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How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker: 3 Different Methods

If you’ve never had that “oh crap” moment where you’ve had to consider how to make coffee without a coffee maker, then you’ve been living a charmed life.

A few months ago I booked a short stay at an Airbnb in Florida for a few nights. If I’m being honest, it was probably one of the best Airbnb stays I’ve ever had in my life. The host was friendly and helpful, the property was clean and spacious, and the neighborhood was quiet.

No, you didn’t take a wrong turn and end up in an Airbnb review, I’m getting to the sad coffee part of the story.

I thought that the place was an easy 5-star rating, no problem. However, when I woke up on the first morning and made my way to the kitchen my stomach dropped – there was no coffee maker.

Was I going to have to drink some instant coffee? After all, my host had been kind enough to leave a couple packets on the counter – how thoughtful. No, things weren’t that bad.

Once I calmed myself I realized that I had a pot, water, a stove, my favorite coffee, and I knew how to make coffee without a coffee maker. Everything was going to be fine.

Different Methods of Making Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

People didn’t just start drinking coffee when the coffee maker was invented. The art of coffee making has been evolving over hundreds of years. If you desperately need to know how to make coffee without a coffee maker then don’t worry, here are a few easy methods.

1. Cowboy Coffee

It is thought that when cowboys were around the campfire and needed a little pick-me-up in the morning, this was their go to brewing method. Now, if you’re a worldly coffee lover then you may realize that the cowboy coffee method is strikingly similar to Turkish coffee. Here’s what you’ll need:

The Essentials

  • Stove or other heat source
  • Ground coffee beans
  • Small pot
  • Your coffee cup


  • Campfire
  • Horse
  • Cowboy hat
  • Whiskey

The Process

  1. Fill your pot or pan with water (add a little more than you would usually use).
  2. Place the pot on your heat source (stove, campfire, etc.) and wait until the water starts to boil.
  3. Now, add your coffee. A reasonable ratio would be 2 to 3 tablespoons of coffee (depending on how strong you like your coffee) for 6 ounces of water.
  4. Take your pan off of the heat source and cover it.
  5. After 5 minutes have passed, uncover the pot. If the grounds have not fully settled, then you can speed up the process by adding a small sprinkle of cold water.
  6. All done! Simply pour the coffee into your cup and drink away. If you’re feeling fancy, then you can use a ladle to serve the coffee.

2. Coffee Bag

No, not the 16 oz. bag of coffee that you have on your kitchen counter. We’re talking about a single serving sachet of your preferred coffee that you can just plop into your coffee mug.

If you’ve been to a supermarket in the last few years then you have to know what I’m talking about. It’s like a tea bag but with coffee instead of tea.

If you’re wondering how to make coffee without a coffee maker and you have a few coffee bags lying around then you’re great. Just plop it into your mug and you’re good to go. However, if you don’t have any coffee bags, here’s how you can make your own.

The Essentials

  • Coffee filter
  • String
  • Ground coffee beans
  • Hot water


  • British accent
  • Wait until 4 p.m.
  • An invitation to the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace

The Process

  1. Put your coffee grounds in the middle of a coffee filter and then tightly tie off the top with some string
  2. Make sure that there is an extra bit of string after the knot so that you can easily remove the coffee bag when you’re done.
  3. Put the coffee bag into your cup and then pour the hot water onto it.
  4. Let the bag steep for a few minutes – if you want a strong cup then 5 minutes should suffice.
  5. All done! Take out the coffee bag and drink up.

3. Improvised Filter

This is the method that I used on my Airbnb stay that was absent of a coffee maker. I was lucky enough to have a few paper filters in my coffee travel bag and a random rubber band in my purse.

However, if you don’t have a paper filter there are still a few other options that can get the job done.

The Essentials

  • Rubber bands, paperclips, etc.
  • Paper filter, handkerchief, cheesecloth, thick paper towel
  • Coffee cup
  • Hot water
  • Ground coffee beans


  • A contract with ABC
  • Pete Thornton’s phone number
  • All 7 seasons of MacGyver on Blu-ray

The Process

  1. Place your filter in your cup and let it hang over the sides.
  2. If you don’t have a filter, then fold your handkerchief or other material into a square and place it into the cup.
  3. Secure the filter (with rubber bands, binder clips, etc.) onto the cup and place your ground coffee in the middle.
  4. Pour your hot water over the grounds. You can pour all at once to fill the filter but a series of slow pours over a two-minute period is recommended.
  5. Once your cup is full then that’s it, you’re done! Carefully remove the filter and enjoy.

You Can Survive Without a Coffee Maker!

There you have it. Three ways to preserve your sanity when you’re faced with the question of how to make coffee without a coffee maker.

Is there another common method that I left out? Do you already know how to make coffee without a coffee maker and have a secret technique that you’ve perfected? I would love to hear all about it.

Oh and don’t worry, I left that nice Airbnb lady with a 5-star review… and casual suggestion that she invest in a simple coffee maker for her guests.

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