How To Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker?

Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 31, 2023
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Imagine waking up one day and not being able to make a cup of coffee? The coffee shop is too far away and you need your daily dose of caffeine. Or there is a power shortage or your coffee maker doesn’t work? Alternatively, you’ve decided to bond with nature and you’re far away from the civilized world. Have no fear. This article will guide and show you how to make coffee without a coffee maker.

Methods to consider

There are a variety of ways that you can make the type of coffee you want, whether you wish to have a warm or a cold one, regardless of the fact that you may not have a coffee maker. These methods range from cold brewed coffee for which you do not need a coffee maker but just coffee beans, a jar, water and a coffee filter, to hot coffee using a pan and water. We will cover most of the manners in which you can make a nice cup of strong coffee without having a coffee maker. We will also share the methods of making a cup of coffee under extreme conditions and show you how you can prepare coffee using the saucepan method, the coffee bag, strainer, ‘faux’ French press, microwave, cold brew, cowboy methods and many more. A cup of coffee, without a coffee maker, can be made both indoors and outdoors, depending on where you are and what type of options you may have. And if you want to keep your drink hot, we recommend reading our selection of the best coffee thermoses.

Before you start, we suggest always using freshly ground coffee, freshly roasted beans, making sure you have the right temperature water, and most important, work with what you’ve got.

Sauce pan method

Let’s start with the simplest way of making a hot cup of coffee without a coffee maker. This option is the best for when you have limited supplies handy but are in need of a hot cup of coffee. This can be prepared on your stove or over a fire, in case you are away from home.

All you need are coffee grounds, water, a saucepan (or any other similar) and a spoon.

It would be great if you also had a ladle, but regardless, the spoon will do the trick. And of course, you’ll need a mug to in order to properly enjoy your drink. The method is simple: Pour water in the pan, add the desired amount of beans and keep in mind that some of the grinds’ flavor will be diminished during the boiling so you might want to add a bit more than usual. Stir the coffee grounds, and bring your coffee to a boil, while stirring from time to time. Let the coffee boil for a few minutes without covering the pan. Turn off the stove or remove the pan from the fire and let the grounds sit in the water for about 4 minutes. Scoop the brewed coffee into the mug using your ladle (if you have one) or your spoon, leaving the grounds in the pan. If you do not have a spoon, simple pour the coffee directly into the mug, making sure you don’t let any grounds in the mug.

Lastly, enjoy your freshly brewed cup of coffee, made without a coffee maker.

Coffee bag method

How To Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker?Using coffee grounds, hot water, a filter, a string, and a mug (certainly) start by pouring into the filter the desired amount of coffee grounds, about a single serving. Close the filter at the top, much like a teabag, a tie it tightly using the string and leaving a long end, again, just like a teabag. Heat the water any way you can whether it is through a kettle, a pot, the microwave or a fire. Place the coffee filter bag into the mug and add the hot water. Leave the bag in the water for some four minutes, or more, depending on weather you would like a stronger or weaker cup of coffee. Remove the bag from the mug and enjoy.

Strainer method

Another way of making a cup of coffee in case you don’t have a coffee maker is the straining method.  However, in this case, you need a strainer that has very small holes as this will keep your coffee grounds from going into your coffee mug, making the taste bitter.

As is an all other methods you will definitely need coffee grounds, water, a kettle or saucepan, the strainer. And certainly a mug.  Pour the amount of water that you wish depending on the number of coffees that you want to make and add the coffee grounds.

Let them boil for about 2 to 3 minutes then remove the saucepan from the heat, place the strainer above your mug and pour the coffee through, making sure that any coffee grounds are left in the strainer otherwise your coffee will taste bitter.

Handkerchief Method

This is a very environmentally friendly technique that takes a little bit more time than the other methods. For this to work you will need hot water, binder or paper clips or something similar and a clean handkerchief, linen or cotton cloth (or any type of similar cloth as long as it’s clean and will do the trick).  You also need a mug or a mason jar.

The first step is to take the coffee mug and place the linen/cotton cloth over the mug and gently pressing down. This will look like a pouch inside of the mug. Now use the clip to secure the cloth and make sure that once you pour the coffee, the clips have secured the cloth and are strong enough to hold it tight. Pour the coffee beans in the pouch add a small amount of hot water and leave it for at least 30 seconds or more. Now add the remaining amount of hot water. Remove the cloth and the clips and enjoy your coffee.

French press

If you are a French press coffee lover but your coffee maker is broken or perhaps at the moment you don’t have one there is no need to worry.  The faux French press method is your savior. You will need coffee grounds, hot water, and a spoon. Start by placing one tablespoon of coffee into your bowl and then add a little bit of boiling water. Let the grounds in the water for a little while and add the full amount of hot water for your coffee. Let it stand for about 4 to 5 minutes and when the grounds have settled to the bottom of the mug, use the spoon to gently press against the coffee grounds at the bottom of the bowl.  The final step is putting your coffee into your mug very slowly and carefully making sure that the press grounds that are the bottom of the bowl remain there. There you have it your French press coffee without a coffee maker.

Cowboy method

How To Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker?Don’t be frightened by the name of this method, as there will be no need for boots or a horse. This is a simple way of making coffee and can be done both indoors and outdoors. The things you need are few in number but, if done right, the coffee may turn out to be quite good.  You’ll need coffee grounds, a kettle, a source of heat (fire, stove, etc.), a pan or a pot and of course, as always, a mug/cup.

Start by filling the pan with water, adding a little more water than you would normally use and place it over you stove/fire. When the water boils, add the coffee grounds and immediately remove the pan from the heat and cover it. Wait four to five minutes before you uncover the pan. Once you see that all grounds have settled to the bottom of the pan, you’re ready to serve your coffee. If the grounds haven’t settled, try sprinkling a little cold water on them to help them sink.


The microwave method is another great option for coffee making when you do not have a coffee maker. Among maybe the simplest methods, all you will need are coffee ground, water and a microwave. The mug is a must. Pour water into your mug, pop it in the microwave until the water is hot, but not boiled. Take the mug out, add in a tablespoon of coffee grounds and allow them to sit in the water, until they get to the bottom of the mug. Enjoy you cup of coffee, but watch out for the last sip and make sure you don’t get any grounds into your sip.

Few extra tips

In case you find yourself missing some of the things needed in each method, don’t hesitate to be creative. If you don’t have a coffee filter, use paper towels and make sure to double the amount. You could also use a piece of clean cloth, like a towel or a handkerchief, preferably cotton. As a rule of thumb, use around 2 tablespoon of coffee for every six ounces of water.

Wrapping it up…

How To Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker?Depending on where you are and what you have available, don’t be afraid to experiment and use the methods that is most suitable for you. If you are at home, we recommend the strainer, microwave or the saucepan method, which is the method that produces the best tasting coffee. If you find yourself outside and have only a fire available, go ahead and use the cowboy method. And if you still want to use the standard method of making coffee, you may be interested in our selection of the best thermal coffee makers that will keep your drink hot for a long time. It’s important to get your daily dose of this excellent drink, and once you decide on a method, the rest is easy.

The upside to this is that there is no fuss in cleaning your machines, the coffee is fresh and the grounds release their natural taste, no additions alter the taste of the ground coffee beans and you can be resourceful in the methods you use and the tweaks you apply to each.

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