The majority today is dependent on the hands of a coffee maker. These ‘dependent’ people, including myself, have been arrested for the love of coffee and might not be able to function without it.
What could be worse than getting up and not having to try your morning drink I tell you what might be next; a line of curse words for everything. Are you in a bad mood at work? God forbid. What if you want to have a cup of coffee but don’t want to step through the coffeemaker’s sophisticated high-tech and push-button control panels?
Or what if you want to have a cup of coffee early in the morning and you stumble 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!
You can save yourself all of that hassle if you know how to make coffee without a coffee maker. I have put together all the recipes for you that you can use to make delicious coffees if you follow all the instructions correctly. And guess what? They all don’t require a fancy coffee maker.
7 Ways To Make Coffee Without a Coffee Machine
- Cowboy Coffee aka Koke-kaffe
- Tea Bag Method:
- DIY Chemex
- The French Press Method
- The Turkish Coffee
- A cup (a bowl or glass will also do)
- 1 or 2 spoons.
Cupping is the most elementary kind of coffee brewing we have. It’s also a pretty tasty one. So if you don’t have a coffee maker, it’s an excellent occasion to start cupping.
Cupping is both simple and advanced. If you read the official Specialty Coffee Association guidelines, every little step is detailed. But since you’re stuck at home without a coffee pot, you probably can’t follow their protocol perfectly.
Instruction To Make it
- Ideally, you’d use a ratio of 55 grams of coffee to a liter of water, but that’s hard to measure if you don’t have a digital scale.
- A heaped spoonful of ground coffee is usually around 6 grams, and for me, a handful of coffee beans is 12 grams, which should work pretty well for a small mug or cappuccino cup.
- Add coffee grounds to a wide-mouthed cup (glass or bowl is also okay), and fill it to the brim with water a few minutes off the boil.
- A thick crust of coffee should then form. Wait four minutes, and then gently stir the surface to break the crust. After this, some brownish foam will remain on the surface. This foam adds a dry and harsh taste to the cup, so gently skim it off with a spoon.
- The coffee will be ready for sipping now, but it will be really hot, so I usually like to wait for an additional two to four minutes.
If you have never tried cupping before, it might seem a bit weird at first. But after you have gotten used to it, it’s delightful.
I’m accustomed to using cupping as an evaluation tool; however, I have never really tried to use it for ‘plain’ drinking.
It turns out that it’s both a convenient and enjoyable brewing method. You’ll be surprised how little silt there is in each sip when you use the spoon to scoop up coffee carefully.
Of course, you can also skip the spoon and drink directly from the cup. However, unless you’re very cautious, this will agitate the grounds, leaving you with a more ‘dirty’ mouthfeel.
The downside of cupping is that there’s a very high ‘liquid retained ratio’ as is the case with immersion brewing methods in general. With cupping, however, you’ll waste even more coffee than you would with a French press since there’s no filtration whatsoever.
2. Cowboy Coffee aka Koke-kaffe
- A kettle or casserole
- 1 or 2 spoons for stirring
This kind of coffee is called Cowboy Coffee in the US and ‘Koke Kaffe’ in Scandinavia, which can roughly be translated to ‘boiled coffee’.
You can brew it in a regular casserole or, even better, a stainless steel kettle. It’s popular among hunters, Trekkies, and wildlife people in general.
Instruction To Make It
I could give you an exact recipe, but it’s not really in the spirit of this type of coffee.
- You’d heat water to a boil
- Add coffee
- Stir it a few times before letting it steep. For how long? Approximately the time it takes to tell a good anecdote while you sit at the bonfire.
If you want more specific guidelines, this brewing advice for the French press also applies to Cowboy Coffee.
Cowboy coffee is rather simple to prepare, and you can brew big batches easily since most pots have a huge volume compared to the typical specialty coffee brewing contraptions.
There are two main problems with the brewing method as I see it:
- You need to clean your pot or casserole thoroughly. Flavors from your spaghetti bolognese and coffee don’t mix well.
- It’s difficult to pour or scoop up the coffee without disturbing the grinds, which creates a dirty mouthfeel in the final cup.
I struggled to finish my cup of cowboy coffee. The extraction was on point; however, it had a bit of an off-flavor and a slightly dirty mouthfeel.
If you have a steel kettle that has only been used for water and coffee, however, you’ll probably achieve better results.
3. Tea Bag Method
- Any kind of paper coffee filter
If you have paper filters lying around but no coffee maker, the tea-bag method comes to mind intuitively.
Instruction To Make It
- Add coffee grounds to your paper filter, whether it’s cone-shaped or Melitta-style.
- Roll the paper around a few times, and wrap it up securely
- Just dump the paper into a cup, like you would with a normal tea bag.
- You will need a very fine grind size coupled with boiling water and generous, steep time to make it work.
- Also, unless you rinse the paper filter in advance, you’ll have a lot of paper taste diluted into a single cup of coffee, which is not a good idea.
