This study investigated a range of phenol–formaldehyde–aniline-based pyrolysed carbon matrices and their component materials, for their ability to adsorb a range of inflammatory cytokines crucial to the progression of sepsis. The efficiency of adsorption of the target molecules from human plasma was assessed and compared to that of Adsorba® 300C, a commercially available cellulose-coated activated charcoal. Results indicate that a number of the primary carbon/resin materials demonstrate efficient adsorption of the cytokines studied here (TNF, IL-6 and IL-8), comparable to other adsorbents under clinical investigation. Our findings also illustrate that these adsorbent capabilities are retained when the primary particles are combined to form a pyrolysed carbon matrix. This capability will enable the engineering of the carbon matrix porosity allowing a blend of carbonised particle combinations to be tailored for maximum adsorption of inflammatory cytokines. The present findings support further investigation of this carbon material as a combined carbon-based filtration/adsorbent device for direct blood purification.