7 Ways to make coffee without a coffee maker

Photo of author

Johny Morrisson

There are plenty of ways to make coffee without a coffee maker, from the classic cowboy coffee to Mason Jar Coffee to the art of pour-over brewing, and I’ll cover them all.

Whether you’re camping in the wilderness, stuck in a power outage, or simply looking to simplify your morning routine, learning to brew coffee without a coffee maker is a skill worth mastering.

Humans have enjoyed coffee for centuries, but modern coffee machines are a recent invention from the last century. Before that, people used different manual methods to make coffee.

How to Make Coffee without a Coffee Maker

1. Cowboy Coffee (Making Coffee in a Saucepan)

Cowboy method simply uses coffee grounds, boiling water, and a pot to produce a strong and rich coffee drink. The lack of filters plus intense flavor from boiling and prolonged steeping made it ideal for cowboys needing caffeine quickly on remote cattle drives.

No filters, no paper, no machines – just you, a pot, heat source, and some intensly flavored cowboy brew. It’s a little gritty and bitter, but that’s part of its rustic charm if you ask me.

Cowboy method is best suited for adventurers, campers, and those who appreciate the charm of minimalism.


Things you Need

  • Fresh ground Coffee beans – Medium or Coarse grounds will be the best option
  • Heating Source – That could be a stove in your kitchen or burning wood in case of camping.
  • A pan or a pot of brewing

How to brew 

  • Add water to the pot and put it on the heat source. (Boiling will evaporate some water, so add more water than you need)
  • Wait till the water in the pot starts boiling.
  • After the water starts boiling, remove it from the heat source and allow it to cool for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Now add the ground coffee beans to the water. It is up to you what amount of coffee beans you add to your cup, depending on how strong you like it or how light. However, according to Cowboy tradition, 5 tablespoons of coffee will be suitable for half a liter of water.
  • Now stir the coffee beans and wait for 2 minutes.
  • Now stir again and wait for 2 minutes more, that will allow the coffee beans to settle down.
  • You can also add a small amount of cold water to help the coffee beans settle down easily.
  • Now pour the brewed Coffee into your mug slowly so that the coffee grounds remain in the bottom.
  • Enjoy your freshly brewed Cowboy Coffee.

2. Turkish Coffee (In a Pot or Saucepan)

Turkish Coffee has been enjoyed in the Middle East and Balkans for centuries. It is a simple method of brewing rich and strong Coffee.

Traditionally, Turkish coffee is prepared in a cezve using finely ground coffee beans without filtering. However, you can make a variation of it without a coffee maker.


Things you need

  • Coffee grounds – Use Extra fine Coffee grounds
  • Water
  • A pot

How to brew 

  • Pour 5 to 6 ounces of water into the pot per serving.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee into it.
  • If you like sugar in your Coffee, then also add it now.
  • Set the pot to medium heat and allow it to heat.
  • Stir it till the coffee grounds and the sugar get entirely dissolved.
  • After a few minutes, the Coffee will rise and make the foam at the top.
  • Remove the heat as soon as notice the foam on the top.
  • It is customary to serve each cup with foam. So skim off the foam and add it equally to each serving cup.
  • Again, put the pot on the stove and remove it just before the water starts boiling.
  • Now add it to the cups slowly so that the foam rises to the top.
  • Enjoy your fresh Turkish Coffee

If you like sugar, cream, or milk in your Coffee. Always add them to the brewing pot rather than adding them into the cups after brewing.

3) Make Coffee in a Mason Jar (The Pour Over Method)

Making coffee using a mason jar and using cloth or napkin as a filter is a clean way to make coffee without a coffee maker in a Pour Over style.

It’s a sustainable way to enjoy your morning coffee while minimizing waste from disposable filters.

Making coffee in a mason jar

Things you need

  • Coffee grounds – Fine Grind size
  • Any type of Filter will work (A piece of cloth, Napkin, Paper filters Cotton kitchen towel, paper towel, or Cheesecloth)
  • Mason Jar
  • Paper Clips or elastic rubber bands to hold the filter on the Mason Jar
  • A source to heat water

How to Brew

  • Place the cloth or napkin over the mouth of the mason jar, making sure it’s securely in place. You can use a rubber band or a piece of string to hold it in position.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of fine coffee grounds coffee per serving and spread it equally on the filter.
  • Heat water on the stove until it starts boiling and give it 30-40 seconds to cool.
  • Pour a small amount of hot water (about twice the weight of the coffee grounds) over the coffee. This is called “blooming” and helps release trapped gases, enhancing the flavor.
  • Slowly pour the remaining hot water over the coffee grounds in a circular motion.
  • Let the water seep through the filter, if the filter is thick you have to shake the coffee grounds a little using a spoon.
  • If the filter is thin you have to repeat the brewing process. Pour the brewed coffee in the first step again over the same grounds to make your drink stronger.
  • After all the water is seeped through, remove the filter and enjoy your freshly brewed coffee.

4) Making French Press Coffee without a French Press

French Press is a full immersion type of brewing method that makes a rich and full bodied coffee drink. With simple tools like a mason jar, mesh strainer, and spoon, it’s possible to mimic the French press brewing method right in your home kitchen.

