How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker! (or: Post-Apocalyptic Coffee)
Last weekend my coffee maker broke. Writing those six words still gives me shivers! I don’t just like coffee, I love my coffee and my french press is the only kitchen appliance I can’t live without.
This quick tutorial will show you what I learned about making coffee without a coffee maker. I’ve explained the two methods I tried along with the tips and tricks I picked up, however there are more than 2 options for brewing coffee without a coffee maker, so get creative!
The best thing? No instant coffee (blurgh!).
Table of Contents
Method #1 Emergency Pour over + Makeshift Coffee Filter
This first method was inspired by all of the new and sexy pour over coffee makers you’ve been seeing on the market. It’s likely that you’ve used a professional setup in the past, but never one like this.
Whilst it’s not going to be winning any design awards, this is a proven way to get great tasting coffee in under 10 minutes.
Freshly ground coffee. Coarseness: Medium-fine (just like regular pour over grounds). Here's also some great ideas how to use left-over coffee grounds.
What You’ll Need
2 x Cups hot (not boiling) water
1 x Regular coffee filter (see makeshift alternatives below)
1 x Large mug
1 x Elastic band (see alternatives below)
1 x Spoon
Pro Tip! Makeshift Coffee Filter: No coffee filters? Simply used a spare handkerchief folded in half which worked just fine. You can also use a fine cheesecloth or even strong paper towel at a push.
How to do it
Step 1: Prepare your filter
Place your coffee filter inside your mug, securing to the outside with a rubber band or paper clips
Leave enough space between the filter and the bottom of your mug for your coffee to drip through
Pro Tip: Use a metal sieve. Place on top of your mug. Place filter in sieve
Step 2: Grind your coffee
Set your burr grinder to medium-coarse. You’re after a consistency somewhere between grains of sand and rock salt
Grind roughly 0.7 oz (20 grams) of coffee. I just used the same amount I grind for making my double shot espresso
Don’t spend too much time worrying about the precise amount of coffee. After all, this is an emergency!
Step 3: Boil and Preheat
Boil two cups of water
Pour a small amount of hot water through your filter to preheat everything
Step 3: Coffee into Filter. Brew
Empty the water from your pre-heated mug
Place your freshly ground coffee into your filter
Shake from side to side, evening out your grinds. Just like a regular pourover, this is important for ensuring a proper brew
Pour just enough hot (not boiling) water to wet the coffee grinds. Steep for 30 seconds
If you’ve used fresh coffee (you have, haven’t you?!) you’ll see a thin foam appearing on top of your grinds.
This is called ‘blooming’ and occurs as the fresh coffee grounds release their Co2
Now slowly pour one cup's worth of water over the wet grinds. This should take around 2 minutes in total
If your kettle has a large spout like mine you’ll need to slow things down with four separate pours, leaving 20-30 seconds between each
Pro Tip: Have a thin spout kettle? Slowly pour in concentric circles to get the best brew
Step 5: Drink
Remove your filter. Just be careful to avoid dropping any coffee grounds into your brew
Here’s a quick video showing you how a professional brews with the pour over method. Watch this if you're at all unsure about any of the steps, and you’ll gain a few golden tips at the same time:
Method #2 Coffee Bag Hack + Makeshift Alternative
If the first method isn’t going to win an award for design, this second method isn’t going to win any awards for class. With that said, you can still make tasty coffee in under five minutes without a coffee machine!
What You’ll Need
Hot (not boiling) water
1 x Coffee bag (see makeshift alternative below)
1 x Large mug
1 x Spoon
Pro Tip! Makeshift Coffee Bag Alternative: No coffee bags? Here’s two options for making your own. Plus you’ll likely make better coffee this way thanks to your fresh grinds!
DIY Coffee bag #1
Empty the tea from a spare tea bag
Fill the empty tea bag with a scoop of freshly ground coffee
Tie bag shut with the string
DIY Coffee bag #2
Grab a spare coffee filter
Place one scoop of freshly ground coffee in the middle,
Wrap up the sides and tie shut with spare string or an elastic band
How to do it
Step 1: Boil and Preheat
As always, never use boiling water to make your coffee.
Pro Tip: Preheat your mug with the boiling water whilst you wait for the kettle to cool down a few degrees
Step 2: Brew and Steep
Place your coffee bag into the mug
Slowly pour in the hot (not boiling) water
Wait roughly 4 minutes while the coffee bag steeps. Gently stir a few times, ensuring the water penetrates your coffee all the way through.
Pro Tip: If you prefer a stronger brew, steep for up to 6 minutes. For a weaker brew only steep for three minutes
Step 3: Remove Bag. Drink
Using your spoon, carefully remove the coffee bag
These two methods of making coffee without a coffee maker are not only perfect in an emergency, they’re also great to remember the next time you go camping!
Are you going to try one of these methods of making coffee without a coffee maker? Even better; have you got any tips for improving them? Leave a comment, join the discussion, share with your friends, and help out your fellow coffee lovers!