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How to Make Coffee on the Stove

Make Coffee on the Stove

Lean in close and I’ll tell you a secret. A little bit closer. Okay, ready? Here’s the deal. You don’t actually need to buy a proper coffee maker to prepare java at home. Say what? Coffee has been around for ages. It’s prepared all over the world. One of the most versatile techniques to brewing is already sitting in your kitchen waiting for you. In this article, we’ll tell you all the different methods of how to make coffee on the stove. Now, even if you already have a coffee maker (or two) on hand, you’ll have a back-up plan in case it goes on the fritz!

Method 1: How to Make Coffee in a Saucepan

Fire up the stovetop, we’re going old school on our morning cup. I actually first tried this method when I was a young caffeine-dependent renting my very first apartment. I bought a huge canister of ground coffee. I forgot to buy a coffee maker. (Thankfully I had set up the internet already.) First things first.

Here’s what you’ll need to make one cup:

  • One small saucepan
  • Water (8-10 ounces)
  • Ground coffee (1-2 heaping Tablespoons)
  • A stirring spoon
  • Your mug of the day
  • Optional: a ladle

Modify amounts as needed if you need to prepare multiple cups.

The Way to Brew It:

  1. Fill your saucepan with the desired amount of water. We recommend using a little more than what will fill your cup as you’ll lose a little of it in the boiling process.
  2. Next, stir in your coffee grounds.
  3. Put your saucepan over medium-high heat and allow it to come to a boil. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally to prevent grounds from sticking (and burning!) on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Boil, uncovered, for at least two minutes.
  5. Turn off your stove. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow it to sit for up to four minutes. This will give the grounds plenty of time to settle on the bottom.
  6. If you’re using a ladle, scoop coffee out and into your mug. Otherwise, pour very slowly to ensure the heavy grounds stay at the bottom and out of your cup!

That’s it! Pretty painless, right? I mean it’s no pushing a button or setting an automatic brew. But this way you’ll always be prepared, even if you’re out visiting your in-laws who don’t drink coffee—gasp!

5 gallon paint strainers

Method 2: How to Make Coffee with a Bag

Coffee in a bag? What are we talking about here? Not dissimilar from a teabag, this method is not for those of us who wake up bleary-eyed and barely functioning before our first cup of joe. 

But for those of us (talking about myself here) who obnoxiously spring out of bed ready to do all the things—fixing up a little coffee bag is a nice morning craft. 

You will need:

  • A single serving of coffee grounds
  • Hot water
  • Your mug of choice
  • 1 coffee filter
  • Any kind of unwaxed string

The Way to Brew It:

  1. Place a serving of coffee into a filter.
  2. Make the filter into a pouch, closing tightly.
  3. Tie the string around it, leaving one long end.
  4. Heat some water (kettle, microwave, etc).
  5. Put your coffee bag in your mug, allowing the long string to dangle on outside.
  6. Slowly pour the hot water over the bag.
  7. Steep four minutes (longer if you want it stronger!).
  8. Remove and discard the filter. Sip and enjoy.

Not a bad early morning craft, right? I always like coffee with my arts ‘n crafts time, so this is sort of the same thing.

stainless steel colander

Method 3: How to Make Coffee with a Strainer

This method is basically revisiting the saucepan way, but with an added convenience. If you have a mesh strainer—one with very small holes—you can get a cup of coffee minus the risk of those pesky grounds. Or if you like a little added texture to your morning mug of joe—skip this method and check out the next one!

You will need:

  • Water
  • Ground coffee
  • A kettle or saucepan
  • A fine mesh strainer
  • Your mug

The Way of the Brew:

  1. Add water to your kettle or saucepan (8-10 ounces per cup desired).
  2. Measure in your coffee grounds (1-2 Tablespoons per cup water).
  3. Bring water to a boil and keep it there for two minutes.
  4. Take your saucepan off the burner.
  5. Since you don’t have to wait for the grounds to settle, you can set your strainer over the mug and begin pouring right away. 
  6. Add cream and sugar if you like, sip and smile.

I like this method because it’s quick and efficient and you get a strong cup of coffee—hold the grounds. However, I don’t love cleaning my mesh strainer, so that’s one reason this is more of a “just in case” method than a daily one for me.

