How to make coffee when you have no coffee maker

Whether you've broken your Chemex or just don't own a coffee maker, this is a great way to make a drinkable cup of Joe in a pinch.

Taylor Martin CNET Contributor
Taylor Martin has covered technology online for over six years. He has reviewed smartphones for Pocketnow and Android Authority and loves building stuff on his YouTube channel, MOD. He has a dangerous obsession with coffee and is afraid of free time.
Taylor Martin
3 min read
Watch this: How to make the perfect cup of coffee

So you broke your coffee maker. It happens. After all, they're usually made of fragile glass or ceramic. They're bound to break sooner or later.

So how do you continue to make coffee while you wait for your new one to arrive? The easy answer is, don't. Just hit the nearest Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru.

That said, if you've grown accustomed to a morning coffee-making ritual like many coffee enthusiasts, you would rather go without before forking over $4 for some batch-brewed coffee.

Learn how to make great coffee in a pinch, even when not all of your equipment is in working order.


What you will need to make coffee hasn't changed. You still need a carafe, or something to make the coffee in. You also still need coffee grounds and a way to filter them out of the brewed coffee. And you will definitely still need hot water.

Taylor Martin/CNET

One of the best substitutes for a typical pour-over coffee maker, such as the classic Chemex, is a two-quart mason jar.

For filters, just about any standard coffee filter will do. Chances are, if you had a coffee maker and it broke, you probably already have some filters on hand. If not, however, you can also use thin, unbleached cotton fabric, like muslin.

If you use thin cotton fabric as a filter, make sure you sterilize it before using it. Bring some water to a boil in a deep sauce pan and soak the fabric in it for approximately 5 minutes. Remove the fabric from the pan and discard the water.

Making coffee without a coffee maker

To make coffee in a mason jar, first heat around two cups of water. The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (90.6 to 96.1 Celsius).

If you're using a paper filter, fold the seams of the filter so that it will open up more easily. Insert the filter into the mason jar and fold the edges of the filter over the mouth of the jar. Screw the band (the round threaded part, without the center lid) onto the mouth of the jar. Pour a small amount of hot water through the filter to help remove some of the paper taste from the filter.

Remove the band and filter from the jar and pour out the water.

Taylor Martin/CNET
Taylor Martin/CNET

Reinsert the filter into the jar and screw the band on once more. Grind approximately 1 ounce (30 grams) of coffee medium fine. If you're using a cloth filter, you may want to grind the coffee a bit more coarsely.

Pour the coffee grounds into the filter, then pour approximately 0.25 cup (60 milliliters) of water over the grounds. Gently stir the water into the grounds and let sit for 30 seconds.

Next, slowly pour the remainder of the water over the coffee, making sure not to overflow the filter.

Once the water has drained through of the filter, carefully remove the band from the jar and discard the filter with the grounds into the trash. The entire jar will be very hot to the touch, so you may need to use a cloth trivet or oven mitt to hold the jar still while you remove the band.

Pour the coffee into a mug and enjoy!

While this method likely won't make the best cup of coffee you've ever had, it does make a surprisingly enjoyable cup of coffee. This method can also serve as a way to make coffee while camping, traveling or in a number of different scenarios. Some day, it may even make you a true coffee hero.