How To Make Coffee Without A Filter

There are many different ways to make this delicious beverage. We can show you how to brew coffee without a filter if you run out or want to try something new.

There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning to make a fresh pot of coffee, but you’re out of filters, or your coffee machine isn’t working. If you haven’t made the switch to reusable coffee filters or have time to go to the store before work, you might think you’ll be left without your caffeine fix.

ow to make coffee without a filter
Never fear! Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Although researchers haven’t been able to identify when coffee was first brewed, we do know that this popular beverage has been around for centuries. Various cultures from all over the world have figured out dozens of different ways to extract flavors from the coffee bean – and that means no filter, no problem, as there is always a solution.

To save your morning, we’ll go through the best ways to make coffee without a filter and how you can still make filter coffee with items you already have in your home. You might also wonder how to brew coffee without a coffee pot or machine. We have got that covered, too!

Understanding The Nature Of Brewing

Before we delve into different ways of brewing coffee without a filter, you might want to take a closer look at exactly what is taking place during this process. When you make coffee, you are creating a beverage from the soluble materials that can be found in ground coffee beans. All of those nutrients and compounds give coffee its flavor, aroma, and digestive benefits.

If you broke a coffee bean down to its base components, you would find a few different molecules and nutrients. That includes caffeine, acids, fats, sugars, and carbohydrates. Coffee masters also have the ability to infuse coffee beans with additional compounds by roasting them or putting them in flavored oils.

The various beans that are used to make coffee are very complex as well, and each variety has its own distinct profile. For example, Robusta coffee has more caffeine, but most coffee drinkers prefer the taste of Arabica coffee.

A Look At Infusion And Immersion Brewing

Infusion and immersion brewing are the two primary methods for making coffee, and many people choose immersion brewing because of its simplicity. For immersion brewing, the coffee grounds are placed in warm or hot water for an extended period of time. When the oils and nutrients have been extracted from the grounds, the liquid is typically strained.

This method of making coffee is usually done in a French press or some other type of vessel that was designed to hold very hot water. It can also be done inside a generic pot or pan, but you will need to have some way to remove or collect the unwanted grounds. You must also keep the grounds relatively coarse so that they are easier to remove.

Infusion brewing is similar to the immersion brewing process, but the grounds aren’t going to sit inside the water. Instead of soaking the grounds, hot water continuously drips through the fine material. This drip method is very common in commercial coffee makers, and many people prefer it for a few different reasons.

In addition to being extremely easy to control the quality of the final product, infusion brewing is also remarkably easy to clean up. In most cases, all you have to do is lift the filter out and throw it in the trash. While both of these methods can be done without a filter, you will need to get creative.

Why Brew Without A Filter?

There are a few different reasons why you might want to consider brewing your coffee without using a filter. In many cultures, coffee is always brewed without a filter, and that can produce a truly unique taste and texture. Turkish coffee is a particularly popular beverage that is different than the average cup of coffee you brew in a coffee maker or pick up at a coffee shop.

You might also be required to make coffee without a filter if the power goes out or you are away from your kitchen for some reason. Filter-free brewing is very common among backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts, and you should always be able to get an excellent cup of coffee as long as you have high-quality grounds, clean water, a heating source, and a few basic supplies.

How To Brew Coffee Without A Filter

Cowboy Coffee

When it comes to making coffee without a filter, very few methods are as simple as cowboy coffee. This beverage is referred to as cowboy coffee because cowboys used to brew coffee like this.

To make this type of coffee, you must first bring a cup or two of water to a boil in a small pot or pan. The total amount of water depends on a few different factors, but the average individual will want to use around 12 ounces of water per serving. Once the water is boiling, you must remove the cooking vessel from the heat source and add two tablespoons of ground coffee per serving.

After you have stirred the mixture of coffee and water for a few seconds, you should cover the pan and let it sit for about four or five minutes. Over the course of a few minutes, all of the grounds will settle at the bottom of the pan, and that is when the coffee can be served.


