How to Make Coffee Without a Coffeemaker

It's easy to brew coffee without a machine. All you need is a few basic kitchen supplies.

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Ein Glas voller Kaffeebohnen

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Millions of us count on coffeemakers to deliver the invigorating elixir of life. In fact, more than a few people can barely function at the most-basic level without their morning coffee.

That's why kitchens around the world are stocked with coffee machines ranging from basic to extravagant. It's a rite of passage, or at the very least an everyday routine, to shuffle to the kitchen in a barely awake fog and stab the button on the coffee machine.

Perhaps you are treated to freshly ground and roasted beans brewed in an elaborate digital thermal coffeemaker with built-in grinder. Or maybe you're low-maintenance and just want coffee and want it fast. That's all well and good, until the power goes out or the coffeemaker goes kaput. What now?

Old-fashioned java fix

Way back in the good ol' days before there were machines that would automatically whip up a cup of delicious, piping-hot coffee, people still managed to brew a cup o' joe. Think Clint Eastwood out on the range with a tin cup and a campfire — he enjoyed some fresh brew before galloping off to corral bad guys. Sometimes the very old-fashioned way is the way to go, and many people still believe that the best-tasting coffee is simply made with coffee and water.

We'll admit that nothing really compares to freshly roasted grounds and hot, crystal-clear water, but don't write off the "old" way just yet. Heck, once you experience the taste, you might channel your inner Josey Wales and sidle up to the stove with a tin cup. Here are some popular, tried-and-true ways to make coffee without a coffeemaker.

It's simple with a saucepan

Low on kitchen supplies? No worries; a few basics and a stove will have you sipping hot java in no time.

  • Pour water into a saucepan and stir in coffee grounds. The amount of grounds should be the same amount you'd use in a coffeemaker.
  • Set the burner to medium-high and bring the coffee to a boil. Stir occasionally and boil for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let sit for 4 minutes, then use a ladle to scoop the finished coffee into a mug. No ladle? Just pour it slowly from the pan so the grounds stay in the pan and don't land in your cup.

A hankie and a Mason jar

Who knew that a humble handkerchief could be a key player in creating coffee? You'll need a couple of binder clips or plain ol' clothespins for this method.

  • Set the hankie (you can also use any clean cotton cloth) over the jar and secure with the clips. Allow enough slack so the cloth dips into the jar in a pouch shape.
  • Scoop a single-cup helping of coffee grounds into the hankie pouch and pour a little water over the grounds, letting them soak in.
  • Slowly pour the rest of the water over the grounds, remove the hankie and grounds and drink up!

The French-press imposter

French-press coffee is wildly popular, and it can be made in things other than its namesake apparatus. Here's how to duplicate the taste with just a mug, bowl and measuring spoon.

  • In a deep bowl, add 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds for every cup desired.
  • Pour a little boiling water over the grounds to saturate, and then add the amount of water needed for the intended number of servings.
  • Use the tablespoon to press the settled coffee grounds to the bottom of the bowl, hold the spoon in place, and pour the brew into a mug. Repeat for each serving.

A little imagination and some basic kitchen tools will keep your mug filled!

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