized Coffee Preparation

With the discovery of coffee in the 13th century, inventors began a search to find the best coffee preparation method. Unfortunately, all the complicated early devices invented to improve the taste and flavor of coffee proved merely decorative, doing little to eliminate coffee residues in the cup.

Three hundred years of coffee culture passed until an enterprising young woman changed the way in which coffee was made.... developing a method now adopted in most countries around the world. In 1908, Melitta Bentz, a housewife from Dresden, had this revolutionary idea. Why not use paper to filter out unwanted residues? So she punctured the bottom of a brass pot and lined it with blotting paper taken from the notebook of her oldest son. Perfectly filtered coffee -- without bitterness and grounds -- dripped out of the bottom.

Melitta quickly realized the value of her invention and registered it with the Patent Office in Berlin. On July 8, 1908, Melitta Bentz received a patent registration for her "Filter Top Device lined with Filter Paper." The 35-year-old housewife was immediately transformed into a businesswoman and, during the same year of her invention, the company bearing her name was established.

In the 1930s the filter top was tapered into a cone-shape. The new filter top thus had a larger filtration area, which was lined with ribs to allow for improved extraction of the ground coffee. A few years later, patented cone-shaped filter paper to fit inside the filter top was introduced. The perfect product to make great coffee was complete. Finally a system existed that was designed to achieve exactly the right filtration time needed to bring out all the coffee aroma and flavor without the bitter by-products. Best of all, less coffee was needed.

Obviously the coffee quality available in 1937 is not the same as that available today. The same applies to the quality of the coffee making equipment, which has been improved continuously over the years. Therefore, Melitta likewise has continued its search to improve its filter paper to assure complete coffee enjoyment.

In 1989, for coffee lovers concerned about the environment, Melitta introduced natural brown filter paper made from unbleached pulp, which is cleansed through intensive washings to achieve the hygienic standards of bleached filter paper. During the manufacturing of this paper, the paper mill does not add bleaching agents and thus prevents any by-products from leaching into the environment.

Since the introduction of Melitta Natural Brown® filter paper, the demand has increased over the years. However, the white filter paper remains as popular as ever. Market research shows that two thirds of consumers prefer white filter paper because of its more hygienic appearance. Therefore, in 1992, in cooperation with paper manufacturers, Melitta was able to develop a new bleaching method in order to produce white filter paper without any chlorine. This oxygen-cleansed filter paper set yet another standard for the filter paper market worldwide.

In 1997, Melitta achieved yet another milestone, developing filter paper with Flavor Pores™. This new paper, with microfine pores, allows more coffee taste and aroma to come through while continuing to filter out unwanted grounds and sediment. So almost ninety years after Melitta Bentz revolutionized coffee making for the first time, the company that bears her name has taken the next step in achieving her pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee. Melitta coffee filters with Flavor Pores, being introduced into North America in 1999, bring coffee lovers a noticeable improvement in their coffee enjoyment experience. See for yourself... feel the quality and taste the difference.

In 2002, after extensive consumer and product research, Melitta adds a second Safety Crimp for extra strength and durability. Made from our high quality Flavor Pores filter paper, Double Crimp technology guarantees your filter will not burst during the brewing process and ensures safe and easy disposal.

In March 2007, Melitta launched Bamboo filters in #2 and #4 sizes. This new environmentally friendly product was offered up to Natural Food accounts to appeal to the growing number of consumers who were not only health conscious, but had concerns for the environment as top of mind. Our Bamboo product is 60% bamboo fiber and has all the same premium features as our mainstream coffee filters such as double crimp and flavor pores. Since bamboo is a naturally renewing resource, it was Melitta's earth friendly way for our consumers to "add more flavor to their lives", and their coffee.

After extensive research and development, In July 2007, Melitta takes flavor pores one step further and releases new patented Flavor Enhancing Micro Perforations. This new innovation for Melitta filters is noticeably different, both visibly and tangibly. The design of the perforations allow for a richer coffee flavor while filtering out sediments and impurities. This unique filter process allows for more efficient coffee extraction and a fuller tasting cup of coffee. This new product enhancement reinforces Melitta as the category leader.

Filter Paper Timeline

Melitta Bentz invents the filter top device lined with disc shaped blotting paper. The invention is patented and the "Melitta Bentz" company is established.
The familiar red and green filter package is introduced. The Melitta brand name is born.
The filter cone shape is changed: it is tapered at the bottom. Filtertuten® (filter bags) to fit the new cone-shaped device are developed and patented. With this change, the ideal shape for the coffee filtering method is achieved.
Melitta is the first company to introduce Natural Brown® filter paper, made from unbleached pulp. During the manufacture of the raw materials no bleaching agents are added, thus keeping any unwanted by-products from leaching into the environment.
In cooperation with paper manufacturers, Melitta develops a new bleaching method in order to produce white filter paper without the use of chlorine. Oxygen-bleached paper is born.

Melitta develops a new filter paper generation, Melitta filter paper with Flavor Pores™. This filter paper has microfine perforations that allow more coffee taste and aroma to come through while filtering out unwanted sediment, particles, and oils which have a negative effect on cholesterol levels.

Melitta introduces Flavor Pores™ to North America.
Melitta has once again proven to be the industry leader and innovator with a Double Crimp technology that adds a second safety crimp for extra strength and durability.
Melitta launches Bamboo filters in #2 and #4 sizes. Made with 60% Bamboo a naturally renewing resource.
Melitta takes flavor pores one step further and releases new patented Flavor Enhancing Micro Perforations.