I'm house-sitting for a friend who always uses those paper coffee filters set in a little cone shaped holder. These little paper cones must be purchased, and there's always the danger of running out.
I've discovered a super simple method, that takes no more time. The cone shaped holder in the first photo, is made with stainless steel wire mesh that is very fine. I fill it with coffee grounds, and pour water through it. If it's in a small cup, the water must flow through fairly slowly. I use it in a wide cup, that allows the coffee to sit in a bath of hot water.
Here are the steps.
1. Put the desired quantity of grounds into the cone.
2. Set it in the cup.
3. Pour water over the grounds and continue until the cup reaches the desired level.
4. After allowing it to steep for a short time, lift it out and empty the grounds into the compost. Hold it upside down and flick. Most material will fall into the compost.
5. Rinse the reusable cone.
This takes about the same amount of time as using the disposable cone. There's a little more work involved in dumping the compost and rinsing, but a paper cone does not have to be retrieved and placed. Both methods are quicker than using and cleaning a French press.
I'll describe what I'm doing for single serving coffee; it's stupid cheap and very good coffee but rather fiddly and depends on some unique sourcing.
A lot of people aren't fans of brewed coffee (grounds soaked liked tea). A currently-popular ridiculous alternative is the Keurig "pods" brewer -- a $75 to $250 machine (depending on features) that forces hot water rapidly through an envirommental nightmare of a single-use plastic-and-foil pod ($.75-$2.00) containing coffee and filter. It makes pretty good coffee, expensively and conveniently, if you don't mind the cost and the externalities.
Well, I found a working machine at a garage sale for $3.00.
They sell filter baskets so you can use your own coffee in 'em -- this costs you some of the convenience, but it's still very fast, very good single-serve coffee if you use a fairly fine dark roast. However, the reuseable pod-baskets they sell for thist are as stupidly over-priced as the machines, usually more than $10.00 for a few penniesworth of plastic and mesh.
They ALSO sell tiny paper filters you can use inside the little baskets. These make the coffee slightly better by increasing the brew time slightly, and they drive up the up-front fiddle factor by making it harder to load the coffee, but they make getting grounds out again easier. And the tiny filters compost OK. But the price is stupid, like $7/100 -- contrasting with a stack of vastly-larger filters for an 8-cup drip brewer that costs $1.50 for 250.
It turns out that baskets and filters alike can be bought from China for near-nothing (under two dollars delivered) if you don't mind waiting six weeks for delivery.
So that's my current tinkery futz when I want a really good cup of really cheap coffee: packing grounds into a tiny paper filter in a tiny pod and putting it into some idiot's cast-off nightmare of a device for having been smoothly separated from his money.