coffee without a coffee maker

How To Make Coffee Without A Coffee Maker

It’s the morning. You need caffeine. But you have no fancy coffee maker at hand. What’s a coffee lover to do!?

I’ve found myself in this situation several times. Usually when waking up in an unfamiliar location and not having access my espresso machine. For a person that’s likely addicted to coffee this isn’t a pretty sight.

In order to combat these scenarios I’ve developed a process of scouting my location and making the best coffee available with the tools at hand. Today we’re going Macgyver style and learning how to make coffee without a coffee maker.

Making Coffee Without A Coffee Maker


There are three main scenarios you’ll find yourself needing to make a coffee without a coffee maker. These are:

  1. At your own home – preparation is key
  2. Someone else’s place – we’re going Macgyver style
  3. The great outdoors – the Bear Grylls of coffee

We’ll be covering each of these locations and outlining the gear you’ll need to buy or salvage.

Manual Coffee At Home

First up is your own domain.

The lesson here is to be prepared by investing in some simple manual coffee equipment. They’re inexpensive, efficient and make a great brew. So if your coffee maker ever breaks or you just feel like a change, you have a great back up in place.

Below is my favourite method for making coffee without a coffee maker at home, the Aeropress.

Home Method 1 - The Aeropress

aeropress manual makerYou’ll need the following:

The steps:

  1. Insert your filter into the brew champer and pre-wet
  2. Grind some course coffee and put it into the Aeropress chamber.
  3. Add hot water and give it a stir.
  4. Then extract the brew into your favourite mug with the magic of air pressure.

The neat thing about the Aeropress is that its much less acidic when compared to other brew methods such as french press.

Alternatively if you don’t want to buy new gear and need coffee asap keep reading on as in the next section we’ll be covering how to make a great tasting coffee with no traditional brewing equipment. AKA going Macgyver style.

The Unknown Kitchen

Here’s where we need to get a bit creative. When waking up in an unknown home the first thing you’ll need to do is quickly scout out the location of the kitchen. Hopefully you’ll find either some ground or whole coffee beans. If not you’re out of luck. But we’ll be positive and presume you find some coffee.

But let’s up the challenge.

Let’s say there’s no aeropress, french press, chemex or any other random coffee maker. All you have is pots and pans and some ground coffee. Okay I can hear you say, “easy — just boil some water, put the ground coffee in a mug, and pour the water in.”

Yes this is the must most straight forward method, but it isn’t the tastiest. Not to mention the ground coffee beans that’ll be floating all over the place. That’s why I’m fond of the Turkish coffee in these situations. But we’ll be making it in a normal cooking pot instead of the traditional cezve/ibrik.

Salvage Method 1 - Turkish 'Pot' Coffee

use a pot to make turkish coffeeYou’ll need to salvage the following to get started:

  • The smallest pot you can find.
  • Ground coffee.
  • A spoon to stir – or anything that’s long and non-flammable.

The steps:

  1. Grab the smallest pot you can find.
  2. Add one cup of water to every one tea spoon of finely ground coffee.
  3. (Optional step: add sugar into the pot to create a more syrup like brew).
  4. Now it’s time to boil. The key to great turkish coffee is to boil it twice. Set the stove to medium-low heat and start boiling till the coffee starts bubbling up. Give the coffee a stir, then repeat the process one more time.
  5. Your Turkish ‘pot’ coffee should be ready now. Find some tiny cups to pour them in and enjoy the thick syrupy coffee taste.

That was pretty easy wasn’t it?

But what if you have no pots or a stove to heat the coffee on, are we stuffed?

Think again. It’s time to save the day with cold brew coffee.

Cold brew coffee is one of the easiest and most tasty methods of making coffee without a coffee maker. It’s literally the process of submerging ground coffee in cold water.

But here’s the kicker: the recommended brew time is 12-24 hours.

So you better start making it the night before. But the wait is definitely worth it!

Salvage Method 2 - Cold Brew Coffee

cold brew without a coffee makerSalvage the following for cold brew:

  • Get a bowl, mason jam, tupperware container – anything that can hold water that won’t leak.
  • Plastic wrap or kitchen towel.
  • A strainer or absorbent paper.

The steps:

  1. Fill your container with 2 cups of cold water to 1 cup of ground coffee.
  2. Give the coffee and water a good stir, then put plastic wrap over the container (or kitchen towel to seal it).
  3. Place the cold brew container in the fridge for 12 hours minimum.
  4. Get the cold brew out and find a strainer – alternatively make your own with some absorbent paper.
  5. Strain the coffee into a new container, pour and enjoy! You can also add milk and ice-cream to the brew to mix things up.

Phew! Cold brew is a bit more complicated. But how will we tackle the next challenge – making coffee in the outdoors.

Coffee In The Great Outdoors

Finally comes the great outdoors. Be it a picnic, out hiking or camping, we coffee addicts need caffeine to enjoy mother nature’s beauty. But making coffee without a coffee maker in the outdoors requires preparation, even more so when there’s no electricity involved.

That’s why the key to making great coffee outdoors resonates with Scouts’ motto – be prepared.

The following are some great outdoor coffee making methods you can take on your next adventure.

Outdoor Method 1 - Jiva Coffee Cubes

It doesn’t get any easier than this. Jiva Coffee Cubes are cubes of premium coffee that have no artificial flavouring or preservatives, just add hot water and you’re set to go.

no coffee maker required with jivaWhat you’ll need:

The steps:

  1. Put a Jiva Coffee Cube into your cup.
  2. Add hot water.
  3. Done!

I told you it was darn easy. It’s also much better tasting than conventional instant coffee.

Now not everyone is outdoorsy enough to make a fire to heat the water needed for coffee.

And cold brew is rather difficult with no electricity…(unless you’re in the alps).

That’s where the following method kills two birds with one stone: it’ll heat your water and make your coffee.

Outdoor Method 2 - Jetboil Flash Coffee

make coffee without an espresso machine with a jetboilWhat you’ll need:

The steps:

  1. Add water into the Jetboil
  2. Turn the propane on and watch the water boil up post haste!
  3. Add in your ground coffee and brew
  4. Put in the french press accessory and plunge
  5. Get caffeinated! You can even use the Jetboil as a carry cup. Neat!

And that wraps up our guide on how to make coffee without a coffee maker!

As you saw there’s a few methods. Be that with some manual tools or Macgyver instincts, good tasting coffee can be made without a coffee maker. It just requires a little bit of know how and primal desire for that sweet, sweet coffee.


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