How to brew coffee without an Espresso coffee maker -

A look at the many methods you can use to to brew coffee without an expensive machine

Coffee is a morning treat many people would rather not do without. Yet what happens when you don’t have an espresso coffee maker handy or if your coffee maker produces Java that is not up to your standards? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make coffee without using a fancy machine.

Some of the ideas below require inexpensive materials, but many of these ideas can be executed with objects you already have in your kitchen.

French Press

The French press is sometimes considered the “coffee snobs” way to make coffee. Like the percolator, these are easy to use and inexpensive and are ideal if you want to brew coffee without maker. One of the benefits of the French press is that you don’t need to buy coffee filters and that it helps to maintain the oils in the drink. The French press acts as a filter for the coffee.


how to brew coffee without a coffee maker

A common way of making coffee without an espresso machine is to use a French Press. Image by Don LaVange under CC license.

Simply add your grounds to the bottom of the canister. Pour boiling water over your coffee grounds. Place the lid on the French press, but don’t press down the plunger just yet. Most French presses need the coffee and water to mix for about five to eight minutes before the coffee is ready.

After the coffee sits, push down the plunger. The plunger will filter out most of the coffee grounds.


One of the most underrated ways to brew coffee is with a percolator. These little guys have been used for decades, but sometimes it seems they’ve all been forgotten about. Luckily, they’re relatively inexpensive. You only need coffee grounds, water, and the percolator itself to get started.

Percolators are nice because they don’t come in a lot of fancy designs and options. The main options are size related. They usually come in small, medium and large.

To use a percolator, you simply need to fill the water basin with water. Add coffee grounds into the coffee basket. Place on your stovetop, and boil on high for the desired amount of time.

A basic coffee percolator will cost anywhere from $20 to $50.

How to make coffee without coffee maker - perculator

Using a percolator is a great way of making Luwak coffee without using an expensive machine. Photograph by Emily Allen, CC.

Cold Brew

Cold brew has become increasingly popular over the years, yet it’s pretty expensive at coffee shops. Most coffee shops charge a lot more for cold brew coffee than they do for regular iced coffee. This has to do with the amount of time the coffee needs to brew.

Save yourself some money by brewing your own cold brew. It’s very easy and can be done overnight.

Simply scoop fresh coffee grinds into a large carafe or pitcher. Add water to the grounds. Cover the pitcher, and place the pitcher into the refrigerator. The grounds need to soak in the water overnight or for at least 12 hours.

In the morning, strain the coffee grounds from the cold brew. You should have a very strong cup of cold coffee that is full of flavor.

Pour Over

Another coffee house favorite is pour over coffee. This method is very similar to the method used by your coffee maker. Pour over coffee gives a nice bold flavor without using expensive machinery. Obviously, there is plenty of expensive machinery on the market, but you definitely don’t need much to enjoy a simple pour over.

Start with a coffee cup, your pour over ceramic cup, a paper coffee filter and some coffee grinds. Simply put the pour over ceramic cup on top of your coffee cup that you want to drink from.

Place the filter in the ceramic pour over cup. Add your coffee grounds to the filter. Pour hot water over your coffee grinds. The coffee will absorb the water and slowly drip into your coffee cup.

Pour over Kopi Luwak coffee

A slow pour over really brings out the unique flavor of a high quality cup of Kopi Luwak without having to use a coffee maker. Picture by John Gillespie, CC.

Stove Boil

This type of coffee making method has been used since consumers were responsible for roasting their own beans. Also known as the cowboy method, the stove boil method is super easy. You can use this method at home or while camping.

All you need is a small pot or saucepan, water, and freshly ground coffee. Add water to your saucepan before adding your coffee grinds.

Bring the coffee water to a boil before letting it come down to a simmer. Let the coffee simmer for a few minutes. Keep stirring the coffee as much as possible to let the coffee grounds dissolve into the water.

If you’re a cowboy, you won’t strain your coffee. Yet if you’re used to a smooth coffee, you probably want to strain it. Using a fine mesh strainer, simply strain out any large pieces of coffee grinds from the liquid.

Instant Coffee

Ok, we are getting a bit desperate here and would not normally recommend instant coffee to anybody, but I guess sometimes it’s the only option available unless you just want to simply eat a coffee bean. Be warned though that most instant coffees are made out of pure robusta and can be quite bitter; we don’t usually recommend sugar with coffee, but in this case…

Anyway instant coffee is a way to enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage without buying a new piece of equipment. Many (strange) people love instant grounds; however, some people find the taste isn’t as complex with instant as it is with regular coffee.

To make, you simply need to buy a jar of instant coffee. Pour boiling water over a teaspoon full of your coffee. Allow the coffee to sit for the desired amount of time per the coffee manufacturer’s directions. Stir, and enjoy. To be fair, some of the instant coffee that comes in small bags from Arabic plants is a much better taste that a typical 3 in 1 instant coffee, still its hardly Kopi Luwak is it?

Coffee Sachet Bags

Good Coffee and tea are not that different from each other. A filter that you would use in a coffee maker or a pour over coffee is very similar to a tea sachet.

You can use fine mesh tea sachets to make coffee just as you would tea. You simply need a few tea sachets, which you can usually find these at your gourmet market. If you can’t find tea sachets, use cheesecloth.

Open up the tea sachet, and pour your coffee grinds inside. Tie the bag closed. Place the bag in a mug, and let the strands hang over the side of the mug. Pour boiling hot water over the little bag.

If you’re using cheese cloth, the process is somewhat different. Simply cut a two-inch piece of cheese cloth to lay flat on the countertop. Pile your coffee beans on top of the cheesecloth. Pull the corners together, and use a small piece of butcher’s twine to tie the packet closed into a little sachet.

Drop the sachet into a mug, and pour boiling water over it. Let the coffee steep for up to 10 minutes before adding cream or sugar and enjoying.

To summarise. You don’t need lots of fancy equipment to make a great cup of coffee. Try a few of the above methods to see which one works best for you (We recommend trying a cold brew or pour over the next time you drink a cup of our delicious Civet Kopi Luwak).

Be sure to also check out our Chemix, V60, Aeropress, and Espresso brewing guides. You may also enjoy our article on how to store coffee beans for longterm freshness.