There is a power cut, or you are out in the wilderness camping – either way you need to know how to make coffee without electricity!
As they say, where there is a will, there is a way and, surprisingly, making coffee without power or even a heat source that is remarkably easy and, FYI, there is a lot more to making a cup of coffee without a power source than cold brew coffee.
Keep reading for some fabulous, obvious and elusively obvious way to make hot coffee and cold coffee during a power cut or power outage.
Can You Really Make Coffee Without Electricity?
Absolutely yes! You can most certainly make a great cup of coffee without electricity be it an espresso, cowboy coffee, Turkish coffee, French press, a humble cold brew coffee, ice coffee – you name it, you can make it!
Mostly, all that is needed is hot water, a heat source, ground coffee, a coffee filter and milk and sugar, as required.
You don’t even need a source of heat you will find out with some of the techniques that I will detail in a second!
Read: How to make whole bean coffee
How To Make Coffee Without Hot Water – How To Make Coffee With Cold Water!
The most obvious way of making coffee without hot water is to brew up a cold brew. Cold brew is super easy to make and requires no coffee maker, no specialist equipment or a source of electricity.
- 1. A large mason jar with an airtight lid.
- 2. A sieve.
- 3. Digital coffee scales.
- 4. Hand coffee grinder (optional)
- 1. Coffee beans or grounds.
- 2. Fresh, cold filtered water.
Now we have our equipment and ingredients sorted let’s get on with making a cup of cold brewed coffee.
Step 1: Weigh Your Beans
To make a great cup of coffee with any coffee brewing method, you need to adhere to the proper coffee to water ratios.
With this recipe, we are going to make a one litre or 32 ounce batch using a good 1:8 coffee to water ratio. For 1 litre (32 oz) you will need to weigh 125 grams or 4 ounces of coffee beans.
With cold brew you can brew with either whole beans or a coarse grind. If you have a hand grinder you can use it and set it to the largest grind size possible.
Always weigh your beans as whole, prior to grinding. The weight is the same.
Step 2: Measure Your Water
Weigh or measure your 32 ounces or 1 litre of water. It is not necessary to use hot water, cold water is fine. Be sure to filter your water. Filtered water is better. There is a reason why Starbucks triple filters the water they use for their coffees.
If it is good for the world’s most popular coffee franchise it is good for us!
Step 3: Add Your Beans To Your Water.
As simple as it sounds, either add your whole beans or your coarse grounds to your water.
Step 4: Let It Brew.
The easiest part of all – do nothing! Just let your coffee extract and brew away. Typically, this will take 12 to 16 hours for coarsely ground beans and as long as 24 hours for unground whole coffee beans.
Check up on your coffee water mix after 12 hours and every few hours after that to taste test it and ensure it is hitting the spot taste wise for you. Once it is ready, strain out the beans or grounds using a sieve.
It is best that you brew it in your fridge, even if you have a power out or in your ice box if you are out camping, as above all, having your water kept as cold as possible and away from sources of heat and strong light while it is brewing is a great idea.
Read: How many tablespoons in a coffee scoop?
How To Make Coffee While Camping Without Fire
If you want to make or really need to make coffee while camping without fire and want an option outside of making cold brew coffee, you surprisingly have many options open to you – even though you are still limited to drinking cold coffee.
That is unless you are smart and a proper prepper and use prepared boiled water and keep it in a thermal flask to keep your water hot.
With reasonably hot water you use an Aeropress to make a shot of espresso, from there with your espresso shot you can make a number of espresso based milk drinks.
How To Make A Coffee With An Aeropress
Very little equipment is needed other than your Aeropress, coffee and a hand grinder. Here is the complete equipment required list.
- 1. An Aeropress.
- 2. An Aeropress coffee filter.
- 3. A manual handcrank coffee grinder.
- 4. Digital coffee scales
- 1. Coffee beans.
- 2. Hot water or warm water.
Step 1: Weigh Your Grounds.
Always the first step, weigh your coffee grounds. A good 1:16 coffee to water ratio what is required to make a great cup of coffee with an Aeropress. For a good ample 16 ounce (360 ml) cup 22.5 grams or 0.75 ounce is needed.
