How To Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker: 6 Ways To Brew Without A Coffee Maker - Twisted Goat Coffee Roasters

How To Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker: 6 Ways To Brew Without A Coffee Maker

Apr 30, 2023Meagan Mason

Most of us rely on our coffee makers to get our cup of morning java whether it be brewing coffee or instant coffee, as long as we are making coffee to kickstart the day.

Considering we're so reliant on these machines, what would happen if they were not accessible?

Off hiking in the woods? Camping? Or worse, what if one morning you woke up and your coffee machine won't turn on?

A morning without a coffee?

Don't panic, there are still some alternative ways to get some coffee in your system. This article is all about ways how to make coffee without a machine, so keep reading.

Coffee brewed using these alternatives won't compare to your favorite morning cup of hot coffee, but at least you'll get your java fix while you wait for your new coffee maker to arrive, or get back to civilization if you are out exploring.

Here are some alternative ways how to make coffee without a coffee maker (yes it is possible to still brew amazing coffee).

What can I use instead of a coffee maker?

Believe it or not, a coffee maker is not the only means to making coffee.

With only a handful of accessories, equipment, and coffee grounds you may well forget your coffee maker is on the blink after a few days of using alternative coffee-making options.

And while we may not want to think of finding ourselves in this situation, it could happen, and being prepared with the knowledge of how to make coffee without a coffee maker will come as a true blessing.

So, let's jump in and find out how.

1. Make Your Own Coffee Bags

During the 18th century, French folks brewed their coffee like their tea, using a makeshift coffee bag. If it worked for them, they must work for you as well, right?

What You Need:

  • Ground Coffee

  • Hot Water

  • Coffee Filter

  • Cotton String

  • Coffee Cup 

Brewing Method - DIY Coffee Bags - How to make coffee without a coffee maker

  1. Scoop a single serving of your preferred coffee grounds into the coffee filter.

  2. Carefully close the filter tightly, forming a pouch of coffee grounds.

  3. Using the string, tie it securely, leaving one end to hang outside your mug just like a tea bag.

  4. Boil water using any available method, such as kettles, a microwave, or even a pot of hot water as long as you heat water to boiling point to be sure it is safe to drink.

  5. Place your makeshift coffee bag into an empty mug.

  6. Being careful not to overfill your cup, slowly pour hot water into the mug.

  7. Allow the coffee bag to sit for about four minutes. Let the coffee steep and increase or decrease the time according to how strong you want your coffee.

  8. Remove the makeshift filter bag and discard it before drinking. Who said you only need fancy equipment to enjoy a morning coffee? This coffee bag method has saved many distressed individuals.

2. Cowboy Coffee

This cowboy coffee technique would be especially helpful if you have limited equipment in your current situation.

Using a saucepan, you can make coffee without a machine right on top of your stove using boiling water.

Stovetop coffee is quick and easy and one of the more popular options when thinking of how to make coffee without a coffee maker.

What You Need:

  • Coffee Grounds

  • Ladle

  • Small Saucepan

  • Spoon

  • Coffee Mug

  • Water

Brewing Method - Using a Saucepan - How to make coffee without a coffee maker

The saucepan method

  1. Pour the cold water into the saucepan or the small pot will work just as well. Remember to use slightly more water than the amount of coffee you want to produce since you'll lose some of it to boiling and soaking.

  2. Stir your coffee grounds into the water. Use the same amount of ground beans you would when using coffee makers.

  3. Set the stove to medium-high heat and wait for your coffee to boil. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the coffee grounds and the pan.

  4. Boil the coffee mixture for just under 2 minutes.

  5. Place your makeshift (coffee filter) coffee bag into an empty mug, again with the string hanging outside like a tea bag tag.

  6. Remove the small pot of boiling water from the burner and let it sit for about four minutes, allowing the coffee grounds to settle down.

  7. Leave the coffee filter bag to sit for about four minutes. Using this DIY coffee bag means you can increase or decrease the steeping time per your coffee strength preference.

