how to make ground coffee

How to Make Ground Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

Just like any other appliance or machine, coffee makers occasionally break down. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be searching for an alternate method to brew coffee. After all, no one wants to go without their morning cup, right?

Fortunately, as long as you have a way to make hot water, you won’t ever have to go without it again. This article will teach you how to make ground coffee without a coffee maker using five easy methods. Follow our lead, and you will be drinking great coffee in no time at all.

Before You Begin: The Basics Explained

Do You Need a Coffee Maker to Brew Coffee Grounds?

You may be surprised to learn that you don’t need a coffee maker or French press to make great coffee. Actually, you can still brew amazing coffee without a traditional coffee maker.

It may not be quite as perfect as freshly roasted coffee brewed in a drip coffee maker, but at the very least, you can ensure you get some caffeine into your system. And who knows? You might be in awe of how easy making coffee without a coffee maker truly can be.

Getting Ready: Do You Have the Right Supplies?

In addition to water, ground coffee beans, and a coffee mug for serving, you will need to ensure you have a few additional supplies to successfully brew coffee without a coffee maker. Figure out which supplies you have on hand before you decide which method you want to try put first. Then, we can teach you how to make coffee with ground coffee; no coffee maker is needed.

What You’ll Need for the Stovetop Method:

  • Small saucepan
  • Hob
  • Ladle (helpful but not essential)
  • Spoon

What You’ll Need for the Pour Over Method:

  • Saucepan, kettle, or microwave (for heating water)
  • Coffee filter, fine mesh strainer, or cheesecloth
  • Large paper clips, binder clips, or clothespins

What You’ll Need for the Coffee Bag Method:

  • Saucepan, kettle, or microwave (for heating water)
  • Coffee filter
  • String (without a wax coating)

What You’ll Need for the Cowboy Method:

  • Heat method of choice
  • Spoon
  • Pot

What You’ll Need for the Cold Brew Method:

  • French press or a filtration method like a coffee filter, fine mesh strainer, or cheesecloth paired with a mason jar
  • Refrigerator

Making Ground Coffee Without a Coffee Maker: 5 Easy Methods

Now, let’s jump right in and explore how to brew ground coffee without a coffee maker. The first four methods are quick and easy, but method number 5 takes about 12 to 24 hours from start to finish, so only use this method if you have the luxury of time.

Method 1: Stovetop Coffee

Stovetop brewing and a mug

The stovetop or saucepan method is a great alternative to using a coffee maker. It is quick, easy, allows you to make more than one cup of coffee at a time, and if you have a gas stovetop, it doesn’t even require electricity.

  • Pour water into a saucepan. The amount of water you use depends on how much coffee you are making. If you are making one cup of coffee, add about one and a quarter cups of water as some of the water will be absorbed into the coffee grounds, and some will evaporate as it boils.
  • Stir your coffee grounds into the water. Use approximately the same amount you would in a regular coffee maker machine. Typically, one to two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water will make great coffee with the expected taste.
  • Turn on the appropriate burner and set it to medium-high heat.
  • While the coffee mixture heats up, occasionally stir until it starts boiling.
  • Allow it to boil for two minutes, uncovered.
  • Then, turn off the heat and remove your saucepan from the burner.
  • Leave it to sit for about four minutes while the coffee grounds settle to the bottom of the pan.
  • Using a small to medium-sized ladle, scoop your fresh coffee out of the pan and into a coffee cup. Make sure you don’t stir up the grounds while you scoop. If you do not have a ladle, you can also pour the coffee out of the pan slowly as the ground coffee beans will mostly remain on the bottom of the pan thanks to their heavier saturated weight.
  • Lastly, enjoy your coffee.

Method 2: Pour Over Coffee

This method is great for making a single cup of coffee without a coffee maker, but it requires just a few more supplies than the other methods.

