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How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

August 03, 2020 6 min read

How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

There's nothing worse than waking up early, stumbling into the kitchen, and discovering - to your absolute horror - that the coffee maker isn't working. You haven't got time to find the fault or to fix it, but you have to get your caffeine fix before starting the long day!

Don't stress. There are still plenty of simple and creative ways to brew up your favorite cup of joe whatever time of the day you need it. From making stovetop coffee to makeshift coffee filters- here's how to make coffee without a coffee maker!

How do you make coffee without a coffee maker?

Sure, a coffee maker does make brewing a pot of coffee a lot easier in the morning. After all, with just a push of a button, you'll have coffee brewing in seconds!

But appliances break, or you might find yourself on a camping trip with coffee grounds but no electricity. When that happens, you can get back to basics and make use of the principles behind a coffee maker, but without the machine. Using a little creativity, you can get a piping cup of java that tastes just like it came from a coffee maker.

Coffee makers work by heating water and then passing that hot water through ground coffee beans. Coffee makers utilize a filter, and the water will pass through the filter, leaving the ground coffee behind as it slowly drips into your coffee pot below.

The same process can be recreated using stovetops, saucepans, or the humble coffee pot. There are several ways to make coffee without a coffee maker, but we will be specifically looking at the following:

  • Stovetop coffee
  • Coffee pot
  • Makeshift filter coffee

Can I add hot water to ground coffee?

The simplest way to make coffee without a coffee maker is by adding hot water to coffee grounds. If you're in a rush, just boil water in your kettle, or heat some water on the stovetop then pour it into a mug with the coffee granules.

Our coffee experts recommend sticking to a ratio of 2 tbsp of coffee grounds for every 6 oz of hot water.

  1. Measure out the coffee grounds into your mug.
  2. Saturate the coffee grounds with a small amount of hot water to keep them at the bottom of your mug.
  3. Top your mug off with hot water.
  4. Allow the coffee to sit for about 4 minutes for the best flavor.
  5. Sip and enjoy!

Can you drink ground coffee without filtering it?

Yes, you can drink ground coffee without filtering it, but the more specific methods we'll show you below will help to filter out the worst of the leftover granules, for a much smoother brew in the morning!

As you can imagine, a particular problem with making coffee without a coffee maker is the lack of a filter. Adding hot water to coffee grounds does work, but you're left with grainy coffee that can be unpleasant to drink if you're used to drinking filtered coffee.

How to make coffee on the stovetop

The most effective method of making coffee without a coffee maker is the classic stovetop and saucepan combination. This stands as one of the most traditional ways to brew coffee. It's still used in many cultures across the world today, and beloved by campers everywhere.

You'll need a saucepan, a stovetop, and your choice of ground coffee. In terms of coffee to water ratios, we recommend 2 tbsp of coffee grounds for every 6 oz of water.

Speed up the process by using a gooseneck kettle to boil the water before transferring it to the saucepan.

The stovetop method goes as follows:

  1. Bring the kettle to a boil.
  2. Transfer the boiling water to a small saucepan.
  3. Turn the heat up and bring the water to boil once again.
  4. Reduce to low- medium heat, and add your coffee grounds to the boiling water.
  5. Once the coffee grounds have settled to the bottom, allow it to brew for approx. 5 minutes.
  6. Using a ladle, dip out the freshly brewed coffee without disturbing the granules at the bottom.

How to make coffee with a pot

Your coffee maker might be broken, but you might have a coffee pot sitting in the back of the cupboard. What better time to learn how to use it!

Coffee pots (also commonly called Moka pots) use the same coffee making principles as coffee makers or the saucepan method. Compared to the saucepan method, though, things are a little more streamlined. As with the other techniques, you'll want 2 tbsp of coffee grounds for every 6 oz of water.

Coffee pots, or Moka pots, are heated on the stovetop. They use pressure to filter hot water upwards through the pot, rather than to drip downwards.

Boil your water in the kettle, then follow the method below:

  1. Fill the bottom layer of your coffee pot with hot water from the kettle.
  2. Add the filter, and fill this second layer with your ground coffee.
  3. Place the top section of the pot over the filter and turn the stovetop on medium heat.
  4. Leave the coffee pot to simmer on the stovetop until the top chamber is full of freshly brewed coffee!

How to make coffee with a filter

Coffee makers use a built-in filtration system to keep your freshly brewed coffee separate from the leftover coffee grounds. Using the saucepan method doesn't filter out the coffee grounds, but there are a few different ways to make coffee with a filter.

Use a strainer

The easiest way to filter out your coffee grounds is to use a strainer. Chances are, you probably have one lying around in the kitchen anyway.

Use the saucepan method outlined above, then when the coffee is brewed, pour it through the strainer into your cup. This will keep your fresh brew nice and smooth by filtering out the coffee grounds.

Use paper filters

If you have a pour-over coffee maker, then you are likely to have plenty of paper filters tucked away somewhere.

Simply brew up your fresh coffee in the saucepan, then place your paper filter over a coffee cup, or over the coffee pot that's part of your coffee maker if you're making a big batch. Slowly pour the coffee through the paper filter to separate the leftover granules.

Using paper filters is essentially the same as the pour-over method of brewing coffee.

Makeshift Coffee bags

You can get wonderfully creative, too, with your paper filters. Wrap your coffee grounds up inside the paper filter, and tie it off with a small piece of string. The small parcel of coffee will look like a teabag, just with coffee instead of tea!

  1. Place the coffee bag into your mug.
  2. Boil your kettle, and pour it into your mug.
  3. Allow the coffee bag to steep in hot water to get a proper brew.
  4. When it's strong enough, simply remove and discard as you would a teabag.


Another way to make coffee without a coffee maker is to prepare a cold brew. This method uses cold water instead of hot water, and it takes quite a bit longer to make.

Leave your ground coffee in your pot or mug and allow the coffee to saturate the cold water slowly. As the water is cold, this is a long process. You'll need to leave a cold brew to steep for at least 6 hours, so it's not practical to make in a quick pinch.

If you discover that your coffee maker is broken the night before, though, you can whip up a cold brew, leave it overnight, and enjoy it first thing in the morning.

A cold- brew is also a great alternative during the summer when it is just too warm outside to drink hot coffee.

How to make instant coffee

Coffee purists might hate it, but there's no denying that instant coffee really does make for a quick, practical back up when all else fails!

Some revile instant coffee, but its genuinely appreciated by those in a hurry. Instant coffee is easy to make and lasts a long time in the cupboard, so don't be afraid to keep a tub at the back of the pantry for times like this.

  1. Place 1 or 2 tbsp of instant coffee granules in your cup.
  2. Boil the kettle, then pour in hot water.

The coffee granules should dissolve quickly in the boiling water, and you won't be left with any unwanted granules at the bottom of the cup.

Take control of your coffee experience

If your coffee maker stops working in the morning, don't panic. There are so many other great ways to make your favorite cup of joe using ground coffee. Stovetops, filters, pots, and even the dreaded instant coffee are all simple alternatives to the coffee maker!

Why not bookmark our handy guide for the next time you need to make a pot of coffee without the help of a coffee maker?

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