The world of coffee is far from static, and with the right materials at your disposal, you can make a delectable brew without having to use an actual coffee maker.
Whether you are limited in space or simply don't feel like using a finicky machine, knowing how to brew your favorite drink at home is worth this small effort.
In this article, we will give you an overview of all the various brewing methods that can be used outside of a coffee maker, as well as tell you which method suits your needs best.
Some methods are for those who want to step up their coffee game—others are better for convenience’s sake.
Regardless of the results, be sure to share your coffee with those you love.
NO COFFEE MAKER, NO PROBLEM: ALTERNATIVE BREWING METHODS
Now, it’s time to get to the good stuff. Several alternatives exist for making coffee without machines, so select wisely.
1. THE STOVETOP METHOD
In most homes, the stovetop method is probably the most practical way to go. It requires only a few basic ingredients and some patience.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee, approximately.
- Water to boil.
- First, you will need to boil water in your coffee pot on the stovetop—this should take about 5 minutes at a minimum. Be sure not to burn it or use too much water, as both will impair the overall taste of your drink. If you are using a large coffee pot, then you can reduce the time required for simmered brewing by half or more.
- Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and stir in the coffee grounds, distributing them evenly. Then cover your pot and let it sit for at least a few minutes, though the longer you let it steep the stronger your coffee will be (a good thing). Letting it sit for a minute or two too long, however, will give you strong coffee that tastes bitter. You might want to experiment a bit before going to full-scale brewing.
- When the time is up, pour the liquid into a coffee cup and enjoy.
Use a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula to mix the grounds in with your water—no metallic spoons or utensils.
This will keep acid from seeping into the coffee before it’s ready, giving you bitter coffee. It also keeps Metals from picking up on the flavor of your cup and imparting it to future drink servings.
You can use this method to make alcohol-infused coffee if you like. Simply replace the water with a cup of beer or wine and proceed with the brewing process as directed.
2. THE COFFEE BAG METHOD
It is possible to make delicious coffee using this method, though it does take a little bit of know-how—and patience.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Melitta coffee filters (100 ct.)
- 3 tablespoons of ground coffee for each pot of coffee you wish to make.
- Place the filter into the carafe or cup, then spoon in your three tablespoons of grounds. They must be evenly distributed so that the water has an even chance to seep through and flavor your drink with its goodness. Next, pour boiling water over your grounds until it’s about 3/4 of the way full.
- Let it sit for about 5–10 minutes, and then gently stir the contents with a spoon to ensure that the coffee grounds are evenly distributed throughout the water. Place your carafe or cup on a heat-proof surface and wait for the coffee to finish brewing.
- When you’re happy with the end results, remove your filters from your carafe or cup and enjoy immediately (hint: pour slowly so as not to slosh around too much).
4. THE STRAINER METHOD
Some people want to save some money by using a coffee filter to make their coffee—a bit of a money-saving hack. Want to know how it’s done?
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- A paper coffee filter (like Melitta brand)
- 6 tablespoons of ground coffee
- A standard coffee pot
- Pour your water into the bottom of your standard, non-electric coffeemaker, and set it on the stovetop burner. Bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat. Add your 6 tablespoons of ground coffee, and then cover the coffeemaker with a lid for about 5 minutes.
- Once the coffee is brewing (and remember, brewing is different from steeping), remove your lid off the coffeemaker, stir in the coffee grounds to ensure even distribution of flavor, and then place your paper filter into its frame or holder on top of the pot. Repeat the process, and then remove the filter from the pot.
Use only coffee grounds that are already ground—no pre-ground coffee for this process. For each serving, use 2 tablespoons of grounds. You can use more or less depending on your preferred strength of the brew.
4. THE HANKY METHOD
If you want to make a strong cup of coffee, this method will help you do it with just a hankie and hot water.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 1 hankie (any size, but 8 inches long and 6 inches wide should work well).
- 1 tablespoon of ground coffee (medium texture).
- 1 cup of very hot water.
- First, dip your hankie into a cup of very hot water. The steam will make the hankie wet and warm. Then, wring out the excess water from it with a twist of your hand.
- Place your ground coffee into the middle of a hankie and then wrap the sides around it, tying them together like you would if you were making an apple pie. Try to make sure that the coffee grounds are evenly distributed and not lumped up in one side or corner. The more even you can get the distribution, the better your coffee will taste.