  • To start, place a filter over the top of your cup. Then, gently press in on the centre of the filter to create a small indent or pouch where you can add coffee later on. You can use either regular paper filters or construct a makeshift filter out of a cloth or a strainer with small holes. Coffee filters often work best, but these other options work very well too.
  • While you boil water using the heat source of your choice, clip the filter into place around the lip of your coffee cup using clothespins or binder clips. Two to three should be plenty.
  • Next, slowly pour a small amount of your hot to boiling water over the top of the coffee grounds, thenwait between 30 seconds and a minute while the hot water soaks in completely.
  • Carefully pour the remaining water over the coffee grounds as well. Go slowly and watch to make sure your clips do not loosen or become detached while you work.
  • After completing the above steps, you can simply remove the clips, filter, and grounds and drink your fresh cup of coffee.

Method 3: Makeshift Coffee Bag

Drip bag brewing in a mug

Another effective brewing process involves imitating a tea bag and making a “coffee bag.” This method is great for making a single cup of coffee without a coffee maker. While it may sound a bit tricky at first, it is actually quite easy once you get the hang of it.

  • Lay a paper filter flat on your countertop.
  • Add a single serving of grounds to the centre of the paper filter. The amount can vary based on how strong you like your coffee, but about two tablespoons will do the trick for most people.
  • Fold the edges of the filter upwards to form a little pouch.
  • Secure the coffee pouch by tying a piece of string around the gathered section. Use enough string so you can not only tie it, but so you also have enough to dangle one end out of the cup, just like with a tea bag. Then, place it in your cup.
  • Heat water in a pot, kettle, or microwave and then pour it over the coffee bag into your cup.
  • Leave the coffee to steep for approximately four minutes. Feel free to adjust the steeping time a bit if you want it to be either weaker or stronger.
  • When ready, remove the coffee bag and enjoy your cup of coffee.

Method 4: Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is similar to making coffee with a faux French press method. It can be done using a camp stove or over an open fire, as the cowboys did, but you can also do it at home.

With this method, you can still expect to get a few grounds in your cup, but if you want to know how to use ground coffee without a coffee maker, this is a quick and easy option that doesn’t even require a coffee filter.

  • Add ground coffee to a pot. Use one to two tablespoons of grounds per cup of coffee you are making.
  • Add cold water to the pot and place it over your heat source. Whether it be a fire or a burner on your stovetop, allow the water to reach a boil.
  • After the water boils for approximately two minutes, remove your pot from the heat source. Leave the boiling water to sit for about four minutes. This gives the grounds time to sink to the bottom of the pot and also makes it safer to handle.
  • Finally, pour the coffee out of the pot and into a cup. Use a spoon to hold the grounds near the bottom of the pot while you pour, especially near the end. This helps simulate a French press and keeps a significant amount of grounds in the pot.
  • All that is left is for you to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Method 5: Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is delicious on a hot day but properly brewing it takes quite a bit of time, so you will have to plan ahead if you want to use this method.

However, at least you won’t have to boil water or even need hot water, for that matter. We recommend making a large batch when you cold brew coffee considering the lengthy brew time. After all, it can stay in your fridge for up to a week before it expires.

  • Add coffee grounds and cold water to your container of choice. You will want to use more grounds for a cold brew than with a typical brew. We recommend you use a ratio of 1 to 5 for grounds to water. In addition, when you cold brew coffee, a coarse grind is best, but feel free to use whatever you have around while you experiment with this method.
  • Stir the cold water and grinds together, and then cover the container with a lid.
  • Place the container inside your fridge and wait for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. The longer you brew it, the stronger it will become. You can always check on the progress by evaluating the colour every few hours. This will help you to determine when it is done but don’t bother before at least 8 hours have passed as progress will be slow, and you don’t want your coffee to be under-extracted.
  • When your coffee has reached the desired colour and strength, remove it from the fridge and strain the grounds out. You can do this by using the pour-over method described above, or if you use a French press, you can simply depress the plunger and pour out the coffee.
  • Lastly, enjoy your cold coffee.

Which Brewing Method Will You Try First?

After reading through all five of our brewing method options, which method do you think will work best for you? If you just woke up to find out your coffee maker is not functioning, maybe you will simply make whatever seems easiest and the one you have the right supplies for.

However, if you find yourself without electricity, you may have to be a bit more resourceful. If you are trying to conserve waste, you may consider using the pour-over method more consistently. Or, if you have enough time and enjoy a cold cup of coffee on a hot day, you can use the cold brew method. Whichever method you choose, you can confidently say that you know how to make ground coffee without a coffee maker.

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