What’s Inside: In this article I cover several different ways to make coffee without electricity. I cover electricity-free ways to heat water, which is often the first step in making coffee. I also provide options for different types of coffee makers that don’t require electricity.
For many people, the thought of starting their day without a cup of coffee is unfathomable. But what happens when the power goes out and you find yourself without access to electricity? How do you make coffee without electricity?
Making coffee without electricity requires an energy source to heat the water and a brewing method that does not need electricity. You can heat water on a gas stove, camping stove, campfire, barbecue grill, or candles. You can brew coffee in a French press, pour-over, or Turkish cezve.
- It’s best to learn how to make coffee without electricity, and gather your supplies before a major power outage.
- To make coffee without electricity, you need both a heat source such as a camp stove or candles, and a coffee making method, such as a French press or an Aeropress.
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Good News and Bad News
If you’re like me, electricity is your main energy source. This is all well and good most of the time, but it causes problems when the power goes out. The good news is, there are a lot of ways to make coffee without electricity.
The bad news is, if you wait until there’s a power outage to learn how to do it, or to pick up the supplies you need, you may be out of luck. Think of it this way – during an extended power outage in your city, do you really want to fight your way through the crowds at Walmart and compete against everyone else trying to buy camp stoves or other off-grid cooking options?
I didn’t think so!
Choose One or Two Off-Grid Coffee Options
To avoid getting stuck in that type of scary and frustrating situation, keep reading to find out the various ways to brew a pot of coffee without plugging anything in. Then choose one or two methods that you think would work best for you and buy whatever you need to get the job done.
By the way, I want to encourage you to approach this challenge not as a chore but as developing a practical skill and a way to explore coffee in a different way. Look at brewing coffee without electricity as a way to slow down, appreciate the process, and get more enjoyment out of your cup of coffee!
So, let’s dive into the options, so you can enjoy your cuppa joe no matter what!
Since you’re reading this article, I’m assuming that, like me, you love a good cup of coffee. if that’s the case, I recommend:
THE COFFEE LOVER’S COOKBOOK: Your Go-To Guide to Mastering the Art of Coffee, from Bean to Cup and Beyond | 200+ Creative Recipes Included
Making Coffee Without Electricity
There are two main points you need to consider when faced with the prospect of how to make coffee with no power.
- A heat source. Most coffee-making methods require hot water, which is the first challenge you must overcome.
- The coffee-making method. Without the use of your electric coffee maker, you need an alternative method to brew your coffee.
I’ll discuss each of these aspects to give you a variety of methods to continue enjoying your coffee when the power goes out.
Heat Sources for Making Coffee with No Electricity
If your electricity is out, you will likely need a heat source for other everyday life necessities, such as cooking food.
You can use the same heat sources for making coffee off grid as you do for cooking. But these methods depend on what you have available, and your personal preferences and needs.
Use a Gas Stove to Make Coffee
If you can access a gas stove, this is a convenient way to heat water and brew coffee. There are several ways to heat the water on a gas stove, from using a normal cooking pot, a kettle designed for a stovetop, or a specialized coffee brewing method, such as a moka pot (Amazon).
Once the water has boiled, you can use various methods to brew the coffee according to your preferred taste.
One word of caution is that you should always be careful when handling hot pots and kettles. Use a potholder or oven glove when removing pots from the stove because the container itself can be hot.
Also, another issue with gas stoves is that your gas stove may require electricity to light the flame. I personally learned this the hard way during a power outage. I figured that since I have a gas stove, cooking without electricity wouldn’t be a problem. But when I tried to turn on the burner, nothing happened. So don’t assume that your gas stove will work without electricity.
Use a Gas or Charcoal Grill to Brew Coffee
If you have a gas-fired or charcoal grill, you can use it as a heat source to brew coffee. You can use these appliances to make coffee at the same time as you are preparing a meal.
However, if you only want to make coffee, a gas grill (Amazon) is more convenient than making a fire in a charcoal grill to boil your water.
Use a heat-resistant kettle (Amazon) with no plastic or rubber handles, as these can melt over the fire. You can also use your normal pot on the grate of your grill to boil the water, but be sure the pot has metal or heat-resistant handles and lids.
Many urban and suburban homes have a grill for outdoor cooking, which makes this a viable option for making coffee wherever you live when the grid goes down.
Use a Campfire to Make Coffee with No Electricity
Brewing coffee over a campfire can be a fun and rustic experience, but it is only an option if you are camping or live in a location where you can have an open fire. For example, a campfire is not a good option if you live in an apartment.
Also, certain areas may restrict open fires due to potential fire hazards. For example, if you live in an area that is experiencing drought, there may be a ban on open fires. So be sure to check your local laws before planning to make coffee over a campfire.
