how to make coffee without a coffee maker

11 Effective Ways To Make Coffee On The Stove (+ Make-Do Tips)

Let’s face it: the biggest fear of any coffee fanatic is their coffee maker breaking down. That’s probably right after the fear of having no coffee in the house.

What’s worse than waking up on a gloomy Monday morning, only to discover that you can’t make a cup of joe because your coffee machine has decided that it’s time to stop working altogether. No level of sweet talk, caressing, and begging can bring it back to life and convince it to brew just one last cup. I feel your pain, I’ve been there.

But don’t despair just yet! As long as you still have coffee beans or grounds in your house, all will be well with the world. In this article, I’ll show you 11 ways on how to make coffee with or without a coffee maker and I want you to pay attention. You’ll be thankful for these tips the next time your coffee machine lets you down.

Ready? Let’s have a look at how to save the day and brew coffee with or without a coffee maker!

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How to make coffee without a coffee machine?

Did you know that coffee has been a popular drink long before there was any electricity at all? The history of coffee goes all the way back to the 15th century and Ethiopia, says Wikipedia. As a matter of fact, the records of the first use of coffee go even further back to the 9th century!

The 9th century, can you imagine? If those guys back then knew how to brew with without electricity, you will too! Since this (once) exotic beverage has been popular for so many centuries, you can bet that there are more traditional ways to prepare it, and there’s quite a few of them.

Essentially, there are two ways to make coffee on the stove: with a coffee maker and without a coffee maker.

In order to save you from the pain of being coffee-less, we’ll have a look at all possible ways of how to make coffee without a coffee machine. Because yes, it’s doable, my friends!

Make coffee without a coffee maker

If you don’t have a coffee maker, you can get a bit creative and use utensils you have at home to boil water and brew coffee. This is an easier option but the taste of coffee may not be as rewarding as when using a coffee maker (listed below). Still, it’s a great option for when you’re feeling desperate!

Here are the methods to brew coffee without a coffee maker:

  • Cowboy coffee
  • Turkish coffee
  • With an (improvised) coffee bag
  • With a coffee filter
  • Make a fake French press
  • Cold-brew coffee

The brewing process used with these methods are essentially very similar and straightforward: it all comes down to combining coffee with water in a pot/jar/mug. Let’s have a look at a few options on how to make coffee in a pot on the stove.

Method #1: Cowboy coffee

When it comes to making coffee in a saucepan, this is the classic. You’ve fallen in love with it when watching old cowboys on their never-ending adventures. Or, perhaps it caught your heart on your last camping trip. Do you love to take camping trips? Cowboy coffee method works great for these kinds of situations. And it’s excellent when your machine dies as well!

Forget about the cowboy boots if they’re not your style. You can easily make black coffee without them (although the experience just isn’t as authentic)!

You’ll need:

  • Ground coffee (1 heaping TBSP per cup)
  • A pot
  • Water (13 oz per cup)
  • Spoon (or another utensil to stir the coffee with)
  • A mug

How to brew cowboy coffee?

  1. Measure the water
  2. Measure the coffee
  3. Combine the water and coffee in a saucepan
  4. Place a saucepan over low-medium heat, bring to a boil
  5. Stir the mixture once boiling
  6. After a couple of minutes, remove the saucepan from heat. Let it sit for another 3 minutes; you want the grounds to sink to the bottom
  7. Pour the coffee into a cup
  8. Enjoy!

I personally don’t enjoy cowboy coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I love adventures, and the smell of endless skies and freshly brewed coffee, and I love the nature, but it’s the taste of cowboy coffee that doesn’t convince me. This next one is definitely my favorite when it comes to brewing coffee in a pot!

Method #2: Easy Turkish (Greek) coffee

This procedure is quite similar to the cowboy coffee method with a few minor differences. Also, the coffee pot or ibrik (Turkish coffee pot) you use to make this type of coffee looks beautiful!

