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How to make coffee without coffeepot or press?

My parents are coming for Christmas morning brunch and they drink coffee. My husband and I don't drink coffee, so we don't have a coffeemaker nor do we want to buy one. Is there any way to make coffee without a coffeepot or press? Looking around online, I've found that there are coffeebags, much like teabags, that may work. Has anyone had any luck with these? Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance!

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  1. we have a chemex for our coffee, which is simple and tastes great- it's basically an hourglass-shaped glass - which you could probably reproduce in your own kitchen - you basically put coffee in the filter, pour hot water directly onto the coffee, and the coffee drips into the glass. the only trick would be finding something to hold the coffee filter in place. i've seen funnels sold that basically do the same thing - this may even be easier because you could probably just place them in a cup

    1. you can boil it in a saucepan and then use a tea strainer. You will need to play with boiling times and how much coffee to water ratio but it can be done. I personally do not like those coffee bags.

      1 Reply
      1. re: smartie

        Yes, you can do it like this...I did it for a while but be sure you don't just boil it away...what I used to do was measure 2 TBS. of freshly ground coffee into 8 ounces of fresh cold water in small saucepan...bring it just to a boil then take it off the heat, covered, and let it sit for 5 minutes...then strain into a cup. I'm sort of with the crowd that advises you to buy a small coffee maker...I think you can even get a no-name brand at drug store for $10.

      2. Is your intention to purchase coffee, or use coffee that you already have in your pantry?

        If you have to purchase, there are a few choices that already come in filter packs. You could simply make it like a pot of tea and immerse the filter pack in hot water,,,not boiling water, Steep as you would your tea bag, or brew gently on low heat. You could also consider an International flavored instant,,,,I am sure you parents could suffer through that.
        Let me say with all the gadgets out there to make coffee, the old percolator or vacuum systems were the best in my humble opinion. The older coffee shops in Chinatown, NYC still use them and for .60 cents, you get a fantastic cup of coffee. Try to find an old Vacuum system for the stove on ebay and it could set you back over $100.

        If you have loose grinds now at home, consider making coffee just like they used to in the old days on the prairie.... add the coffee grinds to a hot pot of water and brew on low flame for a few minutes and simply pour through a strainer. Do so without your parents knowledge and I wager they say it's the best coffee they ever had. In fact, I 'll bet your fathers says it just like how coffee used to taste.

        1. I like my coffee, but my apartment is so small, there's not room for a coffeemaker. I went to the dollar store where they have melitta style funnels, and packages of paper filters for a dollar each. I use an old coffee pot, directly on the stove on VERY low heat, but I've also had the funnel and filter directly over a mug. Of course, I measure out the ground coffee, and pour water straight from the kettle, boiling, over the grounds. This is the way the original system was introduced into North America. I remember my dad making his coffee this way in the late 60's.
          As well, it the funnel and filter do not take up large amounts of space. in the kitchen.


          2 Replies
          1. re: violabratsche

            I was going to suggest a melitta filter and holder, but you can just buy a package of filters (go with the 4-cup size conical ones), place a filter in an ordinary funnel balanced over a cup or carafe (or teapot). Measure 1 or 2 tbsp. per cup of water (depending on how strong your parents like their coffee). Pour boiling water over the grounds and let it drip through. Voila - coffee with no fancy equipment.

            Years ago when we travelled to China I packed a bunch of filters, a bag of ground coffee and a single-cup Melitta holder for the trip. Worked perfectly and definitely beat the horrid instant we would otherwise have had to drink.

            1. re: violabratsche

              For someone who doesn't have experience with coffee, the Melitta holder and filters is the simplest and least expensive option. I use a fine grind (Italian Espresso from Trader joes), 2 'coffee scoops' per 12oz mug.

              A less expensive option is to steep the coffee in a sauce pan (2-4 minutes), and then strain it through a fine strainer - this is, in effect, what the French press does. But it is tricker to match the coffee grind with the strainer mesh. If the mesh is too fine, it takes for ever to drain, if to coarse, you get too much sediment in the cup.

