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How to Make Great Coffee at Home Without a Coffee Machine

Updated on December 29, 2012
Yes, making a delicious cup of coffee without a coffee machine is really possible!
Yes, making a delicious cup of coffee without a coffee machine is really possible! | Source

Coffee in a World Without a Coffee Machine

I could barely bring myself to think of a world without coffee and coffee machines, but I have actually stepped into that world a few times in my life.

One such foray was on the occasion of an an overnight visit to my brother's home in the Colorado mountains. I awoke the next day only to discover several feet of snow on the ground and no coffee machine.

For most folks this would not be a problem, however, a remote house with a closed road between me and a coffee shop was a big problem.

It was time to think on my feet and figure out how to get that magic cup of Joe that I so desperately needed on this cold, cold morning. If you're a coffee drinker, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I remembered that I had watched my grandmother make coffee many years before without the use of a coffee machine or coffee pot.

Here's how she did it…


Making Coffee Using the Ancient Ways - With No Coffee Machine

The great thing about making delicious coffee at home is the easy process involved and the use of just a few simple items.

Fortunately, I had received a gift of ground coffee that I had placed in my bags. All I needed was a large container into which I could drain the coffee, a funnel, a few paper towels and something in which I could heat water to a near boil.

Some who have heard of this method of making coffee describe it as being very close to the method for making Turkish coffee.

This commercially available kit works on the same principle as my "mountain made" coffee.
This commercially available kit works on the same principle as my "mountain made" coffee. | Source
Similar to the photo above, I slowly poured the hot water into the coffee grounds that were in the funnel. This process works in the same way as a typical drip coffee machine.
Similar to the photo above, I slowly poured the hot water into the coffee grounds that were in the funnel. This process works in the same way as a typical drip coffee machine. | Source

I heated the water in the microwave using a measuring cup. Next, I carefully positioned two paper towels inside the funnel and placed all of that into the opening of a larger measuring cup.

I scooped a large amount of ground coffee into the center of the paper towels inside the funnel. When the water was heated, I slowly and carefully poured the near-boiling water into the center of the ground coffee sitting inside the funnel.

The water slowly (I mean SLOWLY) worked it's way through the ground coffee and dripped into the larger measuring cup below. I found that I could pour only a small amount of water into the funnel each time.

This made the process very tedious and slow. Before too long, I could smell the aroma of the ground coffee mixing with the heated water as it dripped into the container below.

Some folks use a slightly different version of this and add the coffee directly into the container of hot water. They let the coffee steep for several minutes and then pour that mixture through a filter into individual cups. In my experience, coffee prepared in this way tends to be a bit more bitter in taste.

In a few minutes, I had the makings of several cups of some of the best black coffee I have had in years - all without a coffee machine.


How to Make Better Tasting Coffee at Home

Now some folks are going to tell you that coffee is coffee. I'm here to tell you that making a great tasting cup of coffee is a work of art.

Sure, there is a science to it, but like great art, great coffee must be created from the emotions and come from deep within the heart of a coffee lover.

That may sound silly to some folks but if you're in love with great tasting coffee like me, you know exactly what I'm talking about.


The bets tasting coffee - whether made in a coffee machine or other method - begins with the right coffee beans.
The bets tasting coffee - whether made in a coffee machine or other method - begins with the right coffee beans. | Source

Start With the Right Coffee Beans

If you're going to make great tasting coffee, you must have the proper raw materials. If possible, get coffee beans that are just out of the roaster.

I prefer beans that are roasted more slowly - this makes the coffee end up with a less bitter flavor without that slightly burnt taste found in beans which are roasted too quickly.

If you start with the right coffee beans or ground coffee and prepare the coffee in a certain way, it can actually taste sweet without adding any sugar or other artificial sweeteners. The key is water temperature (see video below).

You will want to try out a few types of beans before settling on one or two you like. There are a few websites online that specialize in providing freshly roasted coffee beans that can be shipped same day or overnight., and are just a few sources for freshly roasted beans. You can also visit your local barista or coffee specialty store to purchase freshly roasted coffee beans.

Some grocery stores and markets now have coffee bean roasters right in the store.


A Handy Guide for Different Types of Coffee Grinds

Turkish Grind

This coffee is like powder with a similar consistency to flour or baby powder. Only the best, high-quality grinders will get you here.

Extra Fine Grind

This is about the finest grind that most average grinders can make. Should feel a bit finer than granulated sugar.

Fine Grind

This is a typical and popular grind, about the same consistency as sugar or table salt.

Medium Grind

This grind should be about the same consistency as sand.

Coarse Grind

Almost chunky, these grounds are large and heavy, about the same consistency as kosher salt.