I have managed to get cezve during my trip to Bosnia and I have to say I love it (PS; my cezve makes Bosnian coffee, not Turkish; there’s a big difference between the styles of brewing)!

Turkish coffee is not a type of coffee, it’s a way of preparing coffee. You’ll need a serious mustache attached to a serious face and some Turkish delight to further spoil your guests! You won’t need a special coffee pot though. Wondering how to make Turkish coffee without cezve? Simple; just use one of these stainless steel pots instead (they’re very versatile).

This is one of my favorite types of coffee: it’s aromatic, efficient, and easy to make!

You’ll need:

  • Ground coffee
  • Water
  • An ibrik
  • Sugar (optional, if you like your coffee sweet)
  • Coffee cups

How to brew a Turkish coffee?

  1. Pour water into the ibrik
  2. Place it onto the stove
  3. Add sugar (to taste)
  4. Turn on the heat and bring water to a boil
  5. Once boiled, lower the heat and stir in coffee
  6. Bring back to a boil
  7. Remove from stove and set aside for a few minutes for the grounds to sink to the bottom
  8. Serve with a wide smile on your face (if you can manage one before you’ve had your first dose of coffee)

Tips on making Turkish coffee:

  • Ibrik is also known as cezve, briki, mbiki, and toorka.
  • My ideal ratio of sugar is 0.5 TSP per one 1 heaping TSP ground coffee
  • Some (my grandmother) boil the coffee twice. To this day, I have no idea why, but the word has it that this process might make the brew stronger. You’re welcome to research/test more on the matter! Perhaps it also to make coffee fluffier and the foam richer!
  • Once the coffee is prepared, set it aside and let it sit for 5 minutes. That way, the coffee grounds will sit at the bottom of the pot and it’ll be easier to pour it into the cups. Also, there is less residue in the cup if only you have time to wait! I normally prepare the coffee first thing in the morning. I let it sit for a few minutes while I go to the bathroom, brush teeth, wash face, and other mechanical yet necessary chores before my morning dose of caffeine. When I return, I pour the coffee into the mugs and enjoy!

The only downside to making coffee in a pot is that it’s not as appealing to all people. Some consider the coffee too weak, others dislike the grounds at the bottom of their cup.

Method #3: Use an improvised coffee bag

It’s very simple this method, I promise. This brewing method is for those of you who don’t like and seriously dislike any grounds and bitters in your coffee (as you get with the Turkish and cowboy methods)!

Make a coffee bag with a coffee filter and a string. Fill it with coffee and you’re ready to brew! Don’t have a coffee filter? No problem, just use empty tea bags instead!

You’ll need:

  • A coffee filter
  • Coffee
  • A measuring cup
  • String
  • A kettle/a pot

How to brew coffee in a bag?

  1. Place the desired amount of coffee to the middle of a coffee filter (as much as your heart desires; I’d recommend about 2 TBSP for 250 ml water)
  2. Tie the top of the filter tightly with a string (making a bag that looks like an out-of-shape teabag)
  3. Place the bag into the mug and boil the water
  4. Pour the water over the coffee and let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes (feel free to change that depending on how strong you like it)
  5. Remove the DIY coffee bag from the mug once you’re done with the steeping

Give the bag a bit of a squeeze when you take it from the mug. That way you won’t waste any extra coffee that gives your brew an extra kick of flavor and strength.

Method #4: Use a coffee filter

You can buy coffee filters at a shop. If you don’t have any on hand, you can easily make it at home.

As you can see from the method above, you can use an empty tea bag. Handkerchiefs, fine-grade cheesecloth or a paper towel also work well, just make sure they’re clean before draining them in coffee. Optionally, have a look at this article on how to make coffee without a filter.

