How To Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker: Easy Methods


How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker: Most of you people probably rely on your drip coffee maker to provide you with fresh, hot coffee every morning. You may likely have time to brew coffee in a Chemex with freshly ground, home-roasted beans every day, the rest of us wake up, stumble to a pot, push the button, and hope it brews faster.

How To Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker? Brewing Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

You’ve found yourself without a coffee maker, so chances are that the brew that you are about to create won’t be one of your best – but there are a few simple and well-known steps you can take to make sure it’s almost as good.

  • Use freshly ground coffee – Always use freshly ground beans. You only have about 15-20 minutes before your beans start losing some of that goodness that makes them taste the way they do.
  • Use freshly roasted coffee– a half-decent cup of coffee always starts with the beans. You’ll want quality beans that have been roasted within the last 2 weeks.
  • The right water (Temperature and type)- Too hot (boiling water) and you’ll scald your beans, too cold and you’ll under-extract them. The right temperature varies depending on your brew method, but as a guide, the sweet spot is between 195 – 205 degrees. A simple way to achieve this (without carrying a thermometer) is to bring your water to the boil, and let it sit for 30 seconds (the time it). For bonus points, use the right type of water for coffee.
  • Work with what you have– sure, there are plenty of coffee brewing methods that will help you brew amazing coffee, but you’re limited to what items you have lying around. Be resourceful.

1. The Cowboy Method:

Don’t worry. You don’t need a horse or a ten-gallon hat to make this coffee. You can make it almost anywhere, though, as long as you don’t mind just a little bit of grit in your cup of joe. This Method brings you back to the old-fashioned ways of good coffee brewing – your best coffee and nearly boiling (or just boiled) water.

You’ll Need:

How To Make Cowboy Coffee

  • Fill a clean pan with a bit more water than you normally use when you brew your coffee. For example, if you use two cups of water, add an extra 3/4 cup this time. With this saucepan method, some water will be left in the pan, along with the grounds/sludge.
  • Place the pan on your stove (or campfire) and turn on the heat. When the water comes to a boil, add your coffee. A rough amount of coffee is about two tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water, but you can change that depending on how strong you want your coffee.
  • Remove the pan from heat and cover immediately. Wait four to five minutes before you uncover the pan. Once you see that all grounds have settled to the bottom of the pan, you’re ready to serve your coffee.
    If the grounds haven’t settled, try sprinkling a little cold water on them to help them sink.
  • No fancy kettles needed here – you can just pour the coffee off the top onto your cup. You can also opt to use a ladle for more ‘filtered’ servings.

2. A Makeshift Coffee Filter:

No Hario, no Chemex, no Kalita Wave – how the hell do you create pour-over without one? Try this makeshift coffee filter, which lets you use this brewing method with materials you probably already have in your kitchen.

You’ll Need

  • Freshly ground coffee
  • Hot water (just below boiling)
  • A standard paper filter (or something similar if you don’t have one – see below)
  • Large coffee mug

How To Do It

  • Prepare your filter. A clean handkerchief (or alternative filter) and fold it into a square that will fit the mouth of your mug or cup.
  • Clamp the handkerchief securely to the sides of your cup. Check the tightness of the clips to ensure the cloth stays in place while you’re pouring hot water.
  • Grind your coffee to a medium-coarse ground. It is best to use a good quality burr grinder that gives you consistent results.
  • Grinding needed until you reach the first marking or first cup symbol.
  • Placing the ground coffee onto your filter set-up. Give it a little shake to spread the grounds equally on the filter.
  • Boil two cups of water. Once it reaches the boiling point, take it off the heat source. Let the water cool off for thirty seconds.
  • Pour a bit of water on the grounds, just enough to wet the coffee. Let it blooma process common to pour-over methods, showing your coffee is fresh and is releasing CO2 gases – for about thirty seconds.

  • Do four slow pours, one every thirty seconds, until you have used up all the remaining water. If you’re using a thick makeshift filter, you may need to tease the grounds a little with a spoon to help the drip flow.
  • Once this two-minute process is complete, all the coffee grounds should be fully saturated. You can carefully remove the clips and your makeshift filter when all the water has seeped through the handkerchief.

3. The Saucepan Method:

If you’ve got limited supplies on hand, this option will probably work for you.

