BLOG // // 11.6.2021

Simple Coffee without Fancy or Expensive Equipment

Sometimes we find ourselves in a tricky situation: urgently need coffee but have no brewing tools in hand. No worries, there are some simple ways to brew coffee! Here are some tips for how to make simple coffee without a brewer at home or for example in woods. 

Best simple coffee hacks 

This is always needed in addition to the list of tools per a method:   

  • Ground coffee (ratio: 60 grams pe a liter of cold water) 
  • Measure or scale 
  • Fresh water 
  • Heat source: cooktop, stove, open fire or camping heater (not for ice coffee nor cold brew though) 


Cowboy coffee     

Somewhat popular way of brewing - also called pot coffee, stovetop coffee or hiking coffee.

cowboy coffee
Cowboy coffee is the best outdoors!

Tools: 

  • Coffee pot or a kettle 

How to brew 

  1. Heat the water in the vessel.
  2. As soon as the water reaches the boiling temperature, remove the vessel from the heat source. 
  3. Measure the coffee grounds and put them into the vessel and stir to mix them. 
  4. Place the vessel back on the heat source. As soon as you see the coffee starting to create bubbles, remove the vessel again from the heat source. 
  5. Let the coffee steep for approx. 4 minutes. 

At this point there are some optional tricks you can do:   

  • “Spook” the coffee. This is done by adding a dash of ice cold water on the coffee. It makes the grounds to drown faster. Alternatively you can tap the vessel against a table or similar. The rumor tells that spooking is sometimes done simply by roaring at the coffee…
  • Stick a small pine branch into the spout of the pot. It will keep the grounds inside the pot when pouring! 
cowboy coffee tricks
Pine branch to "filter" the coffee.


DIY coffee filter bag 

An easy coffee hack using stuff people usually have at home.

diy coffee filter bag
Filter bags are common in tea but can be used in coffee also!

Tools: 

  • Cup, pitcher, kettle or bowl - basically any kind of a vessel, also a coffee cup if using a separate vessel for brewing 
  • Paper towel or nappy cloth - basically any kind of filter material made of paper, cloth or plastic
  • String, ribbon or clothespin 

How to brew: 

  1. Heat the water. 
  2. Fit the filter on the top of the vessel chosen. 
  3. Make a pit in the middle of the filter to put the coffee grounds in.
  4. Attach the filter on its place by a string, ribbon or clothespin. 
  5. Wet the filter.
  6. Measure the coffee grounds and put them into the filter.
  7. Add hot water: bloom and pulse.  
  8. Remove the filter with grounds after you have finished the brew.

DIY coffee filter pouch

Tools: 

  • Cup, pitcher, kettle or bowl - basically any kind of a vessel, also a coffee cup if using a separate vessel for brewing 
  • Paper towel, paper filter or nappy cloth - basically any kind of filter material made of paper, cloth or plastic
  • String, ribbon or clothespin 
diy coffee poutch

How to brew: 

  1. Heat the water. 
  2. Make a pouch using the filter material chosen. 
  3. Wet the filter. 
  4. Measure the coffee grounds and put them into the pouch. 
  5. Close the pouch by making a knot or using a ribbon or string.
  6. Place the pouch into the brewing vessel. 
  7. Add hot water: start with a small amount and try to wet the coffee grounds inside the pouch thoroughly. 
  8. Let steep for approx 4 minutes. 
  9. Remove the filter. 

Coffee strainer

Extremely simple method with stuff that pretty much everyone has at home. 

coffee strainer
Ran out of filter papers? Strainer will do!

Tools: 

  • Cup, pitcher, kettle or bowl - basically any kind of a vessel, also a coffee cup if using a separate vessel for brewing 
  • Strainer or a sieve

How to brew: 

  1. Heat the water. 
  2. Put the strainer on top of the vessel. 
  3. Measure the coffee grounds and put them into the strainer. 
  4. Put the strainer on top of the vessel. If the vessel is wide, you can also place the strainer on the bottom, just make sure the rim of the strainer will not get merged into the liquid.   
  5. Add hot water: bloom and pulse. 
  6. Remove the filter with grounds after you have finished the brew.


Faux French press 

No need for an actual French press when you can easily replicate one!

faux french press
Good coffee doesn't need fancy equipment.

Tools: 

  • Cup, pitcher, kettle or bowl - basically any kind of a vessel
  • Coffee cup 
  • For the ones who are strict with having no grounds in their coffee: a strainer/sieve or a paper towel or a nappy cloth 

How to brew: 

  1. Heat the water. 
  2. Measure the coffee grounds and put them into the vessel. 
  3. Add hot water and stir to mix. 
  4. Let steep for approx. 4 minutes.
  5. If not using a filter, slowly pour the coffee into the cup trying to keep the grounds in the vessel. If filtering, place the filtering item chosen on top of the cup or just below the vessel.
  6. Pour coffee through the filter into the cup. 


