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How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

Mr. Coffee kicked it? Here are three low-tech ways to make a cup of joe.

Coffee shops are cancelled right now, and most Americans are brewing their own morning cup of joe, bleary-eyed in their kitchen every morning. The majority of us don’t have complicated, fancy doo-dads and whats-its like a Chemex or a contraption to steam milk. No, regular folks tend to make-do with a Mr. Coffee. But what happens when Mr. Coffee breaks, or your Keurig stops working, or you run out of filters and your french press shatters?

Necessity is the mother of invention, after all, and there have been countless ways to make delicious (well, at least passable) home brewed coffee without the typical accoutrements. So, here are three ways to make home-brewed coffee without a coffee maker. 

The Faux French Press Way 

This is a really easy and simple way to brew coffee, a lot like Cowboy Coffee but with a better method for removing the coffee grounds from the pot. All you need are, of course, coffee grounds, hot water, a measuring spoon for your coffee, a big bowl and a mug. 

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Put your coffee grounds in a bowl, pour in a small amount of hot, boiling water, letting the grounds bloom in the first dose of hot water. Then pour the rest of the hot water you need into the bowl, let it steep for about four minutes, and use the measuring spoon to hold the grounds to the bottom of the bowl as you pour it into your mug. Be careful so as to limit the amount of grounds that go in the cup. Voila. Coffee! Caffeine!

Cold Brew Method 

Making cold brew is definitely not reinventing the wheel when it comes to coffee, and it’s a great method for those who want to make out their caffeine for the week instead of standing over a saucepan every morning. All you need is coffee grounds, some jars that have air-tight lids, a cheesecloth (or a mesh strainer or something similar), water, and a fridge. 

Using the correct ratio — some say 1 to 5, others who are caffeine addicts say 1 to 3, pour the smaller part grounds to water, put it in a jar, and wait. That’s really all there is to it. You can wait anywhere from 12 hours to a day, and then you can pour out the coffee by strain the grounds with the cheesecloth or mesh strainer or even a hanky. The coffee is good for over a week, but dilute each cup with a little bit of water, milk or ice as you drink it. 

The Makeshift Pour Over Method

Pour overs are a universally beloved, low tech way to make coffee. But what do you do if you’ve run out of a filter or your pour-over is broken? Here’s what. You’ll need coffee grounds, hot water, a makeshift filter (try: a cotton kitchen towel, a doubled-up paper towel, or a cheesecloth), a coffee mug, and rubber bands. 

Grab your makeshift filter and fold it into a square that will fold over the mouth of the mug you are using. Clamp the filter down onto the mug with rubber bands, put the coffee grounds in the filter, and pour hot water onto the grounds — just a little at first to let the grounds bloom — and then do the regular pour-over method, using slow pours every thirty seconds until you’ve used up a full cup of hot water. Voila! Cup of coffee!