The Best Grind for Great Tasting Coffee

Now you're going to run into a lot of different opinions here so let me make a suggestion. Experiment with the best grind for the flavor that you like best.

Buy the best coffee grinder you can afford, preferably with the ability to make different types of grinds form coarse ground to super-finely ground.

The cheaper coffee grinders typically do not have a setting for the type of grind so you may have to experiment a bit. I like a coarse grind for making coffee without a coffee machine.

Some coffee machines will work better with a coarse grind, others will make better tasting coffee using a finely ground bean.

Coarser grinds make better coffee when used in French press, vacuum coffee machines, and percolators.

Medium grinds make the best coffee in coffee machines that have a flat bottom filter liner.

Finer grinds work best in cone-shaped filter coffee makers and espresso moka pots.


There are many varieties and grinds of coffee available in stores today.
There are many varieties and grinds of coffee available in stores today. | Source

Other Tips to Make Great Tasting Coffee at Home

There are quite a few factors that go into a great tasting cup of coffee. Sure, there are many ways to make coffee, but not all of those ways are the best ways. The geographic region where coffee is grown, the climate, the soil and farming methods all affect coffee flavor.

The way coffee is initially processed, shipped, stored and roasted are all factors in how that cup of coffee tastes. Even the temperature and type of water used in the brewing process can make the difference between a regular cup of coffee and a trip to coffee heaven. Most of these factors can be discovered through speaking with other coffee experts, baristas, or by simple experimentation.

A note about filters: Not all coffee brewing or preparation methods utilize a filter. French press, some percolators and espresso moka pots typically do not use a filter. I always use a filter because it keeps kahweol and cafestrol out of my coffee. These two potentially harmful substances have been proven to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

The process in the video below is a good way to make a delicious cup of coffee. The music is rather cheesy and too loud at times, but the information is priceless - if you want to make a great cup of coffee at home without a coffee machine.

Take a minute to take this coffee poll...

In your experience, which type of coffee machine or method makes the best tasting cup of coffee?

See results

Help for Making Coffee at Home Without a Coffee Machine...


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    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      That's a good tip - thank you :)

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Savingkathy - to this day, I cannot speak of that incident with trembling - or maybe that's from the caffeine. I actually do have a plan when coffee is forgotten at the store - it's a secret cache of vacuum-sealed Gevalia packets. They each make a small 5- cup pot of coffee and they stay fresh for years!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      MKayo, I can only imagine how you must have felt to be stranded without a coffee maker! The horror... How ingenuous to come up with that method to make your own coffee. Now, do you have any suggestions for how to make coffee on those rare occasions when I forget to buy coffee? That I could really use! ;)

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Kathryn - Thanks for taking time to read my article and post your comments - I, too, am a fiend for coffee!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I absolutely love coffee! A few months ago, I was with my boyfriend at our new apartment, and we didn't have our coffee maker with us yet. He knows how miserable I feel without my morning cup, so he came back from the store with what he thought was instant coffee, but it turned out to be regular ground coffee. I was so disappointed! But he heated up water and slowly poured it through a filter, into a big coffee mug, and it was surprisingly good coffee! This is a very handy post.

    • botipton profile image

      Bo Tipton 

      5 years ago from Cecilia, KY

      Yep I had a grandpa that drank coffee out of the saucer when it was real hot. On the cold brew it is concentrated like espresso and you add it to hot water. It is much smoother then normal brew. Good stuff.

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Wonderful hub. I don't own a coffee maker either. I usually use 3-in1 coffee sachet to cut down the chore. Guess I should try nicely brew coffee with your steps . Thanks for writing this hub.

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Thank you all for your kind comments! "somethingblue," addictive yes, coffee wins out with me as well - all things considered, not a bad addiction really. "faythef," I always carry a spare bag of coffee for just such an emergency. "botipton," Is that cold brewed coffee served and consumed cold as well? I'm not sure I'm that adventurous - still prefer steaming hot.

      Hey all, did anyone else have a relative who poured coffee into the saucer and drank it from there? My grandfather did that.

    • botipton profile image

      Bo Tipton 

      5 years ago from Cecilia, KY

      I do enjoy my coffee but know there is a big difference between coffee types and the way you brew it. My latest adventure is cold brewed coffee. Thank you for this information and ideas on ways to make coffee.

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe Payne 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thank you..Now that I know how to make coffee without a machine..I'm going to have to remember to tuck a bag of coffee in my luggage when traveling..

    • somethgblue profile image


      5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Anytime anyone alters their brain chemistry with foreign substances they are in affect saying to themselves that they aren't happy with their own mind, it is a form of denial.

      I enjoy coffee but know that it is addicting as well, alas it usually wins out!


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