Learning how to make coffee without coffee filters can be a literal lifesaver for serious coffee lovers who simply cannot survive without a morning cup of coffee before facing the day.
In this article I’ll talk about 8 great methods that you can make a great cup of coffee that do not require the use of a filter – a couple of them have built-in filters, super convenient, and maybe you have those brewers in your home!
Keep reading and learn how to make a great cup of coffee without a filter.
How To Make Coffee Without Coffee Filters
There are many ways in which you can brew a cup of coffee both with additional equipment and without additional equipment. Some of the coffee brewing techniques you have already heard of, tried, tasted and loved!
These brewing techniques are completely beginner-friendly and will make you a great cup of Joe.
Let’s get to it.
Read: Using a paper towel as a coffee filter
You Can Make Cold Brew Coffee Without A Filter
Cold brew coffee is so easy to make without the need of a filter of any kind. In fact, I seldom use a coffee filter and prefer to use a fine-mesh sieve.
This cold brew recipe will have you making a cold brewed coffee that is, in my opinion, better than what you will get at Starbucks and is truer to the brewing method as Starbucks brew their cold brew coffee at room temperature.
I put this top of this list as it can be made without a coffee machine.
You will need a double-layered cheesecloth, towel or fine-mesh sieve to filter out the grounds and a large mason jar or similar glass container with an airtight lid for brewing your coffee.
Let’s get on with this cold brew recipe and, please stick to the method rigidly.
Using freshly roasted coffee beans, grind them to a coarse grind size. Measure and weigh your water and coffee grinds sticking to the 1:8 coffee to water ratio.
Using 500 ml (17 Oz) of ice-cold water, use 62.5 grams of ground coffee (2.125 Oz) and add them to your mason jar, pour in your ice-cold water and put your mason jar in your fridge to brew.
If you want to make a lot more cold brew coffee, use the same coffee to water ratio and use one cup of ground coffee and 8 cups of water. Ensure your coffee is coarsely ground, and you stick to the 1:8 ratio, or multiple of it (2 cups of ground coffee per 16 cups of water, for example).
It is important with this brewing method to use cold water and better still if you brew in your fridge to extract the low temperature compounds. This is where Starbucks fails: they leave their cold brew to extract and brew at room temperature.
Brew time is anything from 12 to 24 hours. Check after 12 hours and again every 2 to 3 hours after that until it tastes perfect for you.
When it is ready, use a double-layered cheesecloth or a kitchen towel, or better still a fine-mesh sieve to strain your coffee grounds and filter out the grounds.
If you leave your coffee grounds in, they will continue to extract, and you will end up with an over-extracted cup of coffee.
Read: What can you use in place of a coffee filter?
Make And Enjoy Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee is great, tasty and above all is made without coffee filters. To make it you will need a Turkish Ibrik, also known as a Cezve.
To make it you need very finely ground coffee, water and optionally sugar. It is a very bold and strong tasting coffee.
Put one heaped teaspoon of very finely ground coffee into your Ibrik (Cezve), add 1 teaspoon of the sugar of your choice.
Add 2 ounces of water (60 ml) stir well and heat your coffee mixture on your stove on a low setting. Wait until foam forms and spoon in some foam into your demitasse cup.
When your coffee starts to boil, take your Ibrik off your stove and slowly pour your coffee.
Wait a minute for your coffee to settle and the coffee particles to sink before you enjoy your cup of coffee.
Don’t stir your coffee; you will only unsettle your coffee grounds.
This is another filter-free coffee method that does not need a coffee maker or a filter. If you don’t have an Ibrik (Cezve), you can try to adapt using a saucepan.
Read: Coffee filter substitute
Make Cowboy Coffee
This is very similar to Turkish coffee and is a great way of making coffee without coffee filters. No special equipment is needed either.
Cowboy coffee is something that is normally made outdoors and traditionally over a campfire.
You can brew this in a regular saucepan using a coffee to water ratio of 1:17. Use 20 grams of coffee grounds (2/3rd of an ounce) for a 340 ml of water (11.33 Oz).