Make a french press coffee without french press

Things you need

  • Coffee grounds – Coarse grind works perfect
  • A Mason Jar or a deep bowl
  • A spoon or ideally a metal mesh strainer
  • Water heating source

How to Brew

  • Start by measuring your coarsely ground coffee beans. A standard ratio is 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water, but you can adjust according to your taste.
  • Heat water to just below boiling, around 200°F.
  • Add the coffee grounds to your bowl or mason jar.
  • Add a small amount of water over the coffee grounds and let it bloom for 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining water, give it a quick stir, and let the mixture steep for 3-4 minutes.
  • Use a spoon to gently press the coffee grounds at the bottom and pour the coffee slowly into your cup. Or ideally, you can place a mesh strainer over the cup while pouring coffee.
  • Enjoy your freshly brewed French press style coffee.

5) Make Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is surprisingly easy to make at home without any fancy coffee gear using basic kitchen items.

By steeping grounds at room temperature for an extended timeframe, you can extract flavor from the beans without the heat or electricity required.

This is the perfect method if you enjoy Iced Coffee or Iced Lattes.

Make cold brew coffee without a coffee maker

Things you need

  • Coarsely ground coffee beans
  • Filtered water
  • A large container
  • Metal mesh strainer or cheesecloth

How to Brew

  • Measure out your coarsely ground coffee beans. A common ratio is 1 cup of coffee grounds to 5 cups of cold water, but you can adjust for taste and quantity. (This is a very high ratio which will brew a cold brew concentrate that you can dilute after brewing)
  • Place the coffee grounds in your large jar or container. Add the filtered water on top and give it a Stir gently to ensure all the coffee grounds are wet.
  • Cover the jar or container and let it steep at room temperature for 12-24 hours. The longer it steeps, the stronger the brew.
  • After steeping, filter the grounds from the concentrated liquid with a Metal mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
  • Dilute concentrate to taste with ice cubes, cold water, or milk.

6) Make your DIY tea Bags of Coffee (The Microwave Method)

Making Coffee with DIY coffee bags is an ingenious way to enjoy quality homemade coffee without the need for a coffee maker.

You can create single-serve DIY coffee bags using supplies like paper filters or a piece of cloth to hold pre-portioned grounds and easily heat the water in a microwave.

Tea bag coffee

Things you need

  • Coffee grounds – Medium Grind size
  • Coffee Filter
  • Water
  • String
  • A pot or kettle

How to brew

  • Place the filter on a flat surface and fill it with coffee grounds. Two tablespoons of coffee grounds for one cup of Coffee are recommended.
  • Close the filter tightly and carefully. Make sure there will be no open spaces for the grounds to escape.
  • Tie the top of the filter with the string and make a bag just like a teabag
  • Heat the water in the kettle or microwave close to the boiling point.
  • Put that filter into an empty mug and slowly pour the hot water into the mug.
  • Allow the Coffee to steep for three to six minutes; the more time you give the stronger the brew
  • Give a filter a little press with a spoon before removing it from the cup
  • Enjoy your tea bag coffee!

7) Use Instant Coffee

When you’re in a hurry or don’t have a coffee maker on hand, making instant coffee is a simple solution. While it won’t produce the best coffee flavor, it’s a convenient way to get your caffeine fix.

Use Instant coffee

What you need

  • Instant coffee granules
  • Hot water
  • A cup or mug

How to make it

  • Boil some water in a pot or kettle.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee to an empty mug or cup.
  • Once boiled, pour 6-8 oz of hot water into the mug over the instant coffee.
  • Stir gently until coffee granules fully dissolve in the hot water.
  • Add any milk or sweeteners to taste.

Tips for making the best coffee without a coffee maker

Here are 4 tips for making the best-tasting coffee without a standard coffee maker

Choose fresh coffee beans

Great coffee is all about freshness. Opt for recently roasted beans and grind them just before brewing.

Stale beans can lead to a bland cup of coffee, while fresh ones burst with flavor.

The grind size is important

Different brewing methods require different grind sizes.

For methods like French press and Cold brew, use a coarse grind; for Turkish-style coffee, go fine, and for Pour Over style methods Medium grind size is the best.

The right grind ensures the perfect balance of flavors in your cup.

Always use the right water temperature

Water that’s too hot can burn your coffee, while water that’s too cold won’t extract the flavors properly.

Aim for water between 195°F and 205°F for optimal brewing.

Make coffee less bitter with salt or milk

Some brewing methods like improvised French Press, Cowboy, and Turkish styles make a very strong and bitter cup of coffee.

Adding a pinch of salt can reduce the perception of bitterness in these concentrated brewing methods.

If that’s not your preference, try adding a dash of milk or cream to mellow out the flavors.

Check out our guide on how to make coffee less bitter

Final Thoughts

Brewing coffee without a coffee maker might seem like a challenge, but it’s an art worth mastering.

Whether you’re camping, traveling, or facing a coffee maker malfunction, these methods offer a lifeline to your daily caffeine fix.

From the rustic charm of cowboy to the simplicity of Mason Jars, there’s a homemade coffee brewing method for every coffee lover.

Please share any of your own improvised techniques and coffee victories without a machine in the comments!

Also check out How to Make Espresso without a Machine


How to make coffee without Electricity?

You can Make Cowboy, Pour Over, and French Press coffee easily without the need for any electricity.
Just heat the water in a pot over a stove or campfire and you are good to go.

What can you use instead of coffee filters?

Paper towels, cotton cloths, mesh metal strainers, or even a piece of cloth like a napkin or handkerchief can substitute for a coffee filter.
With some improvisation and experimenting with materials on hand, it’s possible to mimic paper filters.

Can you make Coffee with Whole Beans?

Yes, you can brew coffee with whole beans, but it’s not the most efficient or ideal method. It will take a significantly longer time to brew, and the results will not be as flavorful as using properly ground coffee beans.
Check out our guide on How to make coffee with whole beans

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

Leave a Comment