Coffee can be the one staple that adds a sense of normalcy in hard times. You might even be one of those diehard coffee lovers who ritualize their coffee brewing. But what happens when the electricity goes out? There will come a time when the shit hits the fan and you find yourself facing the apocalypse without any power source. Or maybe you just forgot to pay the electric bill. In any case, you’ll need a way to feed your caffeine addiction without having to eat coffee grounds.
Here are six ways to make a delicious cup of coffee when the power is out.
1. French Press
Generally speaking, all your coffee endeavors sans electricity will involve heating water in a pot over a fire or on a stove. With that being said, one of the easiest ways to make coffee without electricity is the French press. Given the name, you’d think that a Frenchman had invented it, and perhaps that is the case; however, it was an Italian man who patented it.
To use a French press, begin by warming a pot of hot water. Then pour the water out and place about eight tablespoons (you can just eyeball this) of coffee grounds into the pot. Afterwards, pour hot water (not boiling) into the pot while making sure to leave a little room at the top. If you pour too much water, the pot will overflow once you have inserted the plunger. Stir the mixture of coffee and water. Put the plunger on and leave the pot to brew for about four minutes. After four minutes, begin to slowly lower the plunger all the way down till you reach the bottom of the pot. Turn the lid so that the spout is open, then pour and enjoy.
Percolators are similar to French presses in that they both involve coffee, pots, and water. If you’re the camping type, you’ve probably seen a few people utilize the percolator while roughing it in the great outdoors.
Begin the percolator method by pouring cool water into the bottom chamber of the percolator. The amount of water will vary depending on how many cups you want to make. Make sure the water doesn’t exceed the bottom chamber into the top chamber when put together. Assemble the percolator and add a couple teaspoons of coffee per eight ounces of water. Lastly, place the percolator on the heat source, removing it just before the boiling point. If you allow the coffee to boil then you must drink your bitter mistake; wastefulness is not allowed during the apocalypse or among those who’ve forgotten to pay their electric bill. Otherwise, pour and enjoy.
If you have a strainer handy, making coffee can be extremely simple. Simply bring some water to a simmer and pour in the coffee grounds, eyeballing the measurements for different brew strengths. Simmer the coffee for 3-5 minutes. If you leave it over the heat source any longer, the coffee will have a distinctly bitter taste. The only downfall to this method is the bitterness which can ensue from having a strainer that isn’t fine enough. In addition, if you’re heating the water over a campfire, controlling the temperature can be tricky, increasing the chances of bitter coffee even more.
4. Filter Creatively
Filtering your coffee is probably the best balance between easy coffee brewing and exceptional taste. It also allows for many ingenious ideas, since many mundane objects can be used as coffee filters. Begin by heating up a pot of water, removing it from its heat source just before it reaches boiling point. Spoon some coffee grounds into a makeshift filter and pour hot water through the grounds and filter into your cup. The type of filter you have will affect how quickly or slowly you pour the water. For an extremely fine filter, slower pouring will be required.
The everyday items you can use as a makeshift coffee filter are endless. Some great examples are: clothing such as t-shirts or socks (clean, of course), paper towels, and medical gauze. The more durable the material the better, since you don’t want to burn through all your paper towels or other disposable materials for a nonessential like coffee. Tough fabric works the best if you can spare it. Or you could just stock up on a few thousand extra coffee filters. They have many other useful functions besides filtering coffee.
5. Cowboy Style
If few resources are available to you, you can try your hand at cowboy coffee, which is simply heating up water over a fire, throwing in the coffee grounds, letting it simmer for a while, and drinking it. Most prefer trying to pour their cowboy coffee slowly into a cup, but some drink it grounds included. This is typically a worst-case scenario for coffee lovers.
Preparation is the key to this coffee-making method. You’ll have to go into the apocalypse with this item fully stocked if you want the easy use of instant coffee. You can easily find and buy packs of instant coffee at your local grocery store, usually on the same aisle as the peanut butter and tea. Once you’ve done the almighty job of taking the packet out of its box, heat up the water using any method available. Once the water has reached the perfect temperature of hotness, you are free to tear that instant coffee packet open and pour those grinds into your cup. Stir and enjoy.
It should be noted that instant coffee has a slightly less refined taste than some of the other options, making it perhaps a last resort for serving your coffee needs. Try a few out beforehand, since some brands taste leaps and bounds better than others.