Making Coffee Without A Coffee Machine

Making Coffee Without A Coffee Machine

4 minutes of coffee drinking

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A picture of coffee being made in a metal cup over a campfire


There are few of us who can function at the most basic level without getting our caffeine early in the morning. (There’s a good chance you’re among those ranks if you’re reading this in the first place.)

Maybe you rely on a coffee brewer that’s plugged into the wall—what do you do to get your caffeine fix when there’s a blackout? 

They didn’t exactly have AC adapters in the old west, and yet they did have coffee. So what did they do? You guessed it—good, (really) old-fashioned fire.

But maybe you don’t need (or want) to be that rustic, especially if you have to worry about, say, a condo association. 

The Saucepan Method

If all you have is a stove/hotplate and a saucepan, you can still get your caffeine fix. Here’s how:

Pour some water into the saucepan and stir in ground coffee (the same amount you’d use if you were brewing it in a coffee maker). Heat up the saucepan over medium-high heat until the water and coffee grounds mixture begins to boil. Boil it for about 2 minutes, stirring it occasionally.

Take the saucepan off the burner and let the coffee sit for about 4 minutes. If you have one available, use a ladle or similar kitchen utensil to scoop the finished product into a mug.

If you don’t have a good utensil available to scoop up the coffee, don’t fret—You can also just pour the coffee out of the saucepan slowly, holding it at an angle to avoid having the grounds spill out of the saucepan into the mug.

The Clothespin Method

Living in a post-apocalyptic hellscape, or don’t have access to a stove? All you need to scavenge for this method is a few clothespins (binder clips work too), and a clean, cotton cloth (thin is good—a handkerchief works great).

Stretch the cloth over the jar and secure it with the clips, allowing enough slack in the cloth so it can dip into the jar forming a deep bowl/pouch shape.

Scoop the amount of coffee grounds you’d use to make a single cup of coffee for yourself into the cloth “pouch.” Then, pour a little water over the coffee grounds, letting them soak in.

Slowly pour more water over the grounds, remove the cloth and used grounds, and drink up, lone survivor!

The French Pinch Method

Did you know you can make basic “French press” coffee in things other than a French press? It ain’t elegant, but it works in a pinch. Here’s how.

For this method, you’ll need to be able to boil some water

Find a tablespoon, a deep bowl, and a mug.

Start heating your water, and in the meantime, start adding tablespoons of ground coffee equivalent to the number of cups you’d like to brew. Pour just enough boiling water over the grounds to saturate them. Let it sit for 15-30 seconds, then add the rest of the water.

Using your tablespoon, press down on the coffee grounds that are settled on the bottom of the bowl. Holding this spoon in place, pour your brew into a mug. Viola!

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while you probably won’t want to use any of these as your everyday brewing method, a little imagination and some basic kitchen supplies will make sure you can get your caffeine fix even after the world ends—or, y’know… until the lights come back on.

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