How to make coffee without a coffee maker

This is a public service announcement.

Life is already cruel enough without having to drink instant coffee. But people still persist in serving the muck.

One excuse that riles me is not having a coffee maker. You don’t need one. You can make perfectly excellent coffee without a cafetière, percolator, filter machine or hideously expensive electric coffee maker.

You simply need these things:

  • A heatproof jug
  • A strainer
  • A kettle
  • A mug
  • Ground coffee.

That’s it. With these five things you can make sublime coffee in a matter of minutes. So chuck away your instant and see how it’s done. 

1. Get the kettle on

coffee making equipment

Right. The first step is to stick water in the kettle and turn it on. Put some ground coffee into a jug (you decide how much, depending on how strong you like your coffee). You will note that the coffee tin in this picture comes from Fortnum & Mason. I assure you the coffee inside doesn’t. It’s from Sainsbury’s or somewhere and does the job perfectly well.

When your kettle has boiled wait about a minute for the water to cool a degree or so. Pouring boiling water on coffee is a crime. Just don’t do it.

2. Pour hot water on the coffee

pouring water on coffee

Yep. It really is that simple. Make sure that there are no islands of dry coffee floating on the top by swirling the kettle a bit as you pour. It’s a satisfying feeling. Trust me.

3. Wait a bit, then stir

You’ll notice that there is a layer of coffee at the top of the water. After it has been standing for three minutes or so, give it a stir. The coffee will gently sink to the bottom of the jug. When that has happened, you’re ready for the last part of the process….

4. Pour the coffee through the strainer… and enjoy

Straining coffee

It really is that simple. Pour the coffee through the strainer into a mug, then sit back and enjoy drinking it. Ideally, having made the effort to make decent coffee, I’d advise against ruining it with milk and sugar… but if you must, you must.


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