GSI Glacier Stainless 1 Quart Kedel

Method 4: How to Make Coffee Cowboy Style

What kid didn’t grow up idolizing cowboys? I know I did. I would check out books from my local library and read about their day-to-day lives. Cowboy coffee was always mentioned. You can brew coffee just like they used to on those starry nights. No special footwear required. (In fact, I’d recommend slippers over cowboy boots. You know, for extra comfort.)

You will need:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Water
  • A pot or kettle
  • A roaring fire (or just a stove!)
  • A stirring spoon
  • Your mug

This is How You Brew It:

  1. Measure coffee into your kettle (1 tablespoon per cup).
  2. Add some water (the usual 8 ounces per serving) and stir well.
  3. If camping, place your kettle over the fire. Or if you’re at home, just put it on a burner. Allow it to come to a boil.
  4. Boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat.
  5. Let it sit for 4 minutes so grounds can settle.
  6. Pour slowly into your mug and daydream about punching cattle.

Yeehaw. Writing about all this coffee is getting me in the mood for my second cup of the morning.

le creuset coffee mugs

Method 5: How to Make Coffee with a Faux French Press

French press coffee is so good. Don’t have a French press at home? No problem. Use this hack to make a cup that’s comparable in taste. Plus, you can do it on the stove or out camping. So even if you’re accustomed to having French press coffee every morning, you don’t have to haul the pitcher with you when you go out in nature.

You will need:

  • Coarsely-ground coffee
  • Hot water
  • A deep bowl
  • Your mug
  • A tablespoon

This is How We Brew It:

  1. First, measure your grounds into the bowl. (The standard 1 Tablespoon per cup.)
  2. Pour a small amount of hot water over the grounds until they’re fully saturated.
  3. Then add more water (8 ounces per Tablespoon of coffee).
  4. Let stand for four minutes.
  5. Use your spoon to gently press the grounds to the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Pour slowly into your mug, using the spoon to keep any grounds from following.

This method makes a good strong cup of coffee. A few tips. Careful not to splash yourself while pushing the grounds down with the spoon. Pour all coffee out into cups immediately unless you’re into an over-steeped bitter flavor for your second cup. No judgment here.

Frigidaire microwave

How to Make Microwave Coffee

Really in a rush? Don’t want to fire up the stove and wait for the water to boil? No problem. Use that other kitchen appliance, ol’ reliable, the microwave. It doesn’t get much simpler than this method. My favorite part? Minimal cleanup! 

Besides the microwave, you will need:

  • A microwaveable mug
  • Ground coffee
  • Water

That’s it!

This is How We Brew It:

  1. Fill a mug with water and microwave on high for two minutes. You want the water hot but not boiling.
  2. Stir in one Tablespoon of coffee grounds.
  3. Let sit for four minutes.
  4. And you’re done! Enjoy until the last sip, then stop unless you want a mouthful of grounds.

It doesn’t get much easier than that. Much like the cowboy method, you are likely to get some grounds as you sip. You could always strain it if you wanted to avoid that, but then you’ll have an extra dish to do.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is delicious. One of my favorites. But it requires a little planning ahead and, of course, a refrigerator. Also, it’s a bit higher in caffeine than other methods, so proceed with caution!

You will need:

  • Water
  • Coffee grounds
  • A spoon for stirring
  • 2 large-mouth mason jars
  • A cheesecloth or something comparable for filtering

This is How We Brew It:

  1. You want to use a grounds to water ratio of 5:1.
  2. Put your coffee grounds in a mason jar and wet them.
  3. Wait 30 seconds, then add the rest of the water.
  4.  Stir well, then screw the top on the mason jar.
  5. Place in the fridge and let it cool for 14-24 hours (longer for stronger).
  6. Place the cheesecloth over the 2nd empty mason jar and slowly empty the first jar into it. 
  7. The cold brew will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. To serve, you can dilute a bit with some water in your glass. 

A summertime must-have, but you can enjoy cold brew all year long if you like! Simple enough to make and mixes well with a little cream. Plus, once you’ve brewed a batch you can sip on it a little all week long.

How to Make Turkish Coffee

Confession: I’ve never made Turkish coffee at home. I love to order it at Greek restaurants though! It’s so strong and smooth. An ibrik (Turkish coffee pot) is now on my wishlist. 

You will need:

  • An ibrik (or just a very small pot)
  • Ground coffee
  • Water
  • A mug
  • Sugar (optional, but recommended. 2 teaspoons per 8 ounces.)

