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How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker: 8 Alternative Methods

I personally feel that everyone should know how to make coffee without a coffee maker. There is nothing quite disheartening as waking up in the morning, excited for your cup of liquid gold, and realizing you don’t have a coffee maker to help you with the process.

If you’ve ever been camping or traveling, then you’ll understand the pain.

How to make coffee without a coffee maker

It goes without saying that a drip coffee maker or a coffee machine makes a perfect cup of Joe, but if you happen to find yourself without one on hand, there are ways to brew coffee without them.

In this article, we’re going to cover how to make coffee without a proper coffee brewer, so you can get your caffeine fix wherever you are and your morning is never ruined again.

Coffee Bags

Coffee bags

This one is quite possibly the simplest way of how to make a coffee without a coffee maker or coffee pot, but it does require some pre-planning. 

Coffee bags are similar to tea bags, but instead of tea leaves, they contain coffee grounds.

If you have a particular coffee you enjoy, you may find they also have a line of coffee bags.

These make an excellent alternative for those days you’ll spend away from home and your beloved coffee machine.

One of the best things about the coffee bag brewing method is that coffee bags are extremely compact, so you only need hot water to transform them into a delicious cup of coffee

What You’ll Need: 

  • Coffee Bag – Research your favorite coffee brand and see if they stock coffee bags. If not, branch out, take a stroll down the grocery store aisle and pick up a selection of coffee bags to try on your next adventure.
  • Hot Water – Hot (but not boiling!) water is the key to a great cup of coffee using this method.

How to Make Coffee With the Coffee Bag Method:

  • Step 1: Boil water using a kettle, pot, pan, gas stove, or microwave. Whatever you have on hand will do. Remember, you want your water just below boiling temperature; otherwise, your coffee could be left with a bitter taste.
  • Step 2: Take your favorite coffee mug and pop your coffee bag in there like you would with a tea bag. 
  • Step 3: Pour your hot, but not boiling, water into the coffee cup and fill to the desired level. 
  • Step 4: The amount of time you leave the coffee bag in the water for will determine how strong or weak your coffee will be. Letting the coffee steep for 2 – 3 minutes will provide you with a weaker cup, whereas 5 to 6 minutes of brewing time will present a stronger beverage. 
  • Step 5: Once your coffee has been brewed for your chosen amount of time, remove the coffee bag and discard it.

DIY Coffee Bags

Sometimes pre-planning isn’t possible, so if you didn’t happen to pick up any coffee bags, there is also a couple of DIY methods to get your hot coffee whenever you crave one most. 

The first is to replace the contents of a tea bag with coffee grounds. Simply make a slight hole at the top, carefully extract the tea and pour in your ground coffee. When adding the water, make sure only the bottom half of the bag (which contains the coffee) is submerged. 

If you don’t have tea bags on hand, don’t worry; you don’t have to resort to instant coffee just yet.

Instead, you can make your own coffee bags with coffee filters. 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Hot water – Again, hot, but not boiling.
  • A coffee filter – The paper filter you use for your regular coffee maker will do.
  • Coffee grounds – Roughly two tablespoons.
  • String – Preferably one that won’t melt when heated.

How to Make Coffee With a DIY Coffee Bag: 

  • Step 1: Heat water to just below boiling temperature. 
  • Step 2: Take your usual amount of coffee grounds (roughly two tablespoons) and place them in the middle of a coffee filter. 
  • Step 3: Tie the top of the filter with a length of string. Take into consideration the fact that coffee expands when you add it to hot water, so leave some room inside the bag for this expansion to happen.Likewise, make sure the string is long enough for you to pull the bag out of the mug. 
  • Step 4: Put your DIY coffee bag into your mug and pour in your hot water. Fill up your cup to your desired water level, making sure to fully submerge the bag. 
  • Step 5: Brew for 2 – 3 minutes for a weak coffee or 5 – 6 minutes for a strong coffee. 
  • Step 6: Once your coffee has brewed completely, remove the bag by pulling on the string and enjoy!

Improvised French Press

If you’re a huge fan of French press coffee, but have forgotten your French press or don’t have one readily available, then there is a way to improvise. 

Making a faux French press requires items that you’d find in most kitchens and is a great way to brew amazing coffee without any fancy equipment. 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Hot water – Just below boiling temperature.
  • Two clean mugs – One will be for drinking and the other for brewing.
  • Freshly ground coffee – Any of your favorite coffee grounds can be used for this process.