When using a campfire to heat water for making coffee, protecting the fire from wind by using some windbreaks and placing a lid on the pot will speed up the time it takes for the water to boil. You can use a tripod, grill, or pot hook to suspend the pot or container over the fire.
Use Camping Stoves to Make Coffee Without Electricity
If you have hiking gear, you likely have a portable hiking stove. Even if you are not a hiker, a camping stove is a useful backup appliance to cook food and make coffee when your electricity is out.
There are a variety of camping stoves you can use for this purpose, from alcohol stoves to butane stoves, and they can be used indoors and outdoors, which is an advantage for apartment dwellers. Both are available on Amazon.
I personally think camping stoves (Amazon) are a great option because they are inexpensive, and don’t take up a ton of storage space.
One word of warning is that while many camp stoves are rated for indoor use, I strongly recommend picking up a carbon monoxide detector (Amazon) and using it any time you use a camp stove indoors.
Use Candles to Make Coffee Without Electricity
An interesting option, you can use in desperate times is using candles to heat water to make coffee.
Candles produce heat but do not generate enough to boil water on their own, so you need burn several candles simultaneously to heat a cup of water.
Tea light candles (Amazon) are a good option for this method as they do not reduce height as they burn down. You need a pot stand or another way to elevate your container and position it just above the tea light candle flame.
A good location to try this out is on your stovetop, which is already designed to withstand heat. Do not try this coffee-making option on a flammable surface or a countertop that can be damaged or scorched by the heat.
Use a Battery Powered Coffee Maker
A relatively new option on the market is a battery-powered coffee maker. The advantage of these coffee makers is that they do not require open flames to heat the water. Everything is contained within the appliance to make the coffee from start to finish.
There are several varieties available, but one of my favorites is the MAKITA Rechargeable Coffee Maker (Amazon), which can use batteries from your Makita power tools to power the machine.
Coffee-Making Methods When the Power Goes Out
There are several basic ways to make coffee without electricity, each with its own unique flavor and brewing process. Once you have your water boiled, you need the means to brew the coffee to the strength you prefer and extract the flavor from the coffee.
The following methods are ways you can achieve the perfect cup of coffee without the need for electricity.
A French Press
The French press (Amazon) also called a plunger pot, is a classic coffee brewing method that uses a mesh plunger to press the coffee grounds to the bottom of the pot, separating them from the brewed coffee. All you need is some ground coffee and hot water.
Pro Tip: The Stay Hot French Press (Amazon) will keep your coffee hot. Considering that you’ll have to go to a bit of trouble to make coffee without electricity, it’s worth keeping it hot once you make it. If you’re buying a French Press coffee maker specifically to use when the electricity it out, you may as well get one that will keep your coffee hot.
Pour-Over coffee is a brewing method that involves slowly pouring hot water over coffee grounds, through a filter, and into the container below.
Pro Tip: A prefer to use a pour over coffee pot like this one, available on Amazon, because it comes with a reusable stainless-steel filter. I’ve found the stainless-steel filters work better than paper ones when making pour over coffee. In addition to that, it’s nice not to need to buy coffee filters, or worrying about running out of them.
Turkish coffee is a traditional method of brewing coffee that originated in the Middle East. It is made by boiling fine-ground coffee beans in a small pot called a cezve (Amazon). This is a great off-grid coffee option if you like strong coffee.
An Aeropress (Amazon) is a means to make a quick cup of coffee without electricity with hot water from one of the previous methods we have mentioned.
Cold Brew Coffee
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Cold brew coffee is in many respects the ideal way to make coffee without electricity because you don’t need to heat the water. I personally really like this cold brew coffee filter because it works with mason jars. As a prepper, I have tons of mason jars so this is the one of main options for making coffee without the need for electricity. If you don’t already have a mason jar, I recommend this kit, which includes everything you need to get started making cold brew coffee.
Now granted, cold brew coffee isn’t hot, unless you use one of the heat sources mentioned earlier in this article to heat the coffee after brewing it. But if you simply want to make sure you have your caffeine fix when the power goes out, and don’t mind drinking your coffee at room temperature, cold brew coffee is a great option.
Pro Tip: The last thing you want to do is to go to the trouble of making coffee without electricity, and then have it get cold. Because of that, I recommend putting the coffee you make into a thermos, after you make it. I personally recommend Yeti thermoses (Amazon), because they are known for keeping hot drinks hot longer.
Making coffee without electricity may seem daunting at first, but it can be a fun and rewarding experience with a little practice and preparation. Whether camping, experiencing a power outage, or you simply want to try something new, there are many ways to brew coffee without electricity.
Preparing for an electricity outage is the key to having everything you need on hand to make coffee without power, so get some alternative coffee-making gear together to be prepared for your next power outage!
Other Articles to Help You During Power Outages
If you enjoyed this article, and want to be able to do more than make coffee during a power outage, be sure to check out these related articles: