Coffee has been enjoyed by billions of people around the world for hundreds of years. Over the years, the technology around coffee has grown significantly for different brews, strengths, tastes, and caffeine content. How did people make coffee hundreds of years ago before there were coffee makers or electricity? Have there been any advances with making coffee without machines?
There are dozens of effective ways to make the perfect cup of coffee without a coffee maker. They are also extremely practical if you’re not at home and are camping or you don’t have electricity in your house. In this article, we will explore the different ways on how to brew coffee without a coffee maker.
1. Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee has recently become popular and is probably the easiest way to make strong, flavorful coffee without a machine. It does take some time, but the end product is just as aromatic and tasty as if you brewed it from a machine.
While it is a bit time-consuming, it’s great for people who prepare for the next day the night before. Cold brew coffee is great to make in bulk for the week. Cold brew coffee is also a refreshing treat in the summer, especially if you don’t want a watered-down iced coffee.
The amount of time it takes to brew cold brew coffee helps keep the flavor pure and smooth. It’s great to pour over some milk and make a macchiato with it also!
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Using coarsely ground coffee, follow a ratio of 1 cup of coffee grounds and 4 cups of water. Next, add the coffee grounds to the container you’re brewing your coffee in. Most people use mason jars.
Then you’re going to pour water into the container and stir the coffee grounds. Make sure they’re all saturated, and you don’t leave any air pockets. Next comes the steeping. You can let it steep on the counter or in the fridge. Regardless of where you choose to steep your coffee, try to let it steep for twelve hours for the best possible flavor.
Finally, you’re going to strain the coffee. You can use a cheesecloth, a handkerchief, or a coffee filter. Secure your straining cloth to an empty cup with binder clips, or tightly tie it around the top of the cup. Slowly pour your coffee over the filter, and voila! You have cold brew coffee.
You can strain the coffee by each individual cup or strain it all in one go and store your coffee for the rest of the week or day.
2. Stovetop Coffee
The second easiest way to brew coffee without a coffee maker is that stovetop coffee has been used for generations in many households. It is great if you don’t have electricity, as long as you have a gas stove.
How to Make Stovetop Coffee
First, you’ll start off with six ounces of cold water in a pot over medium-high heat. Add in one tablespoon of ground coffee. You can also add sugar now if you like your coffee sweet. Bring it to a boil for about two minutes and stir it occasionally.
When the coffee is done, remove it from the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes. This will allow the coffee grounds to fall to the bottom of the pot. Slowly pour the coffee into your mug, being careful not to let the grounds fall into your mug. If serving more than one cup, you should use a ladle. You can also use a fine mesh sifter to catch any possible loose grounds.
Add milk, sugar, or anything you’d like to your coffee, and enjoy!
3. French Press Coffee
Making coffee in a French press has about the same brew time as a coffee maker; however, you don’t need electricity unless you’re using an electric kettle or stove. French press coffee brews in the press, and then you add pressure to the top to sift out the grinds.
You can also use a French press to brew cold brew coffee, so you don’t have to worry about setting up a strainer.
French press coffee is probably one of the most difficult to clean; however, the coffee’s flavor is exquisite.
The best way to clean a French press is to let the press cool down and try to scoop out the grounds with a rubber spatula. Don’t use metal, because you can break the glass. You can also fill the French press halfway with water and dump the water and grounds into a fine mesh sifter to dispose of the coffee grounds.
How to Make French Press Coffee
First, you’re going to remove the plunger and sifter from the French press. Next, add one heaping tablespoon of medium ground coffee grounds per six ounces of water you’ll use. If the coffee grounds are too coarse, then they will destroy the sifter. If they’re too fine, they’ll pass through, and you’ll have gritty coffee.
Then, heat some water up. You can turn the heat off of the water just before boiling or let it boil and sit for two minutes to let it cool down a bit. You don’t want to burn the coffee. Next, slowly pour the water over the coffee grounds. Replace the plunger and sifter; however, don’t press down.
Allow the coffee to steep for four to five minutes, then press the plunger and sifter down, exerting a steady amount of pressure. If the plunger is stuck, wait another minute and try again. Once the sifter has reached the coffee grounds, pour yourself a delicious French press cup of coffee.
4. AeroPress Coffee
The method used in an AeroPress is similar to a French press. However, you don’t need to wait as long for the coffee to brew. It’s easier to clean an AeroPress, and you can make the coffee by the cup.
How to Make AeroPress Coffee
Start with coarsely ground coffee beans and heat some water just before boiling. Then place the paper filter and the AeroPress device over an empty cup. Rinse the paper filter, then add the coffee grounds.
Next, pour the hot water over the coffee grounds, and stir the grounds, just like you would with a French press. You may have to use something slimmer, like a pair of chopsticks, because the AeroPress tube is much thinner than a French press. Again, make sure all of the coffee grounds are saturated for the best brew and flavor extraction.
Finally, screw the top onto the AeroPress and invert the device over another empty mug. Then apply pressure, just as you would with a French press, to strain the coffee from the grounds. You may or may not want to add water to dilute the coffee. Try the coffee before and during dilution to get the best flavor profile for your palate.
Here’s an excellent, detailed video for how to use an AeroPress. Different models may require slightly different preparation, such as not having to invert the device.
5. Bag Coffee
Brewing coffee in a bag is just like how you’d brew tea in a bag! It’s quick and simple, and the outcome is delicious.
How to Make Bag Coffee
First, you’ll need empty tea bags, a cheesecloth, or a coffee filter. Fill the bag with one tablespoon of coffee and tie it tightly with a piece of string. Make sure the bag is sealed tightly to prevent coffee grounds from escaping and getting into your brew.
You can use thread or kitchen twine; the latter can be reused. Make sure you don’t use floss because it usually has a waxy, flavored coating.
Next, you’ll need to boil some water. Finally, pour the boiling water over the coffee-filled tea bag and let it steep for four minutes and enjoy how you like!
6. Percolator Coffee
Percolators are great plug-in or stovetop devices that brew coffee through compression and forcing hot water to propel through ground coffee. Coffee from a percolator is always delicious and piping hot; however, it is easy to burn it.
Percolators come in two designs, stovetop and electric. Electric percolators are similar to coffee makers. However, stovetop percolators require a bit more effort and time.
How to Make Stovetop Percolator Coffee
Stovetop percolators are a traditional way to make coffee or espresso. They vary in size, and individual cup percolators are more popularly known as “Moka pots.”
The first thing you want to do for making coffee in a stovetop percolator is to open the percolator and separate the grounds basket from the base. Fill the base with purified water, place the grouds basket in the base and then add finely ground coffee. Press the coffee down and close the percolator tightly. You can add extra grounds and compress them to make an espresso.
If the percolator is loose during the brew, coffee is going to spritz out of the sides. Turn the stove on at a medium-low flame, and wait several minutes. You will hear when it is done because it will sound like the percolator is choking.
Finally, you pour your delicious cup of coffee into your mug. Be careful pouring because if you pour it too fast, it will spill over.
7. Cowboy Coffee
This old, traditional way to make coffee is a sure way to get you going in the morning. You have to make it outside, so if you have an outdoor firepit or you’re out camping, this is an ideal way to get your morning cup of joe. It’s very strong, so you’ll definitely need only one cup!
You can make it stovetop; however, it is traditionally made over an open fire.
How to Make Cowboy Coffee
Cowboy coffee is prepared similarly to stovetop coffee. The main differences are:
- Instead of six ounces of water, you’ll use eight.
- It’s much more forgiving for coffee grounds being present.
First, you’ll boil the coffee in a pot over the stove or an open flame if you’re camping. Then you add one to two tablespoons of coffee grounds, remove the pot from the heat, and cover it. Let it sit and brew for about five minutes to let as many of the coffee grounds as possible sink to the bottom.
Some people also suggest pouring some cold water over the coffee to help the grounds sink to the bottom faster.
8. Egg Coffee
At first, it may sound weird to use eggs to make coffee; however, many different regions worldwide have been using eggs for centuries to brew coffee. More specifically, egg whites have been known to remove any impurities in the coffee to give the coffee a smooth flavor.