              The paper filters can be used for other cooking needs - any time you need to filter out fine sediment.


            2. I would use a filter and funnel and make a cup at a time using water just off the boil. It will be great and you won't clutter up your kitchen. Currently I like the Dunkin Donuts coffee beans. Sounds white trash, but it's great coffee. Use great tasting water too.

              There's also a method for Swedish Egg Coffee where a raw egg and coffee grounds are cooked with water. Supposed to be really great coffee.

              Here's a link:

              5 Replies
              1. re: scuzzo

                Since you're not a coffee drinker I'm guessing you don't have any experience making coffee. If you get the beans or coffee prep wrong your folks will be in for some real bad coffee anyway. Maybe resort to buying a box of coffee from Panera, dunkin donuts etc? Then you just throw away the box and don't have to store something you're only going to use once a year. Heck, even McDonald's has passable coffee. I'd venture to say some reheated pre made coffee will taste better than some off the wall method of making coffee that you're not familiar with.

                1. re: scuzzo

                  is it a whole egg -- or just the egg shell (as for consomme)., scuzzo? whole egg sounds yuckarooo, but maybe it is delicious, as so many on the web seem to recall..i can't believe the yolk would not add flavor....

                  1. re: alkapal

                    When I was young lad and my Father took me on a fishing trip to the 30.000 Lakes region in Canada, we would wake up at 4:00 AM, fish for a few hours.....and cook the mornings catch. the process was cook off bacon for the oil, cook the eggs, dust the fish with flour and cook the fish. The best fish I ever had. What does this have to with this thread?

                    The fishing guides who prepared breakfast also made the coffee each morning with breakfast........egg shells only with the coffee grinds. I can still remember all the adults saying the coffee tastes great.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      Eggshell coffee is only drinkable in the great outdoors. Please don't do this. Really. Your parents will pretend to enjoy it but they're only being polite.

                      1. re: Nyleve

                        Here in the upper midwest, egg coffee is a beloved tradition, in a culture where coffee is practically a sacrament. Just about everyone has a fond memory their Swedish or Norwegian grandmother making egg coffee. I've tried it--not in the great outdoors--and I think it tastes pretty darn good. http://www.hendricksmn.com/norwegian-...

                        In fact, one of my annual rituals is to order a cup of egg coffee at Salem Lutheran Church Dining Hall at the State Fair.

                        To each his own preference, but if you've never tried it, you really ought to one of these days. While you're at it, if you want a full-on cultural experience, try it with some krumkake http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krumkake or rosettes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosette_...


                2. My coffee making method of choice is a mellitta drip with a paper filter. The coffee I use is ground fresh daily (Peets/Sulawesi)and I put the kettle on just to a boil. So easy and a good cup every time.
                  You can buy these filters at any Target/ Peets for not very much money at all. Seriously, a couple or three bucks at most.

                  1. Whew! Thank you all for the recommendations and suggestions. I don't have coffee around (neither of us drinks it), so I'll use the recommendations for what kind. Also, I thought about Panera, McDonald's, Starbuck's, etc., which is what we usually do when we have family over. The problem is, I need the coffee on Christmas morning, and my go-to places will be closed.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Sarahgraci

                      If they like their coffee sweetened, I've made Mexican coffee boiled on the stove and strained w/ cheesecloth. It was good, not at all bitter as I expected.


                      1. re: Sarahgraci

                        Go to nytimes.com and search "cold brewed coffee". They wrote an article this summer about this style of coffee making. It was for iced coffee but then mentioned it would work for hot coffee too. Essentially, you let the grinds sit in water on the counter overnight which produces a flavorful concentrated coffee base that you then dilute with some water to make drinkingable coffee. If you also search this board, you'll get people's views on it, which were mostly favorable. This way would be the easiest, as you'd just have to boil some water and mix with your concentrate on x-mas morning.

                        1. re: ESNY

                          Yes, I think this is the best solution. Easy, convenient, requires no special equipment, and it makes good coffee.