Weight out your whole beans and grind to a medium find grind size.
Step 2: Set Up You Aeropress.
Set up your Aeropress and get it ready for use.
Step 3: Grind Your Beans.
grind your coffee beans to a medium fine grind using your manual grinder.
Step 4: Add Your Grounds.
Add your coffee grounds to your Aeropress. Give it a shake lightly to ensure an even distribution of the grounds.
Step 5: Add Your Water.
Add your water, slowly and evenly. Add a little to begin with just to cover your grounds and allow them to bloom for 20 to 30 seconds. Once bloomed slowly and evenly add the rest of your water.
Step 6: Stir It Up!
Stir your grounds 5 to 7 times with the paddle. Allow a minute for your coffee to settle and brew a little.
Step 7: Screw It!
Screw your Aeropress coffee filter on to the Aeropress device. Slowly and carefully turn it upside down and then slowly and evenly press down on your Aeropress coffee maker to extract your coffee.
Step 8: Enjoy Your Cup Of Coffee.
Add milk and sugar as desired and enjoy your coffee that you have just made camp side and with no fire!
Make Drip Coffee With A Battery Powered Coffee Maker!
Delightfully and surprisingly, these genius devices exist with a blessed thank you to the coffee gods and diehard coffee lovers who made them. There are a few coffee makers that work on battery power directly via a rechargeable lithium battery via the USB style battery port.
There are models that can plug in to your car’s cigarette lighter most of which are drip coffee makers. Lately, there has been an addition of battery powered coffee pod brewing devices coming to the market that are suitable and compatible for both Nespresso and Keurig K Cups.
The use of these devices are as expected.
Making Turkish Coffee Without Electricity
This method does require a heat source which can be provided by a camp fire, a small butane camping gas cannister or anything else that is suitable.
Making a Turkish coffee, you will need the distinctive Ibrik (also known as a Cezve). Simply add water, bring it to the boil and then add your coffee grounds or whole beans. Turkish coffee can be made with whole beans, but it does require you to let the coffee brew and rise for longer.
Ideally, though, you are looking to get as fine a grind as you possibly can. The finer the grind size, the more they will sink, which is what you are looking for, as this coffee is taken unfiltered. If you can’t get them to sink you will drink them.
Using whole beans for Turkish coffee very much resembles cowboy coffee.
Brewing Up A Great Cowboy Coffee With No Electricity!
This is what you call proper old school coffee, especially if you make it full tilt with whole beans and without using electricity.
As above, you will obviously need some way of heating water, be it from a heating element that is battery powered or solar powered, gas operated or, of course, making a camp fire as a source of heat. You have a good variety of water heating options at your disposal.
Do it right, and you will end up with a great cup of hot coffee.
Here is how to brew up cowboy coffee step by step:
- 1. Measure and add water to your coffee pot and slowly bring it to the boil.
- 2. When your water is boiling, take it off the heat and let it cool down for 20 to 30 seconds. This will bring your water temperature down from a boiling 205F (100C) to a more ample and ideal temperature for brewing coffee of 200F (96C).
- 3. Using a 1:4 coffee to water ratio, measure out 80 grams of coffee for a 360 ml cup, (3 ounces for a 12 ounce cup).
- 4. Stir your very coarse grounds or whole grounds into the water to aid the extraction. Let it brew and sit for approximately 2 minutes.
- 5. Put your coffee down and let it sit for a further 2 minutes. Total brewing time 4 minutes. Sprinkle a touch of cold water on your beans or grounds.
- 6. Slowly pour your coffee and enjoy. When you are pouring, your goal is to hold your grounds in the bottom of the pot. It will take a bit of control on your part.
Simply enjoy your coffee. Some variations of Cowboy coffee include using egg shells and adding a touch of salt, just a sprinkle.
Making Coffee With A French Press With Zero Electricity!
This is perhaps the perfect scenario for coffee lovers with great quality beans and having the incredible lust to and driving need to make that coffee while your power is out. The French press is much loved as you have full control over all the variables.
A very good ideal coffee to water ratio to use for this brewing technique is 1:12. For 12 ounce, 360 ml Cuppa Joe, one ounce (30 grams) of coffee will be needed.