How to Make Coffee With an Improvised French Press:

  • Step 1: Grind your coffee beans to a coarse grind. Roughly two tablespoons are suitable for 250ml of water, but you can add more or less, depending on your preference for strength. 
  • Step 2: Place your coarse grounds into one of the clean, empty cups. 
  • Step 3: Pour in just enough water to cover the grounds. Remember, you want the water to be hot, but not boiling. Wait around thirty seconds for the grounds to bloom. 
  • Step 4: After the thirty seconds are up, pour in the remainder of your water, filling up the cup in the process.
  • Step 5: Allow your coffee to brew for four minutes. You can choose to keep it brewing a minute less or more, depending on how strong you like your coffee.
  • Step 6: Slowly pour your coffee into the cup you’ll be drinking from. The four-minute brewing period would have allowed the grounds to sink to the bottom of the cup, so stop pouring roughly 30 millimeters from the bottom to avoid transferring the wet coffee grounds. To coffee grounds from ending up in your drinking cup, use a strainer or hold a spoon on the edge of the cup while pouring.

Make a Simple Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee

Cold brew coffee is another method that requires some pre-planning, but if you’re an iced coffee lover, this one is for you. 

To clarify, cold brew isn’t just brewed coffee poured over ice; instead, the term refers to the process behind making the beverage. 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Water – cold or room temperature water is needed for this brewing method.
  • Ground coffee – Two ounces of coarsely ground coffee.
  • A jar – A sealable mason jar works perfectly for cold brew.
  • Cheesecloth strainer – If you don’t have a cheesecloth strainer, any cotton fabric will work as a substitute.

How to Make a Cold Brew Coffee: 

  • Step 1: Mix about two ounces of your chosen coarse ground coffee with two ounces of room temperature water in a mason jar you can seal. 
  • Step 2: Allow the coffee to steep overnight for anywhere from 12 to 14 hours. The longer it steeps, the smoother the brew will be. 
  • Step 3: Once the coffee has steeped, strain it through a cheesecloth strainer. Be careful not to squeeze the coffee, as doing so will result in a bitter brew. Instead, take your time and allow the coffee to drip through naturally.
  • Step 4: Dilute the cold brew concentrate by adding equal amounts of coffee and water. You can also make the final product stronger or weaker by varying how much water you add. Serve over ice and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Makeshift Coffee Filter

Next, we’ll show you how to make coffee without a coffee maker with a makeshift filter.

If you don’t have a Chemex, a Hario, or a Kalita on hand, you can still make a delicious coffee with some materials lying around your kitchen. 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Hot water – Just below boiling temperature. 
  • Paper coffee filter – If you don’t have a coffee filter, use a cheesecloth or a kitchen towel. You may need to double the cheesecloth over to avoid coffee grounds making their way through.
  • Freshly ground coffee – Add your usual amount of ground coffee.
  • Paper clips or elastic bands – These will hold the filter in place.

How to Make Coffee With a Makeshift Coffee Filter: 

  • Step 1: Take your filter, whether that be a standard coffee filter, cheesecloth, or cotton fabric, and fold it into a square. You want it to fit in the mouth of your mug, leaving roughly two inches to hang over the sides.
  • Step 2: Clamp the filter, cloth, or fabric over the sides of the cup using your clips or elastic bands. You want the clips to be tight, so the cloth doesn’t move while you pour in the hot water. 
  • Step 3: Grind your coffee to a medium-coarse grind. 
  • Step 4: Place your ground coffee into your filter, spreading the grounds equally over the surface.
  • Step 5: Boil water and let it cool for thirty seconds before pouring just enough water onto the filter to wet the grounds.
  • Step 6: Allow the grounds to bloom for around thirty seconds.
  • Step 7: Pour in the remainder of your water in four intervals, with around thirty seconds between each pour. 
  • Step 8: Once the water has seeped through the makeshift filter, carefully remove the clips and discard before drinking your pour-over coffee.

Microwave Method

If all you’ve got is a microwave, you can strop stressing: your cup of morning joe may be closer to perfection than you think.

It won’t be the best-tasting coffee and it certainly won’t meet the standards of your favorite local barista, but at the end of the day, you’ll still end up with a delicious cup of coffee. 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Coffee grounds – Two tablespoons per cup of coffee.
  • Water – Cold or room temperature water works fine. 
  • Microwave – You could also substitute the microwave for a kettle or saucepan over a stove, as all you’re really doing is heating the water.

How to Make Coffee With a Microwave: 

  • Step 1: Fill your mug with water and place it in the microwave for two minutes. The water should be hot but not yet boiling.Alternatively, you can heat the water on a stove or in an electric kettle.
  • Step 2: Stir in your coffee grounds. Don’t be alarmed if they make a sizzling sound; this is normal. 
  • Step 3: Let your mug sit for four minutes to allow the grounds to settle to the bottom of the mug. 
  • Step 4: Enjoy your coffee, making sure to leave a sip or two at the bottom as it will be full of the coffee mixture.