  • Use a cooking vessel that you don’t need for anything else.
  • Change the taste of your coffee by altering the coarseness of the grounds.
  • Always use sanitized water when brewing outdoors.
  • Buy the best coffee for camping

Turkish Coffee

Even though Turkish coffee is considered a delicacy in many areas, that style of brewing is similar to basic cowboy coffee brewing. The biggest difference between these two styles is the use of a unique cooking vessel known as an ibrik.

An ibrik is a small metal vessel that has a handle attached to the side of it. It is used to heat the water, mix the grounds, and pour the final product into the drinking vessel.

Ibriks can be purchased from many different places, including international markets and online vendors like Amazon. If you don’t have an ibrik, then you can use a very small saucepan.

To make Turkish coffee, bring one or two cups of water to a gentle boil before adding one or two teaspoons of coffee. You can then mix those two ingredients with a spoon before returning the cooking vessel back to the heat for a minute or two. Once the grounds have settled and the liquid is thoroughly mixed, it can be served.

Those who want to make traditional Turkish coffee should add some sugar to the mixture as well. Unlike many other brewing styles, sugar is usually added to the water alongside the coffee grounds. By adding sugar early on, the coffee has a unique taste and texture.


  • Use low heat to prevent a rapid boil.
  • For authentic Turkish coffee, don’t add creamer.
  • Heat the liquid twice for the best flavor.

French Press

There are quite a few reasons why French press coffee has become so popular in recent years, and that includes the potential health benefits associated with that style of brewing. When a French press is used, the final beverage is going to retain more of the caffeine, lipids, and other phytonutrients that are great for your health.

Many people also believe that a French press can produce some of the best flavors because such a large percentage of the oil is extracted from the coffee grounds. If you compared French press coffee to a cup from a basic coffee machine, then you would probably notice that the French press beverage is richer and more robust.

To brew this type of coffee, the only special piece of equipment that you are going to need is the French press itself. Luckily, you should be able to pick up a high-quality French press at a wide variety of retail stores. As an added bonus, a good French press is going to last for decades as long as you properly maintain it.

For a fresh cup of French press coffee, you should put a tablespoon or two of your favorite coffee grounds in the French press while heating water in a saucepan or kettle. When the water is just about to boil, you can pour it over the coffee grounds and let the mixture sit for a few moments.

The final step in this process is pressing down on the plunger so that the grounds are separated from the liquid.


  • Pour the water slowly so that all of the oils are gently extracted.
  • Use a scale to measure the coffee grounds.
  • Never pour boiling water into a French press.
  • A French press can also be used to make cold-brew coffee.

Swedish Coffee

There are countless ways to make coffee, but very few methods are as unusual as Swedish brewing. While this brewing method is very popular in Sweden and a few countries in Southeast Asia, it might seem quite foreign to those who are accustomed to using commercial coffee makers.

The key difference between Swedish coffee and almost every other form of coffee is the use of an egg. Although it might sound odd, the egg actually serves a very important purpose. It is used as a binder for the coffee grounds, and it creates a drink that is incredibly smooth.

To make Swedish coffee, you will need to bring one cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. You must then crack an egg into a coffee mug and mix it up with your preferred amount of coffee grounds. For a robust cup of coffee, two tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee should be adequate.

After the egg slurry has been thoroughly mixed, you can add it to the water so that it can boil for four or five minutes. The final step in this process is taking the boiling mixture off the heat and adding a second cup of freezing water. That additional cold water should force the egg and grounds to sink to the bottom of the pan so that the coffee can be poured out and consumed.


  • Traditional Swedish coffee is made with ground eggshells as well.
  • Watch the boiling mixture carefully so that it doesn’t spill over the sides.
  • Use a metal strainer if the egg slurry is clumpy.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is not the best coffee, but it is good if you’re in a pinch. All you need to do is add the correct amount of coffee to a cup, pour in some water, and stir. The instant coffee dissolves, so you don’t need to fish out any coffee grounds.

The grounds that are used for instant coffee must be heavily modified so that they don’t go bad, and those modifications will greatly alter the taste. Many companies also put harsh additives and preservatives in their instant coffee, which is also why instant coffee tastes different than baristacoffee.


  • Mix the instant coffee with a dollop of milk before adding the water for a creamier texture.