  8. Using a ladle, scoop brewed coffee into your mug, being careful not to take grounds with it. If you don't have access to a ladle, you can pour coffee slowly and directly from the pan through a saucepan mesh strainer to prevent any ground coffee from getting into your cup.

While it may not be the world's most amazing coffee you have ever tasted or made, you will have successfully conquered the art of knowing how to make coffee without a coffee maker. Win-win. This way you will always be equipped with a hidden skill for making coffee (without a portable coffee maker).

3. Hanky Coffee - Using a Cloth

This strainer method requires patience, but it also guarantees you won't have coffee grounds in your coffee. You may also use a mason jar instead of a coffee mug to change things up.

What You Need

    • Coffee Grounds

    • Clean cloth (such as linen or cotton cloth, or a hanky)

    • Binder clips or clothespins

    • Hot Water

    • Mason jar or coffee mug 

Brewing Method - Using a Cloth - How to make coffee without a coffee maker

1. Place a clean cloth across the top of your mug, then gently press on the center to form a pouch big enough to hold a service of ground coffee.

2. Using binder clips or clothespins, secure the cloth in place. Make sure to use enough clips to prevent the cloth from falling into the coffee.

3. Scoop one serving of coffee grounds and pour it into the pouch.

4. For two minutes, boil your coffee uncovered.

5. Pour a small amount of hot water over the coffee grounds, allowing at least 30 seconds for the grounds to soak completely.

6. Carefully and slowly pour in the rest of the hot water. Make necessary adjustments to the clips if they are starting to slip.

7. Remove the cloth along with the grounds, and enjoy your freshly brewed coffee.

4. Turkish coffee

This Turkish coffee method is not the full, traditional technique, but unlike the quicker cowboy method, the longer preparation time offers a decadently flavorful brew at the end.

Turkish coffee often has a thick, creamy texture to it, and while we will get close to what you know, it will take just a little bit of patience to perfect it without a coffee maker.

What You Need

  • Saucepan

  • Fresh grounds (superfine)

  • Wooden spoon

  • Water

  • Espresso cups

Brewing method - Stovetop method - How to make coffee without a coffee maker

  1. Use a measuring cup to measure around 16 ounces of cold water and add it to the saucepan. Add in your ground coffee at 2-3 spoons per cup of cold water and stir.

  2. If you want to boil water and coffee together for a few minutes until you see the liquid begin to foam, remove it immediately and let the foam reduce.

  3. Once the foam has settled, repeat the heating process for a deeper flavor, but remove the boiling water coffee mix before it boils over. You can skip this extra step if you have concerns it will be too bitter.

  4. Then once it has stabilized pour your hot coffee into your cups slowly. And don't be alarmed if there are still coffee grounds inside the pot, this is normal.

  5. I like to pour water into the pot while it is still reasonably warm to rinse out the remaining coffee grounds and throw them in the sink using a paper towel as a makeshift filter to discard in the bin.

5. Improvised French press coffee

We are still using the same components and essential tools in this, what some like to call a faux French press method, but the results are as delicious a coffee as ever.

The main difference between the true French press coffee maker recipe and this improvised French press version is that the coffee is initially saturated and you don't necessarily have a plunger.

Let's dive right in.

What you need

  • Ground coffee - the more coffee the stronger the result

  • Stovetop kettle

  • Large spoon that will fit into the kettle opening

  • Your mug of choice

Brew method - French press - How to make coffee without a coffee maker

  1. Scoop 1-2 spoons of ground coffee into a large bowl, big enough to hold the water.

  2. Boil water, enough for how much coffee you want to make, and a little extra that can be lost during boiling water. You can always use a measuring cup to get the ratio even more accurate.

  3. If, however, you don't have a stove to hand, the microwave method of boiling water in the microwave works just as well, but be sure to keep an eye on it to not spill over. The more common tea kettle is another option.

  4. Once the water is boiled, add a small amount to the coffee grounds to begin the blooming process. This is where the carbon dioxide is released in the brew coffee and enhances the overall flavor profile. Leave this to sit for 30 seconds.

  5. Then add up to 8 ounces of the boiled water to your French press coffee and leave to steep for a few minutes in your homemade coffee brewer (your bowl).

