It’s always delightful when an automotive company makes something that isn’t for automobiles. For instance, Volkswagen is famous for its currywurst, and Chrysler built the first stage of the Saturn 1B rocket — fuel for your stomach and your imagination, then. Believe it or not, that same sort of diversity can also be found in auto parts if you know where to look. It turns out that Mann makes filters for both your car and your morning beverage.
Mann is Huge
In case you aren’t familiar with Mann+Hummel GmbH, it’s a German company founded in 1941 which, as with any Germany company of the time, means it was involved in some deeply bad things. Formed out of the clothing company Bleyle, it initially licensed filter production from Mahle for instruments of combat, but quickly diversified into household goods and plumbing. However, things turned around after the war when the West German public needed more and more cars. In the decades since, Mann became an OEM supplier for marques like BMW and Volvo while building a formidable oil filter empire with multiple brands across the globe.
If you’ve recently bought a Purolator or WIX oil filter, that filter was made by Mann+Hummel. Purolator was purchased by a Mann+Hummel and Bosch joint venture in 2006, with Mann+Hummel buying out Bosch in 2013. In 2016, Mann+Hummel bought the filter business of Affinia Group, the vague-sounding parent company of WIX and Filtron. Oh, and in case you’ve ever wondered if the Purolator oil filters guys were ever the same people as the Purolator courier guys, they were one and the same until 1987.
[Editor’s Note: Purolator, Wix, and Mann are the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to oil filters. I buy them exclusively, along with the cheapest API-rated oil I can find.
Watch the video above to see an oil filter teardown. There are lots of these on YouTube, and they’re fun to watch. People have very strong opinions on oil filters as a result of watching these oil filter comparison videos. -DT].
Part Number KF 100/4.
Diving deeper, the scope of Mann’s business is absolutely enormous. In addition to the automotive sector, Mann is a player in the food and beverage sector offering membrane filtration for de-alcoholizing wine and beer. Its filters can be found in vacuum cleaners, range hoods, furnaces, and drinking water systems. Mann’s even been in the healthcare industry for more than six decades, offering filtration-related tech for operating rooms and hospital wastewater.
Needless to say, Mann is absolutely huge and it’s branched out beyond automotive filters. While I’m running a German-made Mann HU 816 X in my 325i, I’m growing intrigued by part number KF 100/4. It’s a pack of size-four coffee filters, available from Mann’s merch shop for less than two Euros. That seems like a fair price for 100 coffee filters, and there are some other perks too. The charming green-and-yellow packaging feels very Wes Anderson, the unbleached finish is reassuring for no real reason, and there’s just something hilarious about your oil filters and coffee filters coming from the same place. There’s no promise of 99.5 percent filter efficiency and removal of all particles above 10 microns (this is how a typical Mann oil filter is rated), as I joke in the headline, but Mann is a company that knows filtration better than almost anyone.
You can tell that these coffee filters are aimed at the European market because of the selection of languages printed on the carton. German, Dutch, French, Norwegian, and Finnish are all represented, just in case you’ve ever wondered what “suodatinpussi” means in English. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if these coffee filters work in North American machines because they feature precisely zero moving parts and are fairly universal fitment.
While I don’t have WorldPac access because I’m not a shop, but if you do work at a shop, I’d love to know if part number KF 100/4 comes up as anything in the system. Worst-case, a variety of online vendors including Mann’s own merch shop offer the filters so you can brew with precision or whatever. I’m not entirely convinced you’d notice a difference compared to any other brand of coffee filter, but sometimes it’s more about joy than anything else.
(Photo credits: Mann)
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On a related note, K&N sells furnace filters.
This is exactly the type of content that makes me love this website ! Apart from the big stories on rescuing cars or buying/selling cars or moving to LA, the tiny tidbits of information that come to light makes it an unfiltered joy to read on here.
Mann+Hummel is currently rapidly expanding past oil filters, because they can obviously see that EV’s require a lot fewer filters… While this coffee filter is more of a gimmick, it shows how the company is trying to transform itself from an auto supplier, into a true “filtration” company. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out for them!
What’s the rating on these? How often do you need to replace them? Once a year? Every 10,000 cups?
Speaking of filters, does anyone know how long an oil filter is good for? I bought a Toyota cartidge filter like 10 years ago and never used it. Been sitting in a garage cabinet the whole time in the box.
Well, the seals are the only thing that could really deteriorate, which are normally just O-rings on a cartridge filter anyway. If they still seem supple I’d use it. Eventually the plastic will become brittle, but I think that would take a lot more than 10 years. However, the flipside is that it’s a $5 part protecting a $5,000 problem, so if you have any doubt then it probably isn’t worth the risk.
Those would be ideal for a garage coffee maker
I used to use Mann or Purolator filters in my BMW motorcycle but the most recent filter kits are Mahle branded which is sort of full circle
Good news! Classic Volvo International (CVI) will deliver a box of Mann KF 100/4 from Sweden to the US! Cost $4.33.
Bad news! They charge $31 shipping via UPS with no other shipping options.
Bumping up to 13 boxes somehow triggers free shipping for me to the states. Brings the total to €21.84, or €2.18 per box, 15% less than the boring generic ones at my local grocery store after you take currency conversions into account. Hmmm. Is ~4 years worth of coffee filters worth it?
Hey Autopian staff!!!
New product suggestion for your “merch” store. Stock up now!
Ooh, they’re the kind I like, too–unbleached, with the little tab at the top. Watch out, Melita!
But is it compatible with my JDM Hario V60 dripper for pour over?
Just checked my NAPA listings. No KF100/4. I would love to throw some on the shelf here.
Probably on galactic backorder like everything else out of Gastonia. *Grrr*
Chicago DC here, curious where you hail from.
Not quite the same, but I found out a couple weeks ago that Princess Auto (sort of a Canadian Harbor Freight) has their own brand of coffee now (from a Winnipeg roaster), and it’s also perfectly decent coffee!
Please tell me that Princess Auto coffee is sold under their ‘Power Fist’ brand name.
Having been to both, I would bet that Princess Auto and Harbor Freight get their tools from the exact same places in China. Marginal quality at low prices.
Surprisingly, no, it’s just Blue Truck Coffee.
And for those who wonder, the store started on Princess street in Winnipeg. Did not know about the coffee, hopefully better than the parts cleaner in the urn in the store
I can use my Peugeot pepper grinder on my VW currywurst and use the Mann filter to brew some coffee, excellent
I received a Peugeot pepper grinder as a gift, and I had wondered if it was some sort of promotional item.
Nope the brothers Peugeot made all sorts of things, I had a hand drill made by them way back, the grinders are way good
Purolator is the most reliable shipping company in Canada.
When I order something online and it ends up with them, I know it will show up when promised.
That’s b/c there’s a P in your name…
I had always thought that it was just a coincidence that the courier and filter company had the same name. Learned something new today.
I like how when I have deliveries listed as “signature required”, they are kind enough not to bang on my door and bother me, but instead they creatively hide my package somewhere in the garden so it doesn’t get pinched.
Got a couple Mann filters in the garage right now. Quick search for the coffee filters yielded no results in the US 🙁 That box would make a cheeky display next to a shop coffee maker.
Uh, “It’s a four-pack of coffee filters” is quite wrong, it’s a pack of Size 4 Filters.
looks like a 100-pack