                      2. Also do you know anything about how they like to make coffee, and what brand or style? If they like a weak one brewed from Yuban in Mr Coffee, they probably won't like a dark roasted Starbucks with a long steep time. Or if they prefer Peets, they may not like anything else.

                        The Melitta holder and paper filter is basically the same as drip machines. That plus a medium roast Columbian from bulk bins of grocery store - freshly ground there - may a safe bet for many drinkers.

                        1. If you have a mesh strainer and paper towels you can just put ground coffee into a papertowel lined strainer and carefully and slowly pour the hot water over the grounds. Make sure the strainer is over a large enough bowl. I have a Melita Coffe system and all it entails is a coffee ground holder that sits over a carafe. You pour boiling water slowly into it and the coffee pours into the carafe. Make sure the grounds are finely ground.
                          You can then take the coffee and pour into a heat proof carafe.

                          Your other option is to go to your nearest coffee shop like Dunkins and for 10.00 spring for the big joe box. By the time you finish purchasing quality ground coffee you and experimenting with how to brew it it may be cheaper and better tasting to just get the big joe box...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MeffaBabe

                            I would be very wary of using paper towel in place of a coffee filter. I have done it on occasion - desperate times call for desperate measures - but I suspect the paper may contain more leachable whatnot than a food-grade filter does. I could be wrong, of course, but coffee filters are cheap (and then you can use them for draining yogurt or chicken broth).

                            1. re: Nyleve

                              I have used paper towel in a pinch, and I agree. The paper towel is bleached, and the taste does come through in the coffee. I threw it out, and made "pot" or "boiled" coffee. The method for that was described by an earlier post in this thread. In a pinch, cheesecloth would be better.

                              And yes, I use those coffee filters often, for making yogurt cheese, AND for straining HOT, skimmed broth...cooled broth has just enough fat to clog the filter. I get those filters for $1 for 40 at the dollar store.


                          2. I vote for the Mellitta system. Not only is it cheap and easy, it takes up very little space, and gives you the added benefit of having a coffee making device on hand for the future. Not only will your parents almost certainly visit again, but you're likely to eventually entertain guests who would appreciate being offered coffee. IMHO, every home should have a way of brewing coffee, even if it houses no coffee drinkers. It's Entertainment 101.

                            The other option is to go ahead with a coffee press. I have one that I almost never use for coffee anymore (hassle, laziness, etc.), but which I use A LOT for brewing loose leaf tea. It's especially handy when I'm making a gallon or so of iced tea.

                            If you get a press, be sure to get very coarse grind coffee or they'll be drinking muck.

                            If you go drip, Melitta sells a very decent pre-ground 100% Columbian coffee (most supermarkets) that is about 1/2 the price of specialty beans. It's nice because it's fine grind, which is exactly what you need for drip coffee made with a paper filter.

                            1. I stopped by a Ralphs tonight and saw a "joe to go" or something with a similar name next to the coffee filters - it's basically a filter you place on top of your cup and can be used to make single cups of coffee, i'm sure most grocery stores have similar items

                              1. Its good to know that some people in this world still have a good imagination, are resourceful and offer ideas that suit your particular request. I find it silly that after saying you didn't want to BUY a coffeemaker, some still said to WASTE MONEY and purchase a useless item that you would have no further use for except on occasion.

                                The clear answer here is to boil a pot of water and add grounds then filter, its as easy as that.

                                I guess I had to comment (even though this is long past) because I too was searching for a way to make coffee tomorrow morning because our PURCHASED coffeemaker makes crappy coffee, and I want something delicious and yummy. I'm of the opinion that less is more and the way we did it for hundreds of years is better than some of the modern crap taking up perfectly good counter-space in our overly consumeristic homes.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: aclassicdisposition

                                  Instant coffee was around in 2007 when this post originated.
                                  Today Starbucks has Via.

                                  1. re: monku

                                    Right but instant coffee is disgusting!!!!! Even Sbux was worried about the success of their newly purchased gem because of that bad reputation and market of instant coffee. I do have to say however, Via is a fantastic alternative!