How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

Like most people, you probably rely on your drip coffee maker to provide you with fresh, hot coffee every morning.

While some of you may have time to brew coffee in a Chemex with freshly ground, home-roasted beans every day, the rest of us wake up, stumble to our pot, push the button, and silently beg it to brew faster.

But what happens when that button does nothing? When the water doesn’t heat up? When you have a power outage? Or worse, someone has forced you to stay in a hotel or at a campsite with no coffee maker in sight? If it’s that last one, maybe reconsider the folks you’re spending time with. Before you do that, let’s find a way to get some coffee in you. Depending on what you have on hand, you’ve got several options on How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker.

While none of them will compare to coffee brewed using fresh grounds and piping hot, filtered water, at least you’ll be able to get your java fix before you try to order a replacement drip coffee maker or work on making alternative travel accommodations.

The Saucepan Method

If you’ve got limited supplies on hand, this option will probably work for you. Using kitchen basics, you can brew up a cup or even a pot of coffee right on top of your stove.

You’ll Need:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Water
  • Small saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Ladle
  • Mug

How to Brew It

  1. 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.
  2. Stir the coffee grounds right into the water. Use the same amount you would put in your coffee maker for the amount of water you used.
  3. Set a burner to medium–high and bring your coffee to a boil. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the grounds on the bottom of your pan.
  4. Boil your coffee uncovered for two minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. Use a ladle to scoop brewed coffee into your mug, without taking any grounds with it. A small ladle is perfect for this. 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.

The Coffee Bag Method

Are you one of those people who wakes up with all your synapses firing, ready to take on the day? If so, you can make yourself a little tea bag for coffee grounds, just as the French did during the 18th Century.

First, get out that kitchen toolbox, Morning Person!

You’ll Need:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Hot Water
  • Coffee filter
  • String (any kind will work as long as it’s not coated with wax!)
  • Mug

How to Brew It

  1. Measure a single serving of coffee grounds, then pour it into your filter.
  2. Close the filter tightly, making a little pouch full of grounds.
  3. Tie it with a length of string, leaving one long end to hang outside your cup just like a tea bag.
  4. Heat water using any method you have available, such as a kettle, pot, or even a cup in the microwave.
  5. Place the coffee filter bag you created into an empty mug.
  6. Slowly pour the hot water over the coffee bag in the cup, being careful not to overfill your cup.
  7. Allow the coffee to steep for about four minutes. You may increase or decrease the time as necessary to make your brew stronger or weaker.
  8. Remove the filter and discard it before drinking.

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 Brew It

  1. Measure the proper amount of water for the number of cups you wish to make and pour it into your kettle or saucepan.
  2. Add the correct amount of coffee grounds for the number of cups you are brewing. Stir it in.
  3. Bring the water to a boil and keep it boiling for two minutes.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  5. Hold your mesh strainer above your mug and pour the coffee through it. 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.

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