It is essential that you use a coarsely ground coffee as any smaller will result in a coffee that is very bitter.
Add your water to your saucepan and heat it on a low to medium heat. Add your coffee grounds and stir well. Take your water and coffee to the simmering point and keep it brewing for 2 to 3 minutes.
Optionally add eggshells or a dash of salt to tame the bitterness. Take your saucepan off the heat and let it cool for a minute or two for the grounds to settle. Pour your coffee slowly and carefully and to get as few coffee particles in your cup of coffee.
Let your cup sit for a minute to settle. Drink and enjoy your brew. This is another method that does not need a coffee maker.
How To Make Coffee Without Filters The French Press Method
Making coffee without filters is easy when you have a French press as this fabulous coffee maker has a built-in mesh filter.
A French press is easy to use and makes great coffee; it is as a matter of fact one of my favorite brewing methods.
This method requires freshly roasted and fresh coarsely ground coffee and a coffee to water ratio of 1:12 for the best results.
Use 1 ounce (30 grams) of coffee grounds and 12 ounces (360 ml) of hot water.
Heat your water to the ideal coffee temperature range of 92C to 96C (195F – 205F). Add your freshly ground coffee to your French press and on a flat surface give it a light shake to ensure that there is a nice, flat and even distribution of your coffee grounds.
Add your hot water and pour slowly until your coffee grounds are slightly submerged and stop to let your coffee grounds bloom for 20 to 25 seconds. Continue to pour the rest of your water until your press is full.
Stir your coffee and water gently for a minute and push down on your plunger until it is just below the water line.
Let your coffee brew for approximately 4 minutes. Once your coffee is ready, push down on your plunger slowly and evenly until it reaches the bottom.
Pour and enjoy a great French press coffee. If you have any extra coffee left in your press, decant it as it will continue to brew.
Make A Moka Pot Coffee
Similar to a French press, a moka pot has its own built-in filter and makes great coffee. It is a favorite in continental European homes from Portugal to Spain, Italy, Greece and beyond.
Grind your coffee to a fine coffee grind and fill the coffee chamber and tamp lightly. This is an extra step, and is not essential. Add more coffee ground if you have space after light tamping.
For the best results as suggested by 2006 world barista champion James Hoffman, heat your water to 70C (160F) and add to the water chamber and fill to no more than the maximum fill line.
Put your moka pot on your stovetop and heat your coffee. Your moka pot coffee will be ready when you hear the whistling sound.
Pour your coffee and enjoy.
Brew And Enjoy A Cup Of Mud Coffee
If anyone ever asked you how to make coffee without coffee filters the first picture in your mind is probably something that is what is commonly known as mud coffee.
It is one of the easiest and simplest coffees to make without using a coffee filter and is very old school.
Using a slightly finer than a medium grind size and a coffee to water ratio of 1:16 and making a good-sized 16 Oz (480 ml) cup of coffee, use 1 ounce (30 grams) and 16 oz (480 ml) of hot water.
Simply add your grounds to your coffee mug, add your hot water and stir gently for a minute. Let your coffee sit for 3 to 4 min to brew and settle.
Add milk and sugar as required.
How To Make Drip Coffee Without A Filter
This might just be the easiest of methods and is a very improvised solution that you can adapt in a number of ways, from using coffee filter substitutes when you have run out of paper coffee filters to, well, going “bare naked” and using your coffee basket with no paper coffee filter substitute at all.
Making drip coffee without a filter is the easiest of methods. Simply fill the filter basket with coffee and brew your coffee as you normally would and enjoy your coffee.
Some coffee particles may make their way into your coffee which is why I suggest you let your coffee settle for a minute to let any coffee particles settle to the bottom of your coffee cup.
You can also use any one of the many improvised solutions to make a makeshift emergency coffee filter for your drip coffee maker.
Paper towels, cheesecloth, paper or cloth napkin, handkerchief, dish towel, paper towel all fit into this category and are very easy to make.