- Place your hankie-coffee package into a mug, and cover it with hot water. Let it stand for about a minute, and then dip your hankie package in the hot water again to make sure all of the grounds are wet.
- Let it sit for another minute or two and then slowly stir the contents to make sure that the grounds are well mixed and evenly distributed.
- Enjoy your mug of coffee!
Use a medium-sized hankie (not too big, not too small). The ideal size should be about 6 inches by 8 inches, which will fit nicely into an average-sized coffee mug.
Experiment with different strengths of coffee, but remember that a medium-strength brew will not taste nearly as strong (more like a weak cup of tea) as a strong brew (more like a shot of espresso).
5. THE FAUX FRENCH PRESS METHOD
6. THE COWBOY METHOD
This is a very simple procedure that requires a little bit of waiting for your coffee to brew, but it’s very much worth the wait.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 1 cup of ground coffee (medium texture). A French press A stovetop burner A kettle or pot
- Make sure you start with really hot water—about 200 degrees F, or even hotter if possible—so that your beans don’t sit around and lose their flavor.
- Grind your coffee as you would normally, but make sure you only grind enough to fill your coffee press halfway. Place the ground coffee in the bottom of your French press and then pour in enough water to cover it. Stir and set aside.
- Put on a lid (and do not screw it down just yet) and set your French press on the stovetop burner over medium heat (but do not let it boil). You want your French press to be hot enough so that your coffee is brewed for the right amount of time. Start timing from when the water starts to boil and don’t forget to adjust the heat on your stovetop burner if you need to.
- Once the time has elapsed, turn off your oven and remove the pot from it. Then, slowly depress the lid of your French press (do not press it down completely) and pour out your finished product into a cup or carafe for serving.
This method is a bit more time-consuming than the other methods, but it’s also quite cheap. You don’t need to use any fancy equipment or expensive ingredients, which makes this method great for college students and people on a budget.
7. COLD BREW METHOD
If you don’t have time to wait for your coffee to brew, the cold brew method is an excellent alternative.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 1 cup of ground coffee (medium texture)
- A large jar or carafe with a lid
- A large mixing spoon
- Add your grounds to your jar and then pour in enough water to cover them completely. Shake the jar every so often to make sure everything is mixed well and that all of the grounds get wet.
- Now, cover the jar with a lid and leave it in a cool place for at least 6 hours. This will let the natural acids in your coffee break down the oils on your beans, and it will also settle your grounds to the bottom of the jar, where they won’t get wet while you make your cup.
- When you’re ready to serve your brew, pour it into a large mug and add cold water until it reaches just above room temperature. Stir and enjoy.
This method is great for people who don’t like the acidity in coffee—it will make your brew very smooth and easy to drink, and it won’t strain your stomach if you have a sensitive stomach.
8. INSTANT COFFEE
There is nothing wrong with instant coffee. It’s not the best, but it can be a lifesaver on those mornings when you just don’t think you have the time to make a real cup of coffee.
But there are some things that you should know about instant coffee in order to make the most of it.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- A few scoops of your favorite powdered coffee mix
- A cup or carafe for dispensing your drink
- A cup or bowl for mixing your coffee
- Add the powdered coffee mix to your mixing cup. Seconds later you’ll have a cup of hot, fresh instant coffee that is really delicious—with no hassles and no waiting for it to brew.
- Make sure you always keep your instant coffee powder in an airtight container or jar so that it stays new and fresh as long as possible.
When choosing your instant coffee, make sure that you only buy one that is completely dry and powdery. If you buy one that’s too moist, it won’t dissolve very well in your hot water and it will give your coffee a really strange texture.
Brewing coffee the traditional way can be relaxing. These tricks mentioned in the article above may be useful at some point, wherever you might take your camping gear.
Even if you’re not an adventurer, it never hurts to be prepared. And hey, you never know: Maybe the next time you go camping, you’ll be able to make some seriously strong coffee with these tips.
These are some methods for making coffee without a coffee maker. If you’re camping and don’t have access to a coffee maker, you can still enjoy a cup of your favorite hot beverage. Here are some creative ideas for making coffee without a coffee maker.
Thanks for reading our article about coffee! If you want to learn more, please share it with your friends and assist your fellow caffeine addicts in their quest to make a perfect cup.
Coffee is an art—and it takes time to master. So be patient and enjoy the process!