6 Ways to Make Coffee Without a Coffeemaker

You never go a day without using your coffeemaker…until today. Whether it’s broken or you don’t have power, you’re wondering how in the world you’ll enjoy a delectable cup of coffee without the machine. You do have options, but what are they?

Here are some handy ways to make coffee sans coffeemaker:

  • Cowboy coffee method
  • Coffee bag method
  • Cold brew coffee method
  • Faux French press method
  • Turkish coffee method
  • Stovetop coffee method 

That’s right, you have all these amazing brewing methods at your disposal even if you don’t have a coffeemaker. Keep reading for brewing tips and advice so you can still get your caffeine kick! 

6 Methods of Brewing Coffee Without a Coffeemaker

1. Cowboy Coffee

Back in the days of real cowboys, their lives were anything but glamorous. They’d work for hours at a time, doing rigorous work that would leave them exhausted.

They needed coffee to help them get through their long, physically arduous days. The only problem was that back in those days, coffee machines didn’t exist. 

So how did cowboys drink coffee then, you ask? Well, they made what is still affectionately known today as cowboy coffee.

Cowboy coffee is a very stripped-back coffee recipe, requiring only water, salt, fire, and coffee grounds. 

You need four cups of water as well as an additional ¼ cup, half a cup of coarse coffee grounds, and a pinch of salt. 

Then follow these steps.

  1. Pour four cups of water into a coffee pot. Add the salt.
  2. Light a fire if you’re outside camping or turn your stovetop on if making cowboy coffee inside. If you are using your stovetop, allow a hot flame to generate. The flame needn’t be large, just hot.
  3. Place the coffee pot over the flame, keeping it a good distance from the fire so you don’t burn the pot and char the contents inside. 
  4. After several minutes, the water should be warm but not boiling. At this point, stir in your coffee grounds. Do stir vigorously to avoid any clumps.
  5. The coffee pot should have never left the flames all this time. The water should be boiling too.
  6. Hold the coffee pot with the boiling water over the flames for two to three minutes. 
  7. Allow the coffee to cool slightly for 60 seconds or longer. 
  8. Pour in ¼ cup of water, the colder the better, to help the coffee grounds settle (they might have floated towards the top of the coffee pot).
  9. Grab your favorite mug, pour some cowboy coffee, and enjoy.

Cowboy coffee is smoky and not too sharp. All the boiling cuts the acidity, which is nice if you have acid reflux or heartburn! 

2. Coffee Bag

This next method involves using coffee filters to make a coffee bag. Unbleached coffee filters are best, and the filters should all be paper.

You want a strong filter, so nothing cheap here. You’re relying on the filter to hold the coffee grounds as you tie it with twine. If the whole thing ripped midway through brewing, you’d lose all the time and ingredients.

Here’s everything you’ll need for your DIY coffee bag: one coffee filter, two tablespoons of coffee, twine, a saucepan, and water.

Okay, so let’s get started!

  1. Take one paper filter and lay it flat on an even surface such as your countertop. 
  2. Scoop out two tablespoons of coffee. If you want to be extra-generous with your quantities and make them big tablespoons, that will make a stronger cup of coffee.
  3. Grab one side of the filter and pinch the ends together. Tie them off with twine. 
  4. Then repeat this on the other side. The goal is to make a coffee teabag if that makes sense.
  5. Turn on your stovetop. Take a saucepan and fill it with water. You only need a small saucepan here.
  6. Allow the saucepan to sit on the heat until the water begins boiling.
  7. Carefully lift the coffee bag and transfer it to the saucepan. 
  8. Submerge the coffee bag in water only to the point where the grounds are covered. Allow the bag to sit in the water for 30 seconds.
  9. In your favorite coffee mug, add six ounces of water.
  10. Transfer the coffee bag to your mug and wait four minutes for the coffee to steep.
  11. At that point, you can take the bag out of the mug. 
  12. The coffee should be ready to drink if you like yours black. You can, of course, add cream, sugar, or milk. 

3. Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is a luxury beverage you would never assume you could drink unless you had a coffee machine handy, but you’d be surprised!

Granted, compared to the other methods we’ve discussed to this point, this one will take a lot longer to prepare. We mean a lot longer, like 12 hours at least and sometimes up to 24 hours.

With that in mind, we’d advise you to prepare accordingly. You’ll still be able to enjoy the same concentrated flavor as cold brew coffee made on a machine but sans the coffeemaker. It just takes longer.

You’ll need a mason jar, cheesecloth, a strainer, two ounces of water, and two ounces of coarse coffee. Then it’s time to begin. 

  1. In a mason jar, pour two ounces of water. The water can be room temperature to start or cold.
  2. Add two ounces of coarsely-ground coffee to the mason jar as well.
  3. Put the lid on the mason jar and close it tightly (but not so tightly that you won’t be able to easily open it again). 
  4. Allow the coffee to steep for at least 12 hours. You’ll get an even smoother flavor if you can wait 20 to 24 hours. 
  5. When the time comes for you to open the mason jar, put a strainer over it. Cover the strainer with cheesecloth.
  6. Pour the coffee from the mason jar into a mug but let it pass through the cheesecloth and strainer. Avoid the urge to squeeze your coffee as that will lead to a bitter flavor.
  7. Pour in a little extra water to dilute the coffee, and then add ice and serve. 

4. Faux French Press Coffee

Just as you don’t need a specialty coffeemaker to prepare cold brew coffee, you can also enjoy French press coffee without a coffee machine. Yes, we’re serious! 

This method is much faster than the cold brew one, so you can wake up a little earlier on a weekday, make your faux French press coffee, and then be on your way.

You’ll need a spoon, a bowl, a saucepan, at least a tablespoon of coffee grounds, and water. 

Then follow these steps.

