Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker: How to Steep Coffee

You Have Coffee, But No Coffee Pot! What Can You Do? 

Craving coffee but your coffee pot is broken? Don't worry! You can actually steep coffee using a coffee filter and boiling water. 

Here's everything you need to know about making coffee without a machine… 

Nothing's worse than needing your caffeine fix and realizing you don't have a coffee pot available. Whether your coffee pot is broken, you're traveling and there isn't a coffee maker handy, or you simply don't own a coffee maker, there are still some great ways to enjoy a fresh, hot, delicious cup of coffee. 

Best of all, you can make coffee without a coffee pot using only a few easy-to-find materials. Here, we'll go over how to do it, plus some handy tips and tricks for making steeped coffee and single-cup or pour-over coffee in just a couple of minutes! 


Answer: It's Easy to Make Coffee with No Pot Using Various Extraction Methods

Extraction is at the heart of brewing coffee. This means that you can take advantage of extraction to brew coffee similarly to how you would make tea by steeping coffee. This coffee steeping method is very handy if you are in a pinch and don’t have a coffee pot around.

Simply substitute your dry tea leaves for coffee grounds, and steep in hot water for at least 5 minutes. Or, just pour hot water (at least 195 degrees) slowly over a heaping tablespoon of coffee grounds using a filter secured over a coffee mug.

Read in-depth instructions on both no-pot brewing methods and more, below!


What to Know About Making Coffee Without a Coffee Pot

First and foremost, let's go over how coffee is made in a drip coffee pot. After all, once you add the grounds and a filter to your coffee pot, it's a mystery what's actually going on "under the hood". However, the process is actually pretty straightforward and simple. 

Brewing coffee in a pot just involves coffee grounds being introduced to water wherein the soluble compounds in the grounds are extracted and combined with the water to create a delectable flavor. To put it simpler, hot water saturates the grounds, and liquid filters down into your pot.

When the compounds and oils in coffee grounds are dissolved and mixed with water, the final product is what we know as coffee. 

(Basically, water pours over dry roasted coffee grounds then a process called extraction takes place. Extraction is when the oils and flavors of the coffee are pulled out by the water and then streamed into a coffee cup or coffee pot. This extraction process can be enhanced in a few ways like with higher temperatures or more pressure.) 

Drip Grind Brewing 

For instance, drip grind coffee (which is the type of coffee made in your standard coffee machine) involves slowly pouring hot water over dry coffee grounds. The water heats and saturates the dry grounds, and then the resulting coffee liquid is channeled into a basin (your coffee pot) below. 

Espresso and Single-Serve Brewing 

With single-serve coffee makers or espresso machines, pressure and hot water combine to speed up extraction. Very hot water forces itself through more powdery grounds, to make a single serving of coffee or espresso.

Cold Brew Steeping 

With cold brew coffee, the grounds and water are directly mixed together and left to steep for a long period of time in a container. With cold water brewing, full extraction takes about 24 hours to finish. Then, the grounds are removed using filtration. All of the leftover liquid is infused cold brew coffee.


Making Coffee with No Coffee Maker: A How To Guide 

Now that you understand how extraction works, let's talk about how to make coffee if you don't have a coffee maker handy. There are a few methods that you can use, but the simplest is to find a coffee filter and pour very hot water over the coffee grounds slowly.

This mimics the drip grind coffee brewing process and lets you easily make a single serving of coffee at a time in a mug. The process might make you feel a little bit like MacGyver, but it definitely works and can produce a great cup of Joe! 

Here's what you will need:

  • Very Hot Water (195-205 degrees) 
  • A Coffee Filter 
  • Coffee Grounds 
  • A Mug 
  • A Rubber Band


About 5 Minutes 

Step 1: Take a coffee filter and put it over the top of your coffee mug. Secure it in place with a rubber band. Add about a tablespoon of dry coffee grounds to the taut coffee filter. 

Step 2: Heat water to a very hot, but not boiling, temperature. Your hot water should be just below boiling, at about 205°. It’ll be too hot to touch comfortably, but not at an actual rolling boil just yet. 

Step 3: Slowly begin pouring the very hot water over the grounds. (You're going to have to pour it really slowly to ensure that complete extraction takes place.) You'll know you are doing it right because the hot water will begin to pool over the top of the coffee grounds and then will start to slowly drip down into the mug. 

Step 4: When all of the water drips down into the cup below and you now have a pile of wet hot coffee grounds left sitting there, pour some more water and repeat the process. You’ll do this about 3 times, or until your mug is full.

This should take about 5 minutes. If your coffee seems too weak, you can gently squeeze the wet coffee grounds over your cup to add a little bit more flavor and extraction. Just be sure not to break your coffee filter or you'll have a mess of grounds in your cup.

Other Easy Options for Making Coffee with No Machine

Make a DIY Tea Bag - For an even stronger cup of coffee with no coffee pot, you can tie up coffee grounds in a coffee filter (like a DIY tea bag) using a string. Let the tied-up coffee steep in a cup of very hot water for about 6 or 7 minutes or until your desired strength of the coffee is achieved.

Add Grounds Directly to Hot Water (Cowboy Coffee) - Or, if you're really desperate just heat a mug or cup of really hot water, and add your grounds directly to it. Let them steep for about five minutes and gently stir. You can allow the grounds to settle to the bottom and sip carefully to avoid them or filter your coffee into another cup by slowly pouring it through a spare coffee filter. 

Use a Tea Ball - If you have a "tea ball" (a little mesh ball often used for tea brewing) on hand, you can also use that to brew coffee. This is by far the easiest way to make a quick cup of Java without any other tools. The only downside is a slight powdery residue at the bottom of your cup. 

Can You Steep Coffee Like Tea? Yep! Here's How.

Extraction is at the heart of brewing coffee. This means that you can take advantage of extraction to brew coffee similarly to how you would make tea by steeping coffee. This coffee steeping method is very handy if you are in a pinch and don’t have a coffee pot around. Simply substitute your dry tea leaves for coffee grounds! 

You can either dump out a tea bag and replace the tea with coffee, or take a coffee filter and tie it up to make a makeshift tea bag. Then, steep the coffee in a cup of very hot water (at least 195°) until your coffee is brewed to the desired strength. 

So, if you ever find yourself with no coffee pot, steeping coffee can be a really handy method of brewing. Just remember that it will take a few extra minutes for extraction to take place. Also, be sure to secure your coffee well so that no grounds get into your cup. 

Consider Making Cold Brew

Those who have grounds on hand but no coffee pot can also consider making cold brew. To make cold-brew coffee, you just need coffee grounds, cold water, and a glass container with a lid. You will use a ⅕  ratio of at least one part coffee grounds to five parts water. To make a stronger cold brew, use a 1⁄4 ratio of grounds to water in your container. Shake once and then let everything steep in the fridge for at least 16 hours. After that time, you can filter out the grounds, and enjoy! 

Simple Cold Brew Directions: Add your preferred ratio of coffee grounds to cold water in a glass container with a tight lid. Screw on the lid and refrigerate for at least 16 hours. For stronger cold brew coffee, let everything steep in cold water for at least 20 hours and for up to 24 hours. 

Filtering the coffee grounds out of the water is easier than you might think and can be done using a sieve. However, if you don't have a sieve on hand, you can pour the liquid through a coffee filter, or simply pour the coffee out very slowly. You see, in most instances, the coffee grounds will sink to the bottom of your container. So as long as you don't shake everything up, you can generally pour it out very slowly and let the coffee grounds naturally separate.


Making Coffee Sans Coffee Pot: Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to make coffee without a coffee pot, why not try some of the best coffee around? Click here to browse through single-origin gourmet coffees, flavored single-serve coffee pods, and ground coffee or whole bean flavors like bourbon truffle, gingerbread, and even blueberries and cream! 

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