  6. Lastly, use the back of your spoon to press the ground compacted and to separate them from the water. You can continue to press as you pour the ready coffee into your cup. Some people opt to use coffee filters when pouring to prevent any stray granules from floating into their cups.

6. Cold brew coffee

Cold brew coffee, too often confused with iced coffee, is why making coffee is so worth the wait.

Unlike an iced coffee which is essentially ready coffee poured over ice, a cold brew coffee requires a little time, patience, and effort, and the wait is worth every sip.

In the summer months, you may well be craving iced coffee (and this is where instant coffee will come in handy), but once you know how to make a cold brew coffee without a coffee maker, you won't want anything else.

What you need

  • Freshly ground coffee

  • Water (many people prefer filtered cold water but there is not too much difference in taste)

  • A strainer or cheesecloth is great too

  • Ice

Brew method - Cold Brew - How to make coffee without a coffee maker

  1. Mix equal parts of coffee and water in an airtight container. A mason jar works well here and leave it to steep overnight in the fridge. If you make a double portion leave the second batch for up to 24 hours for an even smoother taste profile.

  2. The next day, strain the coffee mix through the cheesecloth. Do not be tempted to squeeze the mix to speed up the process, this will increase the chances of bitter oils seeping. Leave it to do its thing.

  3. Once strained, you will have a coffee concentrate. This needs to be diluted with water before drinking. Take 1 cup worth into your glass, dilute with water to your preference, and top with ice. The remaining concentrate can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

  4. This is the perfect option to have on the table at the next summer BBQ. Fill your regular coffee grounds water kettle (there are so many designer models available) with the ready-diluted cold brew and guests can serve themselves a taster of this decadent coffee beverage.

  5. A side note - Many people ask if you can instant coffee for this, and to be honest, it is not recommended. Instant coffee does much better when dissolved in lukewarm hot water to be fully immersed and to extract the flavors. Cold water will not have the same effect.

Other Questions

What is the easiest way to make coffee?

And the cheapest?

We have all seen films with canteens where a drip machine is nestled in the corner for employees to take from at their leisure. This is because staff needs to be in and out when grabbing a coffee, and the tea kettle just takes too long for the water to boil.

With a drip coffee maker, hot water is poured over coffee granules in a paper filter and allowed to drip through to the coffee pot.

Cheap, cheerful, and your quickest coffee option when time is of the essence.

Can you drink ground coffee without filtering?

Simply put, yes you can. But you should try to avoid this as much as possible. Studies have shown that unfiltered coffee with added oils not trapped by a filter has a significantly 30% higher cholesterol rating per serving.

But you don't need to have a fancy filter to make a 'safer' coffee, if you have ever tried a cowboy coffee using the cowboy method when out in the mountains you will know all too well that anything from a filter to a hanky can be sourced as a strainer alternative.

Is it worth buying a coffee maker?

Now, we know what you are thinking. If you have all these incredible ways of making coffee without a coffee maker why invest in one, to begin with?

Well, if you are an avid daily coffee drinker then trying these perfectly temporary coffee-making options can quickly become less fun. They may even become your nuisance, and the last thing you need is to be making coffee with a bad vibe.

This list is for when you are adventuring around the world, when the electricity has shot and you need to get to work but cannot without a much-needed coffee, then your arsenal of survival coffee techniques will come into play.

We have all had those mornings where nothing seems to be going our way. The alarm shut down, the house is in an uproar, and the drama of trying to get the kids out the door for school is only escalated by a coffee maker that decided to take the day off.

Then by all means, dig out your stovetop coffee maker, but until then, treat yourself to a great coffee machine and sip great-tasting caffeine.

Without A Coffee Maker? You Will Now Survive 

These are just some of the creative ways you can make coffee without a coffee maker. Most of us are very dependent on using coffee makers to get our needed dose of coffee.

However, unexpected situations can happen and it would be very helpful if we know a couple of alternative ways how to make coffee without a machine.

We suggest adding a great pour-over coffee maker to your kitchen and your backpack for the ultimate coffee backup! Because we can never have enough coffee, right?

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