It can happen. And it usually happens when you least expect it.
Maybe your drip brewer died at night leaving you no way to make coffee in the morning.
Or while groping in a fog before coffee, break the glass from your French press or Chemex.
Suddenly you are faced with making coffee without a coffee machine.
If there is a coffee shop within a short walk of your home, this is probably your best chance. If not, it’s time to improvise.
There are two simple ways to do this, depending on whether you have paper filters on hand. If it’s a drip brewer that just died, you almost certainly have some filters. You can use one of them without the brewer.
If it was your French press or Chemex that met the manufacturer, you will have to make your coffee without filters at all.
Let’s find out this with and without the filter.
Option 1 – Make your coffee with a paper filter and a short string length.
First without string.
Put the kettle on and boil some water.
Then lower the filter under the tap.
Insert the filter into your coffee mug so that it is supported. (See photo at top of page.) Then flip an entire scoop or two tablespoons of ground coffee into the filter.
Once the ground coffee is in the filter and the water is right at the boil, slowly pour the water into the mug to ensure that all the coffee grounds are covered.
Leave the filter and coffee in the mug for between 3 and 4 minutes – depending on how strong you like your coffee – and then gently lift the filter out of the mug and dump it in the bin.
This can get messy and there is a danger that you will burn yourself on the hot water.
That’s why we have the string.
With the string, we tie the top of the filter closed after adding ground coffee and before pouring hot water. After leaving the coffee to brew in the mug for 3 or 4 minutes, we lift the “coffee bag” out of the mug using the string. Much less chance of making a mess or burning your fingertips.
If you do not have any paper filters, you can make your “coffee bag” with a cotton handkerchief.
Option 2 – Make your coffee without a filter at all.
This is not as strange as it may sound. Professional coffee cups make coffee all the time.
With this method, you simply add the scoop of ground coffee to the bottom of the mug, pour in the hot water and wait 3 or 4 minutes.
At the end of that time, some of the coffee grounds float in a frothy layer on the surface, and some have sunk to the bottom. There are almost no particles in between.
When the brewing time has expired, take a teaspoon and scoop the foam off the top.
At this point, you can either slowly and gently decant the coffee into another cup or mug, being careful not to disturb the ground coffee at the bottom, or you can drink your coffee directly from that mug.
Just stop drinking before you get to the ground coffee particles at the bottom.
Will this taste exactly like your regular coffee? Almost certainly not.
Another thing to note about this last method is that you will find it easier if your coffee is coarsely ground as you would use for a French press. Coarse coffee grounds are more likely to settle to the bottom of the mug and stay there.
Whichever method you choose, good luck!
And if you do not want this situation to ever occur, get yourself a $ 10 filter cone and a small box of paper filters. Put them in a cupboard somewhere and store them as your last brewing system.
Remember, you can make a good cup of coffee at any time with a simple coffee dripper.
About the Author: Nick Usborne, aka Coffee Detective, is a writer and longtime coffee enthusiast. Read more …