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man pouring coffee into a drip maker

6 Methods to make a Specialty Coffee without a Coffee Maker (that actually work)

For those who love their daily coffee and/or morning brew, most mornings you will probably wake up, stumble over to your french press, drip coffee maker, or even just a push of a button on your Nespresso machine, and before you know it, you will be sipping away at your brew, happily kick starting the day ahead. 

But not all mornings are the same. What happens if one of those mornings the button on your Nespresso machine isn’t working? Or you wake up to no power? What happens if you are in a hotel or camping, and you don’t have a coffee maker all together?

It turns out, if you ever come across these kinds of problems, it does not necessarily mean you won’t be able to have your morning specialty coffee brew. 

*Read: How to make specialty coffee with a V60?

It may not be one of your best brews, however, we dived in and did a little research, where we found 6 methods to make specialty coffee without a coffee maker that actually work. 

  • The Coffee Bag Method
  • The Cowboy Method
  • The Kopi Tubruk Method
  • The Saucepan Method
  • The Strainer Method
  • The Microwave Method

This method is a similar concept to that when making tea with the commonly known tea bag, however, this will involve your coffee inside the bag. You can buy these bags from your local supermarket, or you can put your hands to a little DIY and make your own bag with a paper coffee filter. From our own experiences, we would suggest this to be one of the most simplest, and quickest methods to make coffee without a coffee maker.

What’s The Method:

(if you have brought your own bags, skip the first three points)

  • Measure out a serving of coffee grounds onto your filter.
  • Make a little pouch of coffee and close the filter up tightly.
  • Tie with string, but leave one end long like you find on tea bags.
  • Heat up your water using kettle, pan, microwave, or pot.
  • Place you coffee bag into your empty cup, and then slowly pour your hot water into it.
  • Allow the coffee bag to steep for 3-4 minutes, or longer if you would like a stronger tasting coffee.
  • Remove the coffee bag or DIY coffee bag filter and discard.
  • Enjoy.

What You Need:
Coffee Grounds, Coffee Filter, Hot Water, String, Cup.

The Cowboy Method

Cowboy coffee has become a popular coffee making method on camping trips, which is how it ultimately earned its name, however, you can use this method almost anywhere you are. It simply involves a little imagination and making the best use of what you have to hand to brew up a perfectly quality morning brew.

What’s The Method:
  • Fill your pot with water but ensure you add a little extra then your serving size.
  • Place your pot over your heat source (fire/stove), and bring your water to a boil.
  • Add your coffee grounds to the pot, depending on strength, however, many would do this by eye due to the method.
  • Remove your pot from the heat and wait for about 4 minutes to allow the coffee grounds to sink to the bottom. 
  •  Slowly pour the coffee into your cup, avoiding as much of the ground as possible, after all it is the cowboy method.
  • Enjoy.

What You Need:

  • Coffee Grounds, Water, Pot, Stirring Utensil, Heat Source, Cup.

The Kopi Tubruk Method

Kopi Tobruk is commonly referred to as ‘mud coffee’, which is widely produced in Indonesia. It is again a coffee made in great simplicity. It is basically where coarse coffee grounds are boiled along with a solid bit of sugar, which results in a thick brew, therefore, earning its name as mud coffee. Over the years it has become a huge success in local Indonesian markets, becoming the most popular brewed coffee in the country.  

What’s The Method:
  • Spoon a heaping tablespoon of coffee grounds into a jug or mug, and add your Sugar.
  • Heat your water, but remove it from the heat source just before it becomes a rolling boil.
  • Pour water into your jug and stir the coffee ground and sugar slowly, make sure you mix it well.
  • Leave the coffee to sit for 3-5 minutes, this will bring out the flavours, and also let the coffee grounds sink to the bottom of your jug forming the ‘mud’.
  •  Serve into a jug, or consume straight from the mug you made the coffee, but be careful not to disturb the coffee ‘mud’.
  •  Enjoy.

What You Need:

  • Coffee Grounds, Water, Solid Sugar, Stirring Utensil, Jug (or beer mug).

The Saucepan Method

This method is pretty handy if you find yourself in your kitchen with pretty limited coffee making supplies. Most kitchens will provide what’s required for this method to work, as you will only need kitchen basics, and plus it comes in pretty handy knowing how to make a coffee on your stove top. Even if your coffee maker is in perfect working order, we still suggest giving this method a try as it will broaden your coffee making skills whatever situation you may be in.

What’s The Method:
  • Pour water into your small saucepan, however, keep in mind that some water will evaporate during the heating process, so ensure you add a little extra water.
  • Add your measured (depending on serving sizes), coffee grounds straight into the saucepan with the water.
  •  Bring your coffee to a boil for at least 2 minutes, with the occasional stir to avoid burning at the bottom of your saucepan.
  •  Remove your saucepan from the heat and let the brew sit for 3 to 5 minutes, which will also allow your coffee grind to sink and settle at the bottom of the saucepan. 
  • Slowly pour the brewed coffee into your mug, without disturbing the settled coffee grind. Alternatively, a large spoon or ladle would be perfect for the job, as well as a safer option from causing any burns and unnecessary mess.
  • Enjoy. 

What You Need:

  • Coffee Grounds, Water, Small Saucepan, Ladle/Large Spoon, Mug

The Strainer Method

Very similar to the saucepan method, the strainer method comes in very handy when you do not have a coffee maker or any filters, it is also a method a lot of people find easier, as the majority of those who love a good brew have had some previous experience in using strainers, however, experience is not necessary. Due to coffee grind generally being very fine, you will want to ensure you have a strainer with smaller holes, like a double layered strainer, to have more success and avoid the coffee grind going into your finished brew.

What’s The Method:
  • Pour water into your small saucepan.
  • Add your measured (depending on serving sizes), coffee grounds straight into the saucepan with the water and stir it in.
  •  Bring your water with the coffee to a boil for at least 2 minutes, with the occasional stir to avoid burning at the bottom of your saucepan.
  •  Remove your saucepan from the heat.
  • Hold your mesh strainer above your mug.
  • Pour the brewed coffee into your mug through your strainer, so the grind gets caught.
  • Enjoy.  

What You Need:

  • Coffee Grounds, Water, Small Saucepan, Strainer, Mug

The Microwave Method

Yes you guessed it, we have saved the easiest method for last. Everyone knows how to use a microwave, and almost every kitchen has one. As long as you have a power source the microwave method will have your coffee brew ready in a matter of minutes, and you barely have to do a thing. Of course it comes with a poor reputation among many coffee lovers, however, we are here to find out how to make a single origin coffee without a coffee maker that actually work.

What’s The Method:
  • Fill your mug with water and place it inside your microwave.
  • Heat the water for a few minutes so it is hot, but not at a boil.
  • Stir in your coffee ground, preferably a tablespoon in size.
  • Allow your coffee grind to brew and settle to the bottom of your mug.
  • Enjoy.

What You Need:

  • Coffee Grounds, Water, Microwave, Electricity/Power Supply, Mug


So there we have it, 6 methods to make a specialty coffee without a coffee maker, that actually work. They are easy methods to set up, and are relatively inexpensive to perform. 

To be fair, hopefully you rarely find yourself in a situation where you do not have a coffee maker, however, sometimes it cannot be avoided, and it will be time to put your imagination and skills to the test.

Whatever method you choose, we are sure this article will help you still find yourself with a perfectly drinkable coffee, and you won’t have to start your morning without your trusty coffee brew. Give it a go and let us know what you think.

Do you have your own method? Let us know below! 😉

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