A Bentz descendant shares a cup of coffee with a bust of his ancestor.
Image: AP

Fascinating fact of the day: The coffee filter was invented by a woman who loved coffee, but hated the whole rigamarole with those disgusting grounds.

The New York Times is continuing its series “Overlooked,” producing obituaries for women who were neglected by the paper in their own time. Today they’ve featured Melitta Bentz, inventor of the coffee filter.

Of course, it stands to reason that somebody must have invented the coffee filter; it didn’t just spring into existence one bleary-eyed morning. But it’s a delight to know that it was a woman inspired by a small, persistent irritation who finally decided to do something about it. “My mother, who had an excellent taste in coffee, was often irritated by the coffee grounds in her cup,” her son told a German outlet in 1949, and then you had to clean the pot, too. Hence:

Every morning, from her kitchen in Dresden, Germany, she fantasized about better ways to brew.

She tried and failed multiple times, until one day she ripped a piece of blotting paper from her son’s school notebook and stuck it into an old tin pot in which she had punched some holes. What she did next will sound familiar to many: She added ground coffee and poured hot water over it. The beverage dripped through the paper, straight into the cup.

Cleaning up was easier and more hygienic; the used paper filter went straight into the trash, with no more handling of messy grounds.

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The company she founded with her husband still makes filters today. From a desire to reduce one’s annoying housework to success: a truly inspiring story to ponder while drinking your seventh cup of the day.