Boil your water to the ideal temperature for coffee brewing of 200F or 96C. If you don’t have a digital thermometer then simply boil your water and let it sit for 20 min.
You can use a camping stove, a camp fire or solar ovens to boil your pot of water. While your water is boiling, you can measure and weigh your coffee beans and start to grind them to a coarse, even grind.
Put your grounds in your French press and gently shake them, so they are nice and evenly distributed.
Now pour your water, once ready, slowly over your coffee ground to cover the grounds by just a finger, then stop pouring and allow your grounds to bloom for 20 to 25 seconds.
When your grounds have bloomed, pour the rest of your water slowly and evenly. When your French press is full, press down on the plunger until it is just below the water line.
Now, let the coffee brew for 4 to 5 minutes to brew your coffee. Once your coffee is extracted and brewed push down on the plunger slowly and evenly. Emphasis here on both words! Slowly and evenly.
Once the plunger reaches the bottom, hold it there and pour your coffee and enjoy it.
Why Is Hot Water Suitable For Making Coffee – The Science!
Hot water is most suitable for making coffee because the high temperature compounds in coffee beans dissolve better and quicker than the low temperature compounds. This is why you get a different taste when you are brewing with hot water and cold water.
The different compounds result in a slightly different taste. They also take longer to extract at lower temperatures. Even a slight change in temperature can change how a coffee tastes. An overtly bitter espresso brewed at the lower end of the ideal brewing temperature at 92C (195F) will lose the bitterness when the temperature is raised by just a few degrees to the higher end of 96C (205F).
This is why the brewing temperature is an important variable that we must take note of and pay attention to as coffee lovers in our quest to make the greatest cup of coffee ever.
How To Make Keurig Coffee Without Power
There are a number of option for making Keurig coffee using your K cups when you have no electricity.
One of the simplest methods is to carefully cut open the lid, weight the grounds and ensure you have enough and follow the process above to make a delicious cold brew coffee.
A second option involves cutting open the K Cup and emptying it into a filter and making pour over coffee. Similar to this assuming you have a battery powered drip coffee machine, you can empty your K cups into your drip machine and proceed to make drip coffee.
Finally, you can, of course, make full immersion coffee by emptying your coffee from the K cups into a Mason jar and adding water, fully immersing your grounds and then enjoying your Cuppa Joe.
FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions about brewing coffee with no electricity.
How Did People Make Coffee Before Electricity?
Coffee was always been brewed as it is today with only slight adaptations to the machinery and coffee machines that we use today. An espresso machine was not electric powered by steam powered and then by means of a lever before being adapted to what we see today.
The only thing that changes in the majority of cases is the heat source. Moka pots, which, of course, can also be used to brew coffee without the use of electricity, have been around since the mid to late 1850s. The French press has been around long before the mass adoption of electricity in homes.
Drip coffee is not different, that has been around for just as long – in a more antiquated form.
Coffee roasting, ironically and rather fantastically, was done at home using a traditional pan and open frier. I say this ironically, as we are currently undergoing a new wave of home coffee roasting, this time with more modern and more convenient equipment.
The only new methods of making coffee in the modern age is the Aeropress and the capsule coffee makers.
What Is The Oldest Way Of Making Coffee?
One of the oldest ways of making coffee is the French press. The oldest and, oddly enough, was invented by an Italian and not a French man.
To this day, it is still one of the best as it allows you to have full control over all the variables associated with coffee brewing.
How Do You Make Old Fashioned Coffee?
Old-fashioned coffee is a brewing technique that closely resembles drip coffee. It involves whole coffee grounds or manually ground coffee grounds and a filter. The coffee grounds or whole beans are placed in the filter and hot water is slowly poured over them.
It is somewhat in-between that of a pour over coffee and drip coffee.
Frappé-Ing It All Up!- How To Make Coffee Without Electricity
It is no longer a question of how to make coffee without electricity or how to make coffee without a heat source as it is now a matter of which method you want to use to brew your coffee without the use of electricity.
Which method stands out for you? For me, hands down it is Turkish coffee or Cowboy coffee.