You’ll need:

  • Coffee
  • A coffee filter or a clean alternative
  • Hot water
  • Paper clips, binders, elastics

How to brew coffee with a filter

  1. Place the coffee filter into the mug. If making your own, take the handkerchief and fold it into a square (it has to fit the cup and hang over the sides of it)
  2. Secure the handkerchief on the sides of the cup (with elastics, binders…)
  3. Place the desired amount of coffee into the filter
  4. Boil the water and pour it over the coffee
  5. Pour slowly, one step at the time and let coffee drip through
  6. Remove the filter once all the water has seeped through it

Whatever fabric you use for a filter, make sure to go with something that is thick enough and won’t let any grounds fall into your coffee!

When you notice your coffee foaming up it means that the coffee is fresh. The process is called blooming and it’s a common thing for the pour-over methods.

If your filter is thick, help and tease the grounds with a spoon. That way you’ll speed up the dripping process.

Method #5: The Fake French Press

It’s a fake French press but it resembles the real thing a bit. You may end up with grounds floating in your cup with this one though.

You’ll need:

  • Hot water
  • Two cups
  • A spoon
  • Freshly ground coffee (ideally coarse-ground)

How to brew fake French press coffee?

  1. Put one tablespoon of coffee into a mug
  2. Pour over a bit of hot water; you want the grounds to dink up that water
  3. Pour the desired amount of water over and let it sit for 4 to 5 minutes
  4. Slowly and gently pour the coffee from that mug into a clean new cup. Make sure to be slow and gentle; you don’t want to shake the mug and bring up all the grounds to the surface
  5. The grounds make a thick layer at the bottom- you’ll have to leave that part in the mug and not use the last layer of coffee in the mug
  6. Use the spoon optionally to keep the pressed grounds at the bottom of the mug

Method #6: Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee has a lot in common with other brewing methods on the list, but there are two big points that set it apart:

  • It’ brewed with cold water
  • The brewing process takes between 12 to 24 hours (yes, hours!)

Cold brew coffee is a popular type of coffee because it’s so different from the traditional hot brewed coffee: it’s less acidic, lighter to drink, easier on the stomach, and doesn’t cause any caffeine crash.

The biggest disadvantage is the time it needs to brew, but you can easily plan ahead. In the evening, prepare the grounds and let them brew overnight. What’s more, you can make a cold brew concentrate, that’ll last for days.

What you can do, is then further dilute the concentrate with water, creamer of choice, ice cubes, and with milk.

When you don’t have a coffee machine, this is a great option to boost your daily cup. There are a few different ways to make cold brew, also with a special coffee maker, but you don’t really need it.

All you need to make cold brew is:

  • Ground coffee
  • Water
  • Mason jar
  • Cheesecloth
  • At least 12 hours of your patience

You can see the whole process in my cold brew coffee guide.

Method #7: Brew coffee with powder

This is an instant coffee method and probably the simplest on the list. I’m not a fan of instant coffee, but if you are, feel free to brew it.

You’ll need:

  1. Hot water (1 cup)
  2. Instant coffee (1-2 TSP)
  3. Sugar (optional)
  4. Milk or creamer (optional)

How to brew instant coffee?

  1. Heat water in a stovetop pot, kettle, or in a microwave
  2. Add coffee to a mug
  3. Pour over hot water (not boiling) and stir well to dissolve the powder
  4. Add in sugar, milk or creamer of choice

While instant coffee can be of poor quality, there are a few popular brands out there, such as these 4 high-quality instant Colombian coffee options which all make a smooth and delicious cup of instant coffee.

Make coffee with a coffee maker

There are ways to make coffee with a coffee maker if you don’t have a coffee machine. These options require you to have a coffee maker, and you can use any of these:

  • Moka pot
  • French press
  • Stovetop percolator
  • Pour over filter

Using one of these is definitely a better option for many, but unlike methods described above, some of these require some practice and experimentation to get the coffee quality right. In other words, some of these come with a learning curve. If you’re willing to learn, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious cup of coffee.

What’s more, you can use coffee brewed with the methods below in any iced coffee recipe of choice!