Simply fold them into a pouch and place inside the filter basket and fill the pouch with coffee.
Make Percolator Coffee Using Your Coffee Percolator
A coffee percolator is very similar to a moka pot and brews a good strong coffee that is highly caffeinated.
A 1:18 coffee to water ratio is used and coarse grind size. It is very common not to use a coffee filter when using a coffee percolator.
Simply place your coffee grounds on the coffee basket using 2 ounces (60 grams), fill the water chamber with 360 ml of water (12 Oz) and switch on your coffee percolator if you have an electric version or put it on your stovetop if you have a manual percolator.
This is a manual hands-on method as you need to keep an eye on your percolator. If you forget about it for too long (4 to 5 minutes depending on your machine), it will continue to cycle through the brewing process, and you will have an over extracted, overtly bitter cup of coffee.
Percolator coffee is strong and highly caffeinated as it double brews your coffee.
If you want to use a makeshift cloth coffee filter, you can do so by cutting a cheesecloth or cloth napkin into shape to suit your percolator.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Coffee Without Coffee Filters
Can You Make Coffee Without A Filter?
Yes, there are a number of authentic coffee brewing methods that do not use a filter and result in a great tasting cup of coffee, here are some:
- Mud coffee.
- Cowboy coffee.
- Turkish coffee.
There are a few brewing methods that have built in permanent metal filters, namely French press, moka pot, siphon coffee and even Aeropress has a metal filter available.
What Can I Use Instead Of A Coffee Filter To Make Coffee?
You have a number of options available when you need to use an emergency coffee filter. Try to use a tier 1 alternative coffee filter first as they produce the best tasting coffee.
- Tier 1: Metallic reusable teabag, fine-mesh sieve, French press coffee maker.
- Tier 2: A clean cloth napkin, handkerchief, cheesecloth, dish towel, reusable cloth teabag.
- Tier 3: Paper towel, paper napkin, paper towel.
Only use in an emergency and search first for tier one options first and then tier 2 and after that tier 3.
Is It OK To Use Paper Towels As Coffee Filters?
Yes, it is perfectly ok to use paper towels as coffee filters with one caveat – use them only as a temporary solution as paper towels may be bleached and treated with other chemicals that are good for your consumption on a regular basis.
They are permitted by the authorities as it is not expected that you will consume any food that is in contact with paper towels.
Do Coffee Filters Make A Difference?
Yes, and unquestionably so. Make a coffee with three different types of filter, and you will find out just how different your coffee tastes by using different filters.
- Metal Filter: Full-bodied, fully flavored coffee.
- Paper Filter: Clean, crisp tasting coffee.
- Cotton Filter: A middle ground between a metal and paper filter.
The effect of these three types of filters is due to the amount of coffee oils that get filtered out.
Why Are Brown Coffee Filters Better Than White?
The color of your coffee filter does not make a great difference to how your coffee tastes. What is more important is to focus on how they were processed, beached or oxygen processed. Oxygen processed is less toxic.
Both produce similar results and there is not a great difference between the two, but a brown one does produce a more papery taste. You can overcome the papery flavor by rinsing your filter with water before you use it.
Can I Use Cupcake Liners As Coffee Filters?
No, cupcake liners are not porous and are a lot thicker than coffee filters. You won’t filter your coffee at all that well and will end up with a huge mess.
They just don’t work as a substitute coffee filters at all.
Final Thoughts – How To Make Coffee Without Coffee Filters
Congratulations on reading this far: you now know how to make coffee without coffee filters in at least 8 different ways and can have a variety of options in front of you ranging from cold brew coffee, moka pot, French press, Percolator, Drip coffee, Turkish coffee, Cowboy coffee and mud coffee!
All of which taste great!
Which method did you prefer and which coffee do you think tasted the best?
Do you have your own filter-free coffee brewing method?
Join our online coffee community on Facebook/Meta, take part and let us all know your own thoughts and “secret” methods and coffee creations.