  1. Fill a saucepan with water and turn on the stovetop. Allow the water in the pan to come to a boil, which should take several minutes.
  2. Grab a deep bowl and add at least a tablespoon of coffee grounds. For however many servings of French press coffee, you’re making, you need a tablespoon of coffee.
  3. Carefully transfer some of the boiling water from the saucepan to the coffee grounds. You don’t want to dump the full quantity of water here, only enough to saturate the coffee grounds.
  4. Once you’ve done that, add six more ounces of water for each serving of coffee you’re making.
  5. Take a large spoon and flip it curved side down. Press down on the wet coffee grounds to flatten them against the bottom of the deep bowl. 
  6. Continue pressing while you simultaneously fill the rest of the water into the cup. You might need a second person to do this so you can press down on the coffee grounds uninterrupted.
  7. The coffee is ready to drink as is, but you may wish to sweeten the flavor with cream, sugar, or milk. 

5. Turkish Coffee

As we’ve discussed on the blog before, Turkish coffee is a specialty brew that should be made using finely ground coffee and a cezve, which is a type of unique pouring vessel. 

Since you’re supposed to make Turkish coffee over the stovetop rather than in a coffee machine, it’s the perfect caffeinated brew to prepare in a situation where you don’t have a coffeemaker.

You should really invest in a cezve for authenticity. A cezve is a copper pot with a wider bottom. Searching for a Turkish coffee pot online should make it easy to track one down.

You’ll also need granulated sugar, Turkish coffee grounds (or a grinder to finely grind coffee grounds), and cold filtered water. 

You can make your Turkish coffee even more ultra-authentic by serving it in Turkish coffee cups, but your favorite coffee mug also suffices in a pinch.

Here’s how to make Turkish coffee without a coffeemaker:

  1. Transfer three cups of cold filtered water to the cezve, which is about 1 ½ cups of water per cup of Turkish coffee. Add as well the finely ground Turkish coffee beans.
  2. You can add sugar at this stage, but only if you want the Turkish coffee to taste sweeter.
  3. With a tiny spoon, begin stirring the ingredients to incorporate them. 
  4. When the ingredients are well combined, transfer the cezve to the stovetop.
  5. Turn the stovetop on to medium heat. After about three minutes, possibly four minutes, the water in the cezve should begin to boil. You might see dark-colored foam rising from the top of the cezve at this point or just before the coffee begins boiling. 
  6. Collect some of the foam with a teaspoon and then distribute it into your Turkish coffee cup.
  7. Turn the stovetop off once the Turkish coffee begins to boil. Pour half the coffee into the cup on top of the foam.
  8. Take the cezve and put it back on your stovetop. Allow it to heat up again and let it sit on the stovetop for only 15 to 20 seconds. Watch the time closely. 
  9. When the time has elapsed, turn off the stovetop, take the cezve off the stove, and pour the remaining coffee into the Turkish coffee cup. 
  10. Serve and drink. 

6. Stovetop Coffee 

In a similar vein to Turkish coffee is this last method, which is coffee on the stovetop. Although less sophisticated, perhaps, this fast and effective brewing method without a coffee machine will save your morning.

You’ll need a small saucepan, a tablespoon of coffee grounds, six ounces of water, and sugar. Then follow these steps.

  1. Transfer six ounces of cold water into a small saucepan. Put the saucepan on the stovetop and turn the stove to medium-high. 
  2. For each serving, pour in a large tablespoon of coffee grounds. Again, it’s okay to be a bit generous here. 
  3. If you want sugar, then just as when making Turkish coffee, add it at this early stage.
  4. Allow the coffee to sit on the stovetop until it begins boiling. Stir and let the coffee continue to brew for at least two minutes.
  5. Turn the stovetop off, remove the saucepan from the heat, and give it four minutes to cool.
  6. Transfer the coffee to your favorite mug, pouring slowly to prevent the coffee grounds from reaching the cup.
  7. Add milk, cream, or sugar, and then serve. 

When These Brewing Methods Come in Handy

There are many situations where it makes sense to brew coffee without a machine, so let’s look at this section. 

Your Coffeemaker Broke

Admittedly, you knew that your coffee machine was on the fritz, but you assumed it had more time before it broke entirely. Yet you’ve tried everything this morning, and you can’t get the darn thing to power on.

You could always be late for work by waiting in the long café drive-thru line for a hot cup of coffee, or you can take matters into your own hands. 

Some of the above coffee brewing methods are fast enough that you can have fresh coffee and still leave about on time. 

After work, you’ll feel clear-headed enough to buy a new coffeemaker, thanks to the coffee you had this morning. 

Your Power Went Out

Maybe your coffee machine is fine, but a storm knocked out the power to your house. You have no idea when the power will turn back on, but you’re exhausted and cold and could use a cup (or several) of coffee.

While you must have a stovetop to make a lot of the types of coffee we went over today, cowboy coffee served over a roaring fire sounds like just what you need in a situation such at this. 

You’re Camping

Speaking of a roaring fire, that’s usually all you’ve got when you go camping. You can’t exactly rely on amenities such as electricity as you’re roughing it, so you can always make coffee the way the cowboys did.

Hey, it’s certainly better than nothing! 

You’re Staying Somewhere Without a Coffeemaker 

You chose your vacation rental based on a lot of criteria, but admittedly, having a coffeemaker wasn’t one of them. 

You had assumed the coffee machine would be there, but you’ve looked high and low, and there’s no coffeemaker to be found.

Fortunately, you know that you only need a stovetop to make a variety of different coffee types that will put some pep in your step. 

Final Thoughts

No coffeemaker? No problem! You don’t have to use your old standby machine if it’s not available. Instead, with a stovetop and some ingenuity, you can prepare coffee in six unique and tasty ways. We hope you try them all! 

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