There are some fundamental differences between the small sachets used for tea and coffee filters. Teabags are more porous, allowing for easier extraction.
I learned this the hard way. After 6 minutes of steeping the relatively finely ground coffee, the coffee was more similar to tea when it comes to turbidity. It tasted thin and under-extracted.
I tried to stir the bag around aggressively, which helped. Still, it was a tepid and weak cup after more than ten minutes of steeping time.
After the experiment, I found out that there is an American brand named Steeped Coffee, which uses the ‘right’ tea sachets. No wonder.
4. DIY Chemex
- Paper coffee filter
- Rubber band
- A tall glass
The next method is less intuitive than the tea-bag method, but it’s way more effective.
If, for some reason, you have some paper filters around but no pour-over cone, it’s straightforward to make what you could call a DIY Chemex. It just requires some basic origami skills and tools available in any home.
Instruction To Make it
- First, find a tall glass that looks like it can handle hot liquids.
- Then place your paper filter in the glass and open it gently.
- Wrap the edges of the paper filter around the glass and press the edges to create a fold.
- Then take your rubber band and put it on the border outside the glass, so it keeps the filter in place.
- You now have a DIY-Chemex.
At my first pour, I noticed something unexpected: The paper started to swell up like an airbag, almost compressing the coffee grounds.
I hadn’t considered this in advance, but of course, this was due to the steam not being able to escape from the glass.
I poked a couple of small holes in the filter, and luckily that was enough to let the steam out. From then on, I just continued with pulse pours, making sure not to overfill the small cone.
I was blown away by the flavor. It was as good as a regular pour-over. But due to my slightly unorthodox approach, there was something different about it.
Maybe it was because of my longer bloom time? The frequent, small pours? The higher dose? I’m not sure, but I have to experiment more with this brewing style.
5. The French Press Method
The French press method might be the least effective method to make espresso, but it can get you very close. However, if you follow this method religiously, you will know how to ace this method.
- A French Press
- Finely grind coffee beans
- 2 clean mugs
Instructions To Make It
- Heat the water using a tea kettle at 195-205 degrees.
- Finely grind your coffee in a grinder.
- Use double the amount of coffee you usually do as this coffee will be very finely ground.
- Put the grounds in the French Press.
- Put a small amount of water into the French Press, allowing the coffee grounds to bloom the aroma. (Pouring all the water would also get you to the point, but in this way, you can have a better taste).
- Add the rest of the water to the pour line once the coffee is done blooming.
- Stir gently.
- Add the French Press lid but don’t press it just yet.
- Allow a time of steep according to your preferred brew level (preferably four minutes).
- Slowly take the lid of the French Press down.
- It would be ideal if you transfer this to a serving pot and then later to your cup.
6. The Turkish Coffee
As the name suggests, Turkish Coffee is inspired by the tea of Turkey. The Turkish tea is boiled in a special pot called a cezve. That is where Turkish coffee is inspired from. The specialty of Turkish coffee is the foamy texture from the boiling of water and powdered coffee grounds.
- Coffee grounds (powdered)
- A Turkish pot/cezve
Instructions To Make It
- Add two tablespoons of coffee into a cup of cold water in the cezve.
- Stir gently.
- Place the cezve on low heat.
- When it’s almost near boiling and the foam has risen, take off a little foam out of it and place it in the coffee mug.
- Return to heat.
- Take off the boiled mixture and shift into the coffee mug.
7. In Microwave
Along with instant coffee, making a cup of joe in the microwave is just about the worst way you could rack up a coffee. This method is certainly not one we’d recommend except in an outright emergency.
- Fresh coffee grounds
How To Use It
- Microwave some water in a microwave-friendly mug with a handle for at least 2 minutes
- Remove and add 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds for every 6oz of water
- Let your mug sit steeping for 4 minutes. The grounds should sit at the bottom. Either strain or drink being careful not to drink right the way to the dregs in the bottom. We reiterate, this really is not the way you should be making coffee!
If you are not a regular coffee drinker or do not have access to a coffee maker for some reason, you can make coffee with a microwave for those cold winter mornings. Yes, I know that might sound a little weird.
The coffee purists may think otherwise and say a microwave should only be used to heat water for coffee and then use a pour-over method for the drip. However, we have experimented first hand and seen that making coffee with a microwave is very much possible.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have no coffee maker but still have access to a paper filter, I highly suggest that you try the DIY-Chemex. It works way better than expected.
However, if you can only get access to a cup and some boiling water, I wouldn’t discount cupping. If you’re used to drinking something like French Press, you’d be surprised that cupping tastes a bit cleaner.
Well, you should be absolutely confident now of making a coffee whatever the circumstances. As long as you’ve got any of the basics above to end, there’s no need to leave the house without your caffeine fix!
And don’t feel bad about using a coffee machine if that makes the most sense for you. The point of today was not to suggest crude manual methods are best, merely that you do have options.