6 Ways to Make Coffee Without a Filter?

A cup of coffee is the perfect way to start your day.

However, things sometimes go wrong, like when you run out of filters. Ugh, that’s the worst. Actually running out of coffee is the worst. Don’t worry – in this article, I’ll show you how to make coffee without a filter.

Who knows, maybe you’ll like one of these methods enough to use it again!

Ways to Make Coffee Without a Filter

Making coffee without a filter usually involves adding hot water to freshly ground coffee beans. Keeping those grounds out of the final product is where it becomes challenging.

Using the Stove

This is one of the simplest options:

●        Add two tablespoons of ground coffee per cup of water to a pot.

●        Stir well and slowly heat over low to medium heat.

●        Scoop off the foam that forms and place it in your cup.

●        Bring the liquid to a boil and then remove it from the heat.

●        Allow it to cool slightly, and then add it to the cup.

To strain it, you can pour carefully to avoid the grounds spilling over or strain it through fine mesh or cheesecloth.

Using a Drip Coffee Maker

You can still use your drip coffee maker as usual when you run out of filters. Simply replace the filter with paper towels, a clean tea towel, or cheesecloth.

Using Full Immersion

This is another simple method that requires minimal supplies. You’ll need a heat-proof container, boiling water, coffee grounds, and any of the following:

●        Cheesecloth

●        Dishtowel

●        Sock

●        Fine mesh tea strainer

Place two tablespoons of ground coffee into the container. Boil your water and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes. Then pour it into the container. Stir and allow the coffee to steep for about five minutes.

Place the cheesecloth, dishtowel, sock, or tea strainer over the rim of your cup. Carefully pour the coffee into it. The makeshift filter will catch the coffee grounds, leaving you with a smooth cup of coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee

This method requires patience but delivers excellent results. You don’t need any special equipment.

●        The easiest way to do this is to place your coffee in a mason jar. Use about one spoon of coffee for every ten spoons of water.

●        Stir well and put the lid on.

●        Place the jar in the refrigerator and leave for at least seven hours, preferably overnight.

●        The next day, strain the mixture through a double layer of cheesecloth.

●        Serve over ice.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is something of a cheat but is a time-saver. While you cannot replicate the taste of freshly ground beans, you can make a good substitute.

Simply boil your water while placing your instant coffee in a mug. Allow the water to cool for about a minute before pouring it into the cup. Stir, and it’s ready.

French Press 

The French press method is one of the simplest ways to make coffee without a filter. Simply add a ground coffee to the French press at a rate of one spoonful for every cup of water. Boil the water and allow it to cool slightly before adding it.

Place the lid on and let the coffee brew for about five minutes. Then depress the plunger, which holds down the grounds while you pour a delicious cup of coffee.

If you don’t have a French press, you might still be able to use a variation of this method, but be prepared for a mess. Similar to the full immersion method, pour boiling water into a mug or other container with coffee grounds. After letting it brew for five minutes, pour it from one container to another to separate the coffee grounds.

What Are the Best Substitutes for Coffee Filters?

As seen above, there are many options for substitute for coffee filters. Now that you know how to make coffee without a filter, it’s time to choose your favorite replacement.

A paper towel is probably the closest to a filter. However, if you want to replace filters altogether, cheesecloth makes an acceptable, reusable substitute. Let’s go through each of our options in more detail.

Paper Towel

A paper towel is a no-mess, no-fuss option. Place it in the drip basket as you would a filter, and the machine does the rest. When your coffee is done brewing, remove it and throw it away.

On the upside, this is highly convenient and fairly effective. However, paper towels may contain bleach and other chemicals. They’re also more fragile than standard filters.

Dish Towel or Cloth Napkin

Most of us have a dishtowel in our homes already. They’re convenient, relatively effective, and reusable. The downside is that you must shape the towel into a bowl shape.

The stiffness of the fabric makes a naturally shallow bowl. Also, the towel itself may contain traces of detergent. Finally, the coffee may stain the fabric.

While not an ideal substitute for a coffee filter, it will do in a pinch.

Reusable Tea Bags

Reusable tea bags are an interesting option for brewing coffee. You simply add your coffee to the bag and seal it up. Then allow it to steep for about five minutes.

This alternative is simple, mess-free, and highly effective. As you’re using a product designed for food, there are no nasty chemicals to worry you.

The downside is that these are not everyday household items. The chances are that if you buy reusable tea bags, you probably also buy coffee filters. But it may be worth a look, especially if you need a quick cup of coffee on the go.

Fine Mesh Tea Strainer or Cloth

A tea strainer is a pretty traditional method that tea drinkers will employ. You make your coffee as usual and then simply strain the grounds using the fine mesh.

The upside is that it’s a reusable option and highly effective. If the mesh isn’t catching the finest grounds, placing a piece of cheesecloth over it will pick up the slack. It’s a straightforward option that’s difficult to mess up.

The downside is that the mesh may allow some grounds through it. Overall, however, it’s a handy standby if you run out of filters. It’s easy to clean and won’t leave unpleasant flavors in your coffee.


Cheesecloth is a finely woven cloth that will catch most of the particles of coffee. It’s one of the best substitutes for coffee filters since it’s easy to find and simple to use.

However, the cloth is relatively absorbent and may trap more liquid than you like.

Socks (LOL)

A sock is a last-ditch measure coffee filter replacement hack (obviously), but it works pretty well.

Be sure to use a clean, unworn sock, preferably one made of natural fibers – synthetics may melt at high temperatures. Bear in mind that any detergent flavor will come through if you don’t rinse the sock first. 

Now that you understand how to make coffee without a filter, you won’t have to forego your morning coffee if you run out of filters.

But to avoid that happening, why not stock up on some high-quality filters? Be sure to browse our site to learn even more about coffee and the best ways to make it.