Swedish egg coffee 

Wait - what? Yes! This hack is using eggs natural behavior to solidify when heated. That happening, the coffee grounds stick to the egg and stay away from the liquid. Smart, huh? Check how Seattle Coffee Gear did this. 

Tools: 

  • An egg or two, one regular sized would be enough for approx. 4 cups 
  • Some sort of a bowl 
  • Spoon, fork (a spork!) or a kitchen spatula
  • Coffee cup 
  • If you want to heat everything up together, also a kettle of sone sort is needed. 

How to brew: 

  1. Heat the water. Alternatively you can add cold water into the mixture and heat it up altogether.
  2. Measure the coffee grounds and put them into the bowl. 
  3. Brake the egg(s) into the bowl - it is fine to put the shell in, too.
  4. Mix the egg(s) a bit with the coffee grounds. 
  5. Add hot water and stir a bit. You can also add cold water and heat the mixture up all together. 
  6. Let steep for approx. 4 minutes. If you did not use ready heated water, you only need to steep a minute after reaching the boiling point and removing the vessel from the heat source.
  7. Pour coffee carefully into the cup.  

Simple ways to brew iced coffee and cold brew coffee 

You don’t have to chase the cool coffee experience anywhere outside home! Brew yourself a mellow coffee drink combining filter ground coffee and cold water for 12-16 hours and you are ready for the enjoyment. If you are thirsty for further details, check my previous blog post

If you want to drink the coffee here and now, go for dripping coffee directly on ice bed (Japanese ice coffee). Read more about ice coffee from Jori’s blog post

Note that these cool instructions are for the occasion when having no French press, Chemex, HarioV60, Kalita, Melitta or similar in hand! Of course the methods are feasible when using those, too.   

Tools for cold brewing: 

  • Vessel for brewing 
  • Vessel for the ready coffee  
  • Strainer, sieve, paper towel or nappy cloth - basically any kind of filter material made of paper, cloth, metal or plastic 

How to brew:  

  1. Measure the coffee grounds & water into the vessel (if you have a French press in hand, it is great for this!). Stir to mix thoroughly. 
  2. Let steep in room temperature under a lid or foil or in a French press (plunger in the upright position). 
  3. When the time is up, filter the coffee. Pour the brew through the filter chosen. If using a French press, push the plunger down to filter the coffee.

Tools for Japanese ice coffee:

  • Cup, pitcher, kettle or bowl - basically any kind of a vessel, also a coffee cup if using a separate vessel for brewing 
  • Paper towel or nappy cloth - basically any kind of filter material made of paper, cloth or plastic
  • String, ribbon or clothespin 
  • Scale (a measure spoon is not precise enough) 
  • 165 g of ice cubes 

How to brew: 
In this recipe we replace 33% of the brew water with ice. 
This means the amount of coffee will be 30 grams and the amount of water will be 335 grams.  

  1. Heat the water. 
  2. Fit the filter on the top of the vessel chosen. 
  3. Make a pit on the filter (to put the coffee grounds in).
  4. Attach the filter on its place by a string, ribbon or clothespin. 
  5. Wet the filter.
  6. Add the ice cubes into the vessel. 
  7. Measure the coffee grounds and put them into the filter. 
  8. Put the filter on top of the vessel and place the setup on the scale. Tare the scale. 
  9. Add hot water: bloom the coffee by using 90 grams of water and steep for 45 sec. 
  10. Pour more water up until the scale shows 200 grams. Let steep for 45 sec. 
  11. Pour the rest of the water (up to 335 grams). Pouring should take approx. 3 minutes.  
  12. Remove the filter with grounds after you have finished the brew. 
  13. The ice should now have melt and the brew is ready!
iced coffee drink
Ice coffee is delicious especially if you want to drink it black.

************************************

As you can see, there are many easy and fun ways to brew coffee without an actual coffee machine or a professional filter cone. 

If you want to get nerdy, you can build up your own Dutch brew device! With that you are able to drip ice cold water over the ground coffee very slowly. That will require the following:  

  1. A cold water container on top
  2. A coffee grounds container below 
  3. A valve with some sort of a spray head between the containers to distribute the water evenly
  4. A vessel of some sort on the very bottom to catch the coffee with some sort of a filter on top of it 

A whole other world opens up with cold espresso based drinks such as frappes, iced lattes and espresso shakes. For those, an espresso machine is needed, or at least a moka pot to replicate espresso. Let’s get back to these some time soon!