Strainer Coffee

Next, you’ll learn how to make a coffee without a coffee maker with the simplest stovetop coffee method available: boiled coffee.

All you need to start brewing coffee are coffee grounds, a strainer, a pot, and water. 

The best type of strainer to use is a double-layer mesh strainer, which will ultimately prevent any grounds from entering the cup. 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Ground Coffee – Two tablespoons of your favorite ground coffee.
  • Hot Water – You’ll slowly bring your coffee to a boil.
  • Kettle or pan – A saucepan is ideal, but you can also use a kettle.
  • Mesh strainer – A double-layer mesh strainer works the best for strainer coffee.

How to Make Coffee With a Strainer: 

  • Step 1: Measure out your water and place it into your saucepan or kettle.
  • Step 2: Add your coffee grounds into the water and stir it in. If you use a kettle, the clean-up process could be a little awkward, so a saucepan is preferred; however, it is still possible. 
  • Step 3: Heat the water and let it boil for roughly two minutes; stir occasionally while the water is boiling.
  • Step 4: Remove your saucepan or kettle from the heat. 
  • Step 5: Hold the mesh strainer above your mug and slowly pour the coffee through. The strainer will catch any coffee grounds and prevent them from entering your mug.

The Cowboy Coffee Method

Cowboy coffee

There was once a time when coffee makers weren’t as ubiquitous as they are today, while some types didn’t exist at all.

So, how did our ancestors make coffee without a coffee maker or a drip machine?

Well, they used the Cowboy Method. 

This coffee is called “cowboy coffee” because it is simply made over a campfire.

Although the campfire is the traditional way of making this coffee, you can also do it with any heat source available to you. 

As this method is basic, the quality of your coffee will ultimately decide whether the outcome is a pleasant one.

So, don’t be stingy, and treat yourself to some high-quality coffee beans or grounds. 

It’s the least you can do without a coffee maker.

What You’ll Need: 

  • A heat source – This could be your camp stove or if you’re camping, your campfire will work perfectly.
  • A pot or pan – A small pot is ideal for cowboy coffee.
  • Ground coffee beans – Two tablespoons of medium to finely ground coffee.

How to Make Coffee Using the Cowboy Method:

  • Step 1: Fill your saucepan with slightly more water than you’d usually use when making coffee. Not only will some water evaporate, but there will also be some left in the bottom of the pan later on with the coffee grounds.
  • Step 2: Place your pan on your heat source and bring the water up to a boil.
  • Step 3: Add your coffee grounds. If you like stronger coffee, add more than two tablespoons, and if you prefer it on the weaker side, add less. Cowboys didn’t have spoons back then, so you could even go the traditional route and eyeball it. 
  • Step 4: Remove the pan from the heat source and cover it immediately. Wait around four to five minutes to allow the grounds to settle to the bottom. Once they have settled you can pour your coffee into your chosen cup.

Turkish Style Coffee

Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee is rich and thick, and although Turkish people traditionally brew it in a cezve, you can also brew it in a pan.

Granted, it won’t be exactly the same as if you were to brew it with a cezve, but the whole point here is you don’t have one to hand, so you need to compromise somewhere.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Hot water – Just below boiling temperature.
  • Finely ground coffee – Turkish coffee is not filtered, so the grounds become part of the drink.
  • Sugar – Only if you take sugar in your coffee, that is.
  • A pot or pan – A small saucepan works great.

How to Make Turkish Style Coffee Without a Cezve: 

  • Step 1: Take six ounces of cold water for every cup of Turkish coffee you’re making. 
  • Step 2: Heat the water on a low heat and add in two teaspoons of finely ground coffee per cup. If you take sugar in your coffee, you should also add it into the water at this point.
  • Step 3: Once the coffee is almost boiling (it may take a while as you’re heating the water on low heat), remove it from the heat source. 
  • Step 4: Skim the top layer of foam from the pot and place it into your coffee cup.
  • Step 5: Return the pot to the heat source and allow the water to almost boil again. 
  • Step 6: Pour half the coffee into your coffee cup and place the pan back on the heat source. 
  • Step 7: Heat for another thirty seconds and pour the remainder of the coffee into the cup.With Turkish coffee, the grounds will also be transferred into the cup, so it’s best to wait a minute or two for them to settle to the bottom.

How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker: Our Final Thoughts

People have been enjoying a morning cup of coffee for centuries, and they didn’t always have a coffee maker to hand.

Different variations of how to make coffee without a coffee maker have evolved over the years, and thankfully we can attempt to make coffee with items lying around the house.

As we wrap up on our different ways of making coffee, we’re intrigued to know if you have your own brewing method?

Are there any crafty ways of how to make coffee without a coffee maker that we’ve left out of our list?

Let us know in the comment section down below!

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