How to Make Egg Coffee
Since egg coffee is found in many regions worldwide, there are slight differences in how it’s prepared, depending on the region.
Eggs have been known to filter out and purify any impurities found in the water and the coffee grounds, leaving the coffee with a smooth, refreshing flavor. The egg whites draw away the bitterness that coffee usually has.
Swedish Egg Coffee
Also known as Scandanavian egg coffee, Swedish egg coffee offers a smooth, pure coffee flavor. It’s known to be made in large quantities as well. Parts of how you prepare the coffee are in your hands. You can choose to use the whole raw egg, with or without the shells.
You’ll need a total of nine cups of water, one egg, and three-quarters cups of ground coffee. You should also use a cup of cold water to help bring the coffee grounds to the top.
First, crack an egg and mix the egg with coarsely ground coffee, creating a moist soil-like mixture. Next, you’ll boil the water in a pot. This method is different than others because you want a rolling boil. Add the coffee ground and egg mixture to the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer for three minutes.
While it’s simmering, you’ll see the coffee grounds come together and float to the top of the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cup of cold water. This will force the coffee grounds to the bottom of the pot, like with Cowboy coffee. Finally, pour the coffee over a fine mesh strainer and enjoy!
Vietnamese Egg Coffee
Vietnamese egg coffee is a delicious, thick, creamy treat. While the egg isn’t used in the brewing process, it’s still known as an “egg coffee.” You can brew whatever type of coffee you’d like and top it with this frothy meringue-like treat.
Once you have your coffee brewed, you’re going to separate an egg white from the yolk. Then, using a hand blender, blend the yolk with flour tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk until it looks like frosting. Layer it on top of your coffee, and enjoy!
9. Mexican Coffee
Mexican coffee, also known as café de olla (pronounced “oh-jah”), is a delicious way to have coffee, especially as a treat. The preparation goes back as far as the Mexican Revolution, and you can get coffee like this at many restaurants and resorts throughout Mexico.
Brewed with plenty of spices, café de olla pairs well with many sweetbreads you can have for breakfast, like danishes or donuts.
How to Make Café de Olla
Mexicans will tell you that you must use a traditional earthen clay pot, and it’s usually served in matching clay mugs. Not many of us have them in our homes; however, you can use a ceramic pot or steel saucepan. The steel saucepan might affect the flavor a bit, but café de olla is an easy way to make coffee without a coffee maker.
Just like the Swedish egg coffee, café de olla can be made in large quantities.
First, boil six cups of water, one cinnamon stick, a clove, and three brown sugar cubes. Allow it to boil for five minutes or until the brown sugar cubes have dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and add a half cup of coarsely ground coffee. Stir it in well and cover the pot for ten minutes. Finally, strain the coffee and enjoy.
10. Turkish Coffee
Traditionally being made with hot sand and known as “sand coffee, “ Turkish coffee is known for its foamy thickness and strong flavor. It’s also known for not straining the coffee, so you’re probably going to be drinking coffee grounds. Here’s a great video showing how to make traditional Turkish coffee.
How to Make Turkish Coffee
Now, if you don’t want to get sand throughout your kitchen or don’t have sand to experiment with, you can still create something similar to the thick, velvety, foamy coffee. You will need a cezve, which is a special pot used for brewing that conducts heat and gets the coffee brewed and foaming quickly.
Start with cold, filtered water and three-quarters of a tablespoon of finely ground coffee per cup of coffee you’ll be making. If you want to add sugar, you should add a heaping tablespoon to this mixture. Once everything is combined in the cezve, put it over heat and allow it to boil, which should only be about four minutes.
As the coffee is brewing, it is going to foam. Carefully transfer the foam to the coffee cups and allow it to continue to boil. Pour half of the coffee into the cups, replace the cezve over the heat, and repeat it until all of the coffee is in the cup. Enjoy your coffee!
Before electricity and coffee makers, people worldwide had developed many different ways to prepare coffee that are still used today. If you don’t want to splurge on a coffee maker or you just broke your glass carafe, you can still have your morning cup of joe without worry.
If you want to learn how to brew K cups without a machine, you can read more in my other article.