How To Brew Filter Coffee Without A Filter

If you want that filter coffee experience and taste without a paper filter, there are several common household items you can use instead to replicate these brewing methods.

Use A Paper Towel

You can use a paper towel as a coffee filter; this is similar to brewing pour-over coffee. But it’s not one of our favorite methods because you just don’t know what paper towels are made out of. You can also use a cloth napkin, as long as it’s clean.

Place the paper towel over your coffee cup. You can secure it with a rubber band. It should sit a little below the mouth of the coffee mug.

Pour hot water over the paper towel slowly. The water should be hot but not boiling.

Allow the water to drip onto the coffee cup. Once it’s finished, you can toss the paper towel and coffee grounds out. 

If you have an AeroPress, you can also use a strong paper towel if you’re out of filters. You simply cut the paper towel to the correct shape and size and brew your Aeropress espresso as normal. Some people prefer to use reusable metal filters for their Aeropressso they never run out. You can also use a napkin for a filter if stuck.


  • Avoid paper towels with patterns dyed onto them.
  • Use two layers if the paper towels are flimsy.

Use A Sock

how to make coffee without a filter
The key? Be resourceful!

You can use a clean sock as a coffee filter substitute! Keep in mind this is a sock you probably won’t wear again unless you decide to keep it as a filter.

It’s a super simple process. You’re essentially making a DIY drip coffee maker! Fill a clean sock with coffee grounds. Use as much as you normally use for a pot of coffee or even a single serving.

You want your water at a very high temperature, but it doesn’t need to be boiling. Hold the sock over your coffee pot or your mug, depending on how much you’re making.

Pour the hot water through the sock. Let all the water drip through. You might even want to wring the sock to remove excess water.

Once you’re done, you can either throw out your sock or put it in your washing machine to clean. Don’t place it with anything that could be stained by the coffee. 


  • Avoid thick socks.

Use A Dish Towel

Before you choose a dish towel, know that the coffee will stain white or any other light colors. So, use an old (but clean) dishcloth or a dark-colored one. A cheesecloth would work as well.

Place the dish towel over your coffee cup. Use a rubber band to secure it. The dish towel needs to sit a bit inside the mouth of your cup.

Place about two or three tablespoons of coffee in the middle of the towel. It should depend on how strong you like your coffee.

You’re going to need super-hot water for the next step, but it doesn’t need to be boiling. Next, pour the hot water over the coffee grounds slowly. Let the water drip through the dish towel until you have a cup of filtered coffee.

Then all you have to do is take off the dish towel. Dump out the coffee grounds or even reuse them for another project. Rinse out your towel and throw it in the washer with anything that won’t get stained.


  • Avoid thicker towels.

Use A Tea Bag

If you have a tea bag in your home, you can even use it as a coffee filter. These work surprisingly well for making a cup of Joe in the morning.

Start by cutting the top of the tea bag off so you can dump out the tea. Fill the tea bag with coffee grounds instead. Staple the top of the tea bag shut so it doesn’t spill out.

Place the tea bag into a cup of hot water as you would a normal tea bag, steeping until you create the strength of the coffee you want. The brew time varies depending on how strong you like your coffee.

You can also place the tea bag in a coffee mug and put it in the microwave to warm it up. If you find a reusable tea bag, then you’ll have a much easier time brewing good coffee, as there will be no lingering tea flavors or aromas. You might have already noticed “coffee bags” popping up on the market, allowing customers to brew their coffee quickly like a cup of tea without relying on instant coffee powder.


  • Rinse the tea bag thoroughly to eliminate all the tea leaves.

Use A Mesh Sieve

Do you have a fine-mesh sieve in your kitchen? This is another ideal filter alternative for brewing hot coffee.

To make a single cup of coffee, dump two to three tablespoons of coffee grounds in a separate coffee mug or another cup. A coarse grind is better than fine grounds to ensure the coffee does not pass right through the strainer.

Now, you need eight ounces of super-hot water from your kettle or stovetop. Pour the hot water into the cup with the coffee grounds. Mix the grounds into the water.

Pour the coffee through the fine-mesh strainer. This will separate your coffee from the coffee grounds.


  • Use a strainer you would use to sift flour.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.