How To Brew Coffee Without A Coffee Maker? Follow This!

The easiest way to make coffee without a coffee maker is via using a strainer or a percolator. You can also try microwaving & using instant coffee pods if you want to have a quick cup of coffee. 

A morning without their cup of hot filtered coffee is the worst nightmare for every coffee fanatic. Not only does coffee boost your metabolism, it even keeps multiple chronic diseases at bay. 

About 41% of Americans own a coffee maker for their daily consumption. But what about the times when the power goes kaput?

Whether you are a java fan or you just happen to be outside and want to feel like Clint Eastwood with a tin cup and a campfire, there are plenty of easy ways to make coffee without relying on a coffee maker. 

Keep on reading to know how to brew coffee without a coffee maker. 

Before You Get Started 

Here are some tips that you must keep in mind before starting in order to get fresh and aromatic coffee. 

  • Make sure that the coffee beans are not too old or stale. Ideally, the beans should have a roast date within two weeks for best taste. You can also use a grinder to grind them as per your preferred coarseness. 
  • When adding water, make sure that the temperature is between 195-205 F. This temperature works for all brewing methods.
  • The amount of coffee you use with water is what determines how strong your coffee will turn out. 1:12 (coffee to water) ratio is ideal for a mild taste when brewing coffee without a coffee maker. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that having tea right after coffee can lead to stomach issues? Click here to find out more.  

No Coffee Maker, No Problem: Here are the Best Ways

Each method requires 5-10 minutes of time and calls for basic items like a stove, strainer, ground coffee and hot water. Here is how to brew coffee without a machine: 

Strainer Method 

This is one of the most popular ways of making coffee manually without a filter. You will need a mesh strainer with small holes, a kettle and a mug to go forward. Here’s the procedure: 

  1. Bring water to a boil using a hot pot or a fire if you are out camping. Be sure to not overfill the container, half a glass of water is enough for one cup. 
  2. Pour the coffee grounds into a measuring cup and add the required amount of pre-ground coffee/beans. 1 cup of water usually calls for 1-2 tbsp coffee grounds. 
  3. Now pour the hot water over these grounds and let the mixture sit idle for about 3-4 minutes. This will allow the grounds to settle at the bottom. If you want a strong aftertaste , then you can increase the time accordingly. 
  4. Place the mesh strainer over a mug and pour in your blend slowly. As the coffee grounds get filtered out, you will be left with a warm cup of coffee to enjoy. Add sugar/honey/cream if you desire. 

The Hanky Method 

This method is the literal depiction of the quote ‘Patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet’. It is also quite inexpensive and calls for prerequisites like hot water, a clean hanky, some paper clips and a mug. Here’s how it’s carried out: 

  1. With this method, you can only prepare a single cup of coffee at once so it is important that you set the coffee ground portions aside beforehand. 
  2. Place a hanky on your mug and press the opening from top to make a concave carving which could accommodate a serving of coffee grounds. 
  3. Use binder clips to keep the fabric in place. Stick them to the walls of your cup so that the cloth does not touch the coffee from inside. 
  4. Empty a serving into the hollow carving followed by pouring some hot water over it. 
  5. Wait for 30-45 seconds so that the water gets absorbed and the remnants get soaked through the surface. 
  6. Repeat this for a few times till you have enough filtered water inside the mug. 
  7. Remove the pins and enjoy! 

Using a Saucepan 

A lifesaver for anyone who is low on kitchen supplies, this method just requires a saucepan and a stove. 

  1. Pour freshly grounded coffee/coffee beans (1-2tbsp) into a saucepan and add about 250mL  water. 
  2. Stir it occasionally as the mixture comes to a boil. This usually takes 2 minutes. 
  3. Check whether or not the grounds have sunk to the bottom of the saucepan. 
  4. Once done, gently tip one edge of your saucepan into a mug. You have to take extra caution while carrying out this step to prevent any stray grounds from entering your mug. 


Not the best tasting coffee but arguably the easiest to make. Another advantage of this method is that since you will be using a thermally insulated mug, your coffee will stay warm for a longer time. You will need a microwave safe mug and a spoon this time. 

  1. Place one cup of water inside your microwave and set it to boil. This should be done in 2-3 minutes depending upon the wattage of your device. 
  2. Once the water temperature is around 200 F, place some coffee grounds inside the mug. You can also place them before adding water if you like. 
  3. Try to use a lower amount of coffee grounds than usual when making coffee in a microwave since it tends to be quite bitter. 
  4. Wait for 90 seconds and then stir the mixture thoroughly. 
  5. Set the mug idle for a few minutes. 
  6. Your coffee is now ready! 

BONUS: Here are the 6 easy speciality coffee recipes that you can make at home.

Coffee Bag Method  

This method involves placing a scoop of pre-ground coffee into a perforated coffee filter. This bundle is then tied from the top and placed in a hot mug filled with water. This allows for an evenly flavor distributed flavor profile and ensures that the coffee is not too strong. 

The only downside to this method is that if you want to prepare more than one cup of coffee, you will have to use multiple mugs at a time. 

Here is a video which demonstrates this process. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

These were the ways to prepare coffee without a coffee maker. Below we have answered some common questions related to coffee brewing. 

Can You Use Ground Coffee as an Instant?

Yes you can use ground coffee as an alternative to instant coffee. The only downside is that you will probably end up with some coffee grounds in your final drink. Another point is that with ground coffee, you cannot halt the brewing process easily which may produce a bitter taste. 

Can You Just Add Hot Water to Ground Coffee? 

Yes. This practice is typically used while making Turkish coffee. You need to pour hot water on the grounds and stir for 6-8 minutes for the best result.

What is Cowboy Coffee? 

This is a traditional American drink popularized by cowboys. It is prepared by heating coffee grounds in a mug filled with water. The grounds are boiled for about three minutes followed by addition of salt/sugar. 

Can you make Keurig coffee without a machine? 

You can brew coffee pods without a machine by separating the coffee grounds and then pouring some hot water over the grounds. 

Parting Words 

There you have it! A complete roundup of some of the best and easiest ways to brew coffee without a coffee maker. Picturing a day without your daily dose of energy-boosting joe might seem difficult. The taste will most probably not be a match to a coffee maker, but a few hits and trials will get you closer to a somewhat delectable taste. 

Head over to to learn more about coffee. 

Enjoy your coffee!

Charlie McFarlane

Specialty Coffee Enthusiast. Hungry for knowledge in the art and science behind specialty coffee and decided to document my journey, while sharing it with the public. More than 10 baristas were interviewed; over 21 farms were visited across 5 countries. Almost 100 Coffee Shops. Bean of choice: Pacamara. Preferred coffee country: Panama. Preferred Brewing Method: Aeropress. Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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