You’ll Need:

How to Make Coffee (The Saucepan Method)

  • Pour water into your pan. Use slightly more water than the amount of coffee you want because you’ll lose some of it to boiling and soaking into the grounds.
  • Stir the coffee grounds right into the water. The ratio of the amount you would put in your coffee maker and the amount of water should be the same.
  • Bring your coffee to boil at the optimum temperature. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the grounds on the bottom of your pan.
  • Boil your coffee uncovered for two minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for four minutes. This allows the grounds to settle on the bottom. Don’t forget to turn off the stove.
  • A ladle is required to scoop brewed coffee into your mug, without taking any grounds with it. If you don’t have a ladle at all, you can pour the coffee from your saucepan very slowly. The grounds are heavy and will mostly stay on the bottom.

4. Use a Coffee Bag:

This method makes use of your favorite coffee bag – it’s similar to a teabag, but with coffee grounds inside. (Think of this as a Keurig without the K-cup.) It’s one of the simplest and quickest ways of making coffee without a machine.

You’ll Need

  • Coffee bag (Buy from any supermarket)
  • Hot water (just below boiling) 

How To Use a Coffee Bag To Brew Coffee:

  • Heat water using a kettle, pan, or pot – or simply put your cup in the microwave. Boil water, then immediately turn the heat off. Let the boiled water cool for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour water into a cup and place the coffee bag in it. Make sure to get your grounds-filled coffee bag saturated with the hot water, up to your desired level.

  • The coffee bag should be steeped in the hot water for around 4 minutes. Adjust the strength of your brew by managing the steeping time: 2-3 minutes will give you a weaker cup, 5 to 6 minutes will yield a stronger cup.
  • Once you’ve reached your desired steep time, carefully remove the coffee bag, and discard it.
Also, check out our article on How long does ground coffee last

5. The Strainer Method:

If your coffee maker went kaput and you don’t have any filters, you have terrible luck, and you probably need to make a trip to the grocery store. However, if you happen to have a strainer, things may just turn out okay for you.

But not just any old strainer will do. Be sure to use a strainer with very small holes, such as a double-layer mesh strainer, which will prevent your coffee grounds from going into your cup.

You’ll Need:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Water
  • Kettle or saucepan
  • Mesh strainer (a small, conical one is ideal)
  • Mug

How to Make Coffee The Strainer Method

  • Measure the proper amount of water for the number of cups you wish to make and pour it into your kettle or saucepan.
  • Add the correct amount of coffee grounds for the number of cups you are brewing. Stir it in.
  • Bring the water to a boil and keep it boiling for two minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Pour the coffee through the mesh strainer. The strainer will catch any grounds that come out of the saucepan, as the coffee flows into your mug. Unlike the saucepan method, you won’t need to wait the extra time for your grounds to settle because you’re using the strainer.

6. The Improvised French Press

This is for those times when your French press is not readily available, but you still want to enjoy the rich, oily and flavorful brew that French press coffee provides. It’s similar to the cowboy method, with a little more finesse.

You’ll Need

  • Hot Water (just below boiling)
  • Freshly ground coffee (medium/coarse is best)
  • 2 clean mugs (one for brewing, one for drinking). If you have something with a spout, like a heatproof measuring cup, even better.

How To Do It

  • Grind beans to a coarse grind. You’re aiming for something similar to sea salt. Grind about two tablespoons of grounds for every 250ml/1 cup of water, depending on how strong you like it.
  • Place grounds in a clean, empty cup. Pour in enough hot water (cooled down for thirty seconds after boiling) to cover the grounds – you’re just trying to get them. Wait for about thirty seconds while the grounds bloom.
  • Once the thirty-second blooming time is up, you can then pour the rest of your water onto the grounds in order to fill up your cup.
  • Start your timers and let the coffee brew for about four minutes. (PRO TIP: If you want a stronger cup, extend this another minute; if you want a less aggressive brew, deduct one minute.)
  • Once the time is up, slowly and carefully transfer your coffee to the cup you will be drinking from. This requires finesse, but it shouldn’t be too hard with a steady hand. Your wet grounds will have sunk (mostly) to the bottom of the steeping cup, so don’t pour in the last 30 or so milliliters. 

Conclusion: How To Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

But let’s not foolishly suggest you’d want most of your roasts without a coffee brewer, given the choice. Coffee making is exquisite chemistry that accounts for brewing temperature, a time steeped, roasting dates, and cup temperature. There’s a way the cowboy made his coffee when forced to lasso up an alternative, but there’s a choice we often have that gives the world’s carefully grown and picked coffee the justice it deserves. These are the way to make coffee without a coffee maker.

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