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.

July 01, 2022

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Photo taken in Batam, Indonesia


Photo taken in Batam, Indonesia

Photo by: Ilham Aidhil / EyeEm/Getty Images

Ilham Aidhil / EyeEm/Getty Images

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?

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.

Pouring black coffee into coffee cups with heart design. Space for copy. Conceptual.


Pouring black coffee into coffee cups with heart design. Space for copy. Conceptual.

Photo by: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

How to Make Coffee In a Saucepan

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

  1. Add water and coffee grounds to a saucepan. The ratio of water to grounds should be the same that you'd use in a coffeemaker.
  2. Bring to a boil. Set the burner to medium-high and bring the coffee to a boil. Stir occasionally and boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Strain off the coffee. 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. Or, better yet, if you have a coffee filter, use it to strain the coffee from the grounds.
Ein Glas voller Kaffeebohnen


Ein Glas voller Kaffeebohnen

Photo by: NighthawkFotografie/iStock


How to Make Coffee In 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.

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

How to Make French Press Coffee without a French Press

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.

  1. Add coffee grounds to a bowl. In a deep bowl, add 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds for every cup desired.
  2. Pour boiling water over the grounds. Pour a little boiling water over the grounds to saturate, and then add the amount of water needed for the intended number of servings.
  3. Pour brew into a mug. 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. Alternatively, strain the mixture through a coffee filter.

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

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