BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A graduate of Homewood High School graduate has invented a coffee filter that is supposed to absorb more acid, thus reducing acid reflux and stains on teeth.

Aaron Stansell, 24, and his partners behind “The Better Coffee Filter” met while attending Georgia Tech University. Since their invention, they have won Georgia Tech University’s InVenture Prize, earning funding for the company.

Photo of ‘The Better Coffee Filter’ provided by Stansell.

Aaron Stansell and his Georgia Tech classmates said part of the idea for the coffee filter came from the fact that he and his partners lived similar lifestyles on campus.

“Just about everybody is late night, they’re on their seventh cup of coffee for the day,” Stansell said.

But a lightbulb went off when Stansell had been downing their usual cups of late night Joe.

“One of us made the comment, man, my dentist is going to kill me for drinking this much coffee,” he said.

Because they had all been complaining about acid reflux and teeth staining, something clicked: there was a need to fulfill. They quickly got to work creating several prototype filters.

Stansell and his team ‘pHam’ working on the prototypes. Photo courtesy: Aaron Stansell.

“We tried to focus on some friends we knew who had really bad acid reflux and heartburn,” he said. “We sort of created our own homemade manufacturing set up where we made them one by one”

The filters are made with organic minerals used to absorb the acid that leads to reflux and decays enamel. Trial feedback was better than they had hoped.

“We gave some of those folks filters, they came back to us and said, ‘I don’t know what y’all have done, but I drink this coffee and I don’t get heartburn,'” Stansell said. “Normally, I take a sip and it’s already flaring up but I drank three cups and nothing.”

Knowing that few like a weak cup of coffee, Stansell and his team began looking into ways to minimize any impact on taste.

“We knew that we were using minerals that were not going to create some crazy flavor profile,” Stansell said. “The goal was just to minimize the impact on taste, we weren’t looking to make a taste improving filter. But maybe we’re doing more than just not impacting the taste – maybe we’re actually improving the taste.”

The true test of the better coffee filter came when the college entrepreneurs brought the filter to their dentist, who coincidentally had acid reflux.

“We tell people all the time to stop drinking coffee for this reason,” Stansell said quoting the dentist they consulted with. “So we’re big fans of the product.”

Based on that feedback, Stansell and his fellow coffee sippers have since gone from assembling prototypes in their college dorms to getting the filter patented. They are now manufacturing the product in the Midwest.

If you’d like to support a young Homewood entrepreneur and sip with less burn and staining, you can order yours now on The Better Coffee Filter website.