How Do You Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker? Broke My French Press Again…

You know how certain words start to look strange after you stare at them for a long time?  I just looked at the word “coffee” for a while… COFFEE… COFF-EE, CO-FF-EE… argh.  Weird!

Do any of you use a French press to make coffee?  I use the Bodum 32 oz press, and it’s awesome!  I specifically decided to buy a French press because I was sick of relying on the electrical wiring of an automatic coffee maker, ever since that one traumatic time when Justin and I were really looking forward to our morning coffee and… zap!  Broken.  What I didn’t predict, however, was the frequency with which I would knock my  Bodum to the floor and smash the inner glass lining.  So far I’ve broken THREE inner linings, and since they’re about $14 each to replace, that’s $28 for two replacements plus whatever the original cost.

Out of a combination of thriftiness and laziness, I’ve been brewing coffee for the past few weeks in a big Mason jar.  Does it work?  Well… you tell me.  Does this setup look like a winner to you?

You’re right, it’s a pretty awful method.  This is what happens when I try to pour it:

And this is on a good day!

Despite the mess, I’m determined to prevail without buying a new glass liner. The pioneers couldn’t go out and buy new liners willy-nilly, and neither will I. The only thing I really need to make my low-tech coffee pot work pretty well is a piece of mesh from the hardware store. I can lay that over the top of the jar and screw it on in place of the lid.  That would make it easier to handle, anyway, but it might still be messy.  My REALLY great idea is to produce some screw-on rings for Mason jars that have SPOUTS!  Imagine that the lid is a solid circle with a mesh portion (maybe 1/2 mesh, 1/2 solid), and the screw-on ring is exactly the same as usual except with a small spout – more like an extension of the ring than a spout, really.  You’d have a nearly unbreakable, super cheap, recyclable coffee maker!  Justin says this is a good idea, but wonders if it would appeal to the general public.  I wonder if the frugal/hippie/canning community is large enough for this one to be a winner?  Anyone else have a good method for making coffee sans pot?

I see a trip to Home Depot in my future!  My only regret is that the hot dog man in the parking lot doesn’t offer gluten-free buns :(


8 Comments on “How Do You Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker? Broke My French Press Again…”

  1. What if you rubber-banded a coffee filter to the top and poured through that? I’m sort of kidding, but I think it might work.
    Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle, where we improvise all the time.

    • Angela Nilles says:

      Wow, greetings from way down here in Colorado! What brings you north of the Arctic Circle? I’ll try the rubber band idea – sounds like it would work to me. It’s gotta be better than me holding the lid on and hoping to get 90% coffee and 10% grounds into the cup!

  2. emmycooks says:

    Google “cuppow”–it’s a drinking lid for a canning jar. Then at least you’d have a cleaner pour, maybe through a lined strainer?

    • Angela Nilles says:

      Heyy that’s so awesome! It’s almost exactly what I want to make! I think I should buy one. I just go around drinking water out of a canning jar, but with the regular lid. This is sooo much better! How did you find out about it?

  3. Paige says:

    They make lots of mesh screen lids for mason jars (for sprouting seeds) that would work well. No pour spout though…

    If you wanted something like a coffee filter but reusable, you could line a strainer or funnel with some cheesecloth, and you could probably wash that and use it again.

    I was making cold-brew coffee in mason jars for awhile. You should try that! It’s delicious.

    Here are some lids: http://www.yemoos.com/strainerlidsproductpage.html

    -Paige

    • Angela Nilles says:

      Sweet, mesh lids! Thanks Paige! Katherine and I were just wondering if we could make cold-brew coffee at home. Will be perfect for scorching Colorado summer.

  4. Yer Fatha says:

    How about using a tea ball?


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