This is How They Brew It:

  1. Pour water into your ibrik.
  2. Put it on the stove.
  3. Add sugar (if using) to taste.
  4. Turn on the heat and bring water almost to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat and add the coffee, don’t stir yet.
  6. Return to almost a boil. You want it to be foaming.
  7. When it’s nice and thick, remove from heat and allow grounds to settle.
  8. Pour into cups and enjoy!

Some swear by doing the heating process for the coffee twice. Try it yourself and see what strength you best like it at.

Stovetop Coffee Hacks and Tips:

We’re not quite done yet. We’ve got some more creative coffee tidbits to share with you. First up, is one I find particularly intriguing. 

The Swedish Egg Method

Coffee…with an egg? Hear me out. It’s one of my life goals to live in Sweden and have a Fika break every morning. Fika is their term for a coffee (and usually cake) break, but it’s a very special part of Swedish life and is mainly about socializing. We can learn a lot from the Swedes, but for now, let’s take a look at one of their coffee brewing methods. 

You will need:

  • A fresh egg (or multiple eggs if you’re making a large batch of coffee)
  • A saucepan
  • Some room temp water and 1 cup of ice-cold water
  • A filter of some kind (like cheesecloth)
  • A cup (if single serving) or small bowl (multiple servings)
  • Oh yeah, and some coarse coffee grounds
  • Mug(s)

This is How They Brew It:

  1. Boil (1 cup per serving) room-temp water in your saucepan.
  2. Crack the egg into your cup or bowl. Oh yeah, the whole thing. Even the shell!
  3. Crush and stir the egg with the coffee grounds.
  4. Once your water is boiling, add in the egg-coffee. Boil for 3-5 minutes.
  5. When the coffee/egg mix clumps and floats on top, you’re done. Turn off the heat, add the ice-cold water and let it sit. 
  6. Once the clump has settled to the bottom of the pan, pour slowly through the cheesecloth into your mug(s). 

Enjoy your velvety smooth, low-acidity cup of egg coffee!

How to Make Coffee with a Percolator

My mom always used to make percolated coffee for guests. It’s one of the first coffee brewing methods I ever tried and so it’s very near and dear to my heart. Percolators are easy to find, affordable, and reliable. 

Fill your percolator with cold water. Fill the coffee basket with grounds (1 Tablespoon per 8 ounces or even a little less as percolated coffee is strong). Place the percolator on the stove then turn it to medium heat. You want the water hot enough to steam your coffee, but you don’t want it to boil. When the water is gently bubbling and the coffee is steaming, let it continue for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, remove the grounds basket, and enjoy that hot cup of joe. 

If all else fails: Instant Coffee

Maybe it’s not ideal flavor-wise, but you can’t beat the convenience of instant coffee. Especially when you need that caffeine fix. I always keep some on hand in case of a power outage or other coffee-related emergency. I used to sail and instant coffee is a must for days when the cabin is bobbing too hard for more than boiling a kettle.

Bonus Tip: How to Make Stovetop Espresso

Is espresso your jam, but a full espresso maker isn’t in the budget just yet? Here’s a more affordable way to get espresso-like beverages without leaving the house—buy a Moka pot! These stovetop espresso makers are easy to use, the coffee tastes great, and it’s an easy clean-up.

Fill the base of your Moka pot with super cold water. Add ground coffee to the filter. It doesn’t have to be an espresso grind, but a little finer than drip coffee is ideal. Don’t pack the grounds in. Place the filter in the bottom chamber. Twist the top of the Moka pot on, making a tight seal. Place on the stovetop over low heat. You’ll know the coffee is done when it has filled the top chamber of the Moka pot. Turn off the heat and serve piping hot. Add hot water if you enjoy an Americano. Or some cream and sugar if that’s your thing.


Q: What if you don’t have any coffee filters?

A: If you’re out of coffee filters, there a few kitchen items you can use as substitutes. Double up a paper towel and cut it to fit your coffee maker or cup. A kitchen towel or cotton handkerchief will do in a pinch as well (but be warned the coffee will stain them!). 

Q: How can I brew coffee during a power outage?

A: If you have access to a fire, that’s one way. You can keep camp stoves on hand if your house loses electricity often. 

Q: Is it safe to eat coffee grounds?

A: Absolutely. It’s not recommended to eat a lot of them, but a mouthful of grit at the end of your cup of cowboy coffee won’t hurt you. Myself, I prefer to eat chocolate-covered espresso beans!

Q: What grind is best for brewing Turkish coffee?

A: A very fine grind. You want the coffee to be very powdery rather than coarse.

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