Method #8: Stovetop espresso moka pot

I love brewing coffee in a Moka pot first thing in the morning. It’s an Italian classic and one of my favorite ways of brewing coffee at home. I put it on just before I head off to the bathroom and I return to the kitchen to the sound of bubbling freshly brewed coffee. And the smell is beautiful, cozy, and homely!

People who are more used to the filtered coffee and the coffee on the stove method sometimes say that coffee from the Moka pot is much stronger. Just to be clear on the subject, I like my coffee sweet, strong, and fragrant!

Moka pot is a great way to use a number of different brands of coffee and test them out even though many will disagree. But to give you an example, you can make café Bustelo on the stove with this method (FYI Bustelo is a famous Cuban coffee).

How to use a Moka pot?

Have a look at the procedure of how to use a Moka pot. It’s not as difficult as it seems. Take a peek at this video for more guidance if you feel too lost in the process!

You’ll need:

  • Ground coffee (espresso Moka pot type)
  • Water
  • Espresso Moka pot
  • A coffee cup

This is how you brew stove top coffee:

  1. Dissemble the entire Moka pot
  2. Fill the bottom with water (up to the little nail you see on the upper side)
  3. Add ground coffee to filter
  4. Place the filter into the bottom part of the Moka pot
  5. Twist the top and bottom part together until sealed tightly and securely (you don’t want to be sloppy when doing this! Once I had coffee exploding all over my stove!)
  6. Place the stovetop espresso onto the stove and turn on the heat
  7. The flame should be low-medium; don’t overdo it!
  8. Listen for the bubbling/sputtering sound from the pot; turn the heat off when you hear it!
  9. Serve while warm and enjoy!

Keep the top lid open while brewing coffee; close it when you hear the first sputtering.

Method #9: Stovetop percolator

This is probably my least favorite brewing method on the list but the only option if you want to make perked coffee. The method itself is not so complicated, but it does sound intimidating at first!

There are many happy online customers that claim you can make delicious, fragrant, and strong coffee by using a percolator, but I’m not convinced. Still, it might just become your favorite method when it comes to making coffee on the stovetop!

You’ll need:

  • A percolator
  • Freshly ground coffee (normal or coarsely ground)
  • Water
  • Coffee cups
  • A towel

How to brew coffee in a percolator:

  1. Fill your pot with water (there’s usually a little sign at the side of the percolator)
  2. Fill the basket with coffee
  3. Place the lid on the basket and place the basket into the pot
  4. Close the lid (the knob on top shouldn’t be too loose nor too tight)
  5. Place the percolator onto the stove and bring to a boil
  6. Once boiling, turned the heat down to low temperature and keep percolating steadily (don’t overheat the coffee or it might burn; keep a steady pace)
  7. Set a timer; the longer the brew, the stronger it is
  8. Turn of the stove about a minute before the timer runs out
  9. Open the percolator and remove the basket (use a towel, the basket is very hot!)
  10. Pour and serve fresh!

Tips on making coffee in a percolator:

  • The ratio you can start with is 1 TBSP of coffee for 250 ml or water.
  • Start with a brewing time of 8 minutes. Try and test the coffee until you get the strength and taste you desire. Some people leave it up to 12 minutes, some are happy with their coffee after 7 minutes!
  • The coffee shouldn’t be too finely ground for the percolator. Use regular or coarsely ground instead if you don’t want it to be too gritty.
  • Clean the basket once it’s cooled down. You can use the coffee in your garden, in a DIY body scrub, or in other creative ways!

Method #10: French press coffee

This is the real French press, not the fake option described above. You’ll need a press pot to make this type of coffee a bit of patience and testing as you discover what coffee to water ratio works best for you.

Once you cover that, you’ll be making press pot coffee in no time. A bonus? You can also use it to make cold brew coffee. In fact, the French press is one of the most popular and versatile coffee brewing options out there. If you get a stainless steel option, it’s sturdy, travel-friendly (camping coffee and all that), and it can easily last years in your kitchen.

You’ll need:

  • French press pot
  • Ground coffee (medium-coarsely ground)
  • Kettle
  • Hot water
  • A spoon
  • A coffee mug or two

How to make French press coffee?

  1. Grind coffee
  2. Boil the water and let it cool to 20 degrees
  3. Place coffee into the press pot and pout over a bit of water, enough to cover the grounds and let it bloom
  4. Next, add the remaining water and stir the mixture to soak up all the coffee
  5. 4-5 minutes later, press down the plunger
  6. Decant freshly brewed coffee (to avoid bitter taste)

Method #11: Pour over coffee brew

Pour over coffee is considered to be one of the most snobby ways to brew coffee. Well, snob or not, this is an excellent way to elevate your daily cup, but here’s where the chemistry kicks in.

To get your pour over right, you’ll have to test and tweak, get a pour-over filter/carafe and prepare the grounds carefully. But don’t let that scare you away; it’s a rewarding way of brewing and while it’s not the best for the early morning rush hour, it can become your lazy weekend habit.

You’ll need:

  • Coffee filter
  • Gooseneck kettle
  • Coffee scale
  • Water
  • Ground coffee

How to make pour-over coffee?

  1. Heat water
  2. Weigh and grind your coffee
  3. Rinse the coffee filter
  4. Place coffee into the filter and pour over water. Let the coffee bloom
  5. Pour the rest of the water over the grounds
  6. Wait for the coffee to drip into the cup/carafe below
  7. Serve and enjoy

It’s not as easy as it looks though. Have a look at how to brew pour over with a Chemex pour-over to get a better idea.

FAQ on coffee without a coffee machine

How long do you boil coffee on the stove?

Ideally, you can boil coffee on the stove uncovered for about two minutes. Then, remove the pot from heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes.

How to make coffee without a coffee pot?

If you don’t have a coffee pot or any other type of coffee maker, have a look at the options listed above. You can make cowboy coffee, fake French press, filtered coffee or even cold brew coffee!

How to make Turkish coffee without an ibrik?

Instead of an ibrik, you can get a similarly shaped stainless steel pot. It’s not as good looking as a traditional ibrik, but it’ll do the trick!

Should you make coffee in the microwave?

You can and many do. Here’s a good article on WikiHow that guides you through the whole process.

Can I make coffee with coffee beans?

You can try it but the result won’t be as rewarding as you may think. For best effects, grind the beans before brewing coffee.

According to Homegrounds,

The problem is extraction time: brewed this way, extraction takes so long that the water will cool down, which extends the extraction time even farther. True, you could simmer the beans on the stovetop, if you have time for an interesting science experiment, but believe me, it’s much better just to mash the beans in a mortar and pestle or in a blender and brew them normally.

Cooking Coffee Without A Coffee Machine: A Recap

There is no need to despair if your coffee machines decided to stop working. As you can see from the list above, there are (at least) 11 different ways to make coffee if you don’t have a coffee machine.

By keeping a coffee maker at home can save you a great deal of trouble once a drip or espresso machines stop working: Moka pot, French press, pour-over method, and a stovetop percolator are all excellent options when you need a backup coffee maker that doesn’t require electricity.

If you don’t want to invest into a back-up coffee maker, you can easily make do with whatever you have on hand: brew coffee in a stove pot, use instant coffee, improvise a coffee filter, or make a cold brew concentrate that’ll keep you caffeinated for a few days, until you get your hands on a new coffee machine.

Choose the method that suits your needs, desperation, and style best. Most of these options are DIY and budget-friendly, so feel free to experiment until you find the one that works for you best!

Happy caffeinating!

Recommended Reading

Best Pour Over Coffee Makers 

How to Make Coffee Without Filter?

A Guide to Coffee Bean Types: Where Does Coffee Come From?

Which is Best for You: French Press VS Pour Over

Toddy Cold Brew Recipe: How to Use the Toddy System?

Best Budget Coffee Makers Below $50

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