No Coffee Maker? No Problem. Here’s How You Can Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker

You don’t know you’re a coffee addict until you are deprived.

Caffeine headaches.
Mental fatigue. Not to mention the physical fatigue.
And the short temper that is direct result of both.

These are a few of my least favourite things.

If you got up late, you can always pop through a drive thru. If you ran out of beans, you can always run to the store.

But the worst scenario for every coffee drinker is not having a coffee maker…

Or is it?

If this is your dilemma, you are in luck.

You remember the 80’s icon Angus MacGyver, don’t you? Fabulous hair? Handy with a paper clip?

His character was FAMOUS for his ability to use every day items to get himself out of trouble.

All you have to do is channel your inner MacGyver and nothing will ever come between you and your cup of joe.


“What Would MacGyver Do?” is the question that I found myself asking in the summer of 2011.

Let me tell you a little story about a rag tag band of misfit coffee fiends that didn’t have a machine.

In the summer of 2011, my mentor, who happens to be my mother-in-law now, invited me to go on a mission’s trip to Okinawa, Japan. Our team of 10 would go and run a summer camp for the military kids that live overseas.

So after 15+ hours of traveling by car, plane and mini-van packed to the ceiling, we were absolutely wiped out. We hit the hay as soon as we got to the facility in hopes that the time difference wouldn’t get the better of us.

The next morning, we stumbled ourselves into the kitchen in search of a power packed cup of love.

We were smart enough to bring our own coffee grounds, just in case all they had was decaf, or the bile of Satan that is instant coffee. But we did not anticipate an absence of an on demand coffee maker.

We were up a creek without a paddle.

Caught between a rock and a hard place.

One of the guys tried to pitch the idea of using a clean tube sock as a filter.

And we were starting to get grumpy.

The lot of us scoured the cupboards and found only a sauce pan, and some old coffee filters

So the 10 of us put our jetlagged heads together, boiled water on the stove, and tried 3 brewing methods that were worthy of a MacGyver Episode.

The simplest of attempts was easy as 1-2-3: brew it like a cup of tea.

Here’s how we did it:

  1. measure a bit more than the standard 2 TBSP to 6 fl. oz.
  2. Place that in the center of a coffee filter. Tie the top.
  3. Pour hot water over the top and brew to your liking.

The next idea was to try and recreate Turkish coffee.

One of the guys tried this in his travels. He walked us through every step.

  1. Measure 2 heaping TBSP of sugar
  2. Add 2 heaping TBSP full of grounds
  3. Cover with about 1 ½ cup of water
  4. Warm until foam. DO NOT BOIL
  5. Pour half
  6. Warm again.
  7. Pour the rest

Admittedly, this method didn’t turn out well because the diameter of the saucepan was too wide. Classically, you would use a “cezve.” But if you could find a pot that was similar in shape, and size, you should yield better results.


Our final attempt was a pour over apparatus.

It would have made MacGyver proud.

Fashioned from a plastic pasta strainer held up by two chop sticks scotch taped to a plate which was then taped to the backsplash, a filter, and, of course, paperclips, our rig looked like an elementary school science project.

BUT! It worked!

We followed regular pour over protocol.

  1. pre-moisten sides of filter so that the water flows through the grounds, not down the sides.
  2. measure typical pour over coffee to water ratio. 3 TBSP to 10 FL OZ water.
  3. pack cone
  4. moisten the grounds so that they “bloom,” ensuring that the water will flow evenly as you pour.
  5. pour in a spiraling motion, starting in the center and moving outward toward the edge.

Here’s the best part:

You never have to resort to these wacky methods.

Though they worked in a pinch, there are much easier ways to get your necessary caffeination.

There are an array of single cup pour over cones available on the market. Check out some of our reviews to find the best ones.

But if you ever find yourself in a hotel room that doesn’t have a Keurig, or God forbid, you go camping, and forget the french press, keep my story and tips in mind.

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