The Best Ways To Make Coffee Without A Filter (Quick Guide)

Last Updated on April 16, 2022 by John Moretti

Starting the day with a fresh brew is one of the simple pleasures in our lives that so many people cannot do without. However, making a cup of coffee requires some basic equipment. What if you don’t have that equipment? What if you find yourself yearning for a cup of coffee, but you have nothing to filter it with? Can you make coffee without a filter?

You can make coffee without a filter. Methods such as cowboy coffee require no filter for brewing coffee. Add hot water to coarsely ground coffee, let the coffee brew, and pour cold water into the brew to knock the grounds to the bottom, preventing the grounds from entering the cup when pouring. 

There are so many ways to brew great coffee, and each has its own characteristics. Making coffee without the basic tools that we are all so used to is possible, but it requires some know-how to do it well. Making coffee without a filter is possible, but if you do not know how to do it, it can be terrible. Let’s talk about brewing coffee without a filter.

how to make coffee without a filter

Making Coffee Without A Filter

Modern coffee has become a thing of luxury and decadence. Modern coffee lovers yearn for complicated coffee drinks that are prepared with difficult techniques and high-quality coffee brewed with sophisticated equipment.

The truth is the coffee was not always brewed this way. We did not always have espresso machines and AeroPresses, and Moka Pots. Before the days of this clever brewing equipment, coffee was made without any filtration at all.

Coffee can be made without a filter, and it can be delicious and very well-brewed, but it does require some skill and knowledge. A filter is not required for making coffee, and in fact, many people enjoy coffee the most when it is made without a filter.

There are several methods for making coffee without a filter, but they all rely on the same basic principles. Brewing coffee without a filter works as the coffee itself is heavier than water, and as the coffee brews, most of the soluble material within the ground coffee beans dissolves into the water, which changes the properties of the water.

This change in the water as the coffee brews causes the ground coffee to sink to the bottom of the brewing vessel as it absorbs water, loses soluble material, and becomes denser. 

This characteristic of coffee means that if you use the right methods, it is possible to brew a delicious, rich, full-bodied, flavorful, clean cup of coffee without filtering the coffee whatsoever.

Is Filterless Coffee Good?

filtress coffee at home

At the end of it, there is typically one major question regarding coffee made without a filter: is it good? 

We are all taught that coffee must be filtered to reach its peak flavor and quality, but brewing without a filter does not detract from the coffee in any way. 

Coffee that is made without a filter is good. In fact, using this brew method produces a very textured, very rich, very intense coffee that is unlike the coffee produced with any other method. 

The only challenge with this method is knowing how to get the most out of filterless coffee and how to brew in such a way that produces the cleanest cup possible. 

How To Make Coffee Without A Filter

black coffee without a filter

There are several methods for making coffee without a filter, but the two best methods are some of the most simple and the oldest coffee brewing methods around. 

Let’s take some time to learn the basics of the two best filter-free coffee brewing methods: cowboy coffee and simple filterless coffee.

Cowboy Coffee

brewed cowboy coffee

Cowboy coffee is an old coffee brewing method that dates back hundreds of years. This method involves brewing coarsely ground coffee beans on high heat and using cold water to knock the fine grounds to the bottom of the vessel.

To brew cowboy coffee, place your desired amount of coarsely ground coffee beans into a pot or a stove-top coffee pot containing pre-heated water. Traditional recipes call for about 120g of ground coffee per liter of water.

Keep the pot on the heat and allow the liquid to heat up slowly. Do not stir or agitate the coffee in any way. Once the liquid reaches a rapidly rolling boil, allow the coffee to boil for at least four minutes. 

After this time has elapsed, remove the brew from the heat, and add a small amount of cold water to the brew. Pour the cold water in through the spout of the coffee pot or directly into the brew. The cold water helps to knock the floating fine coffee grounds to fall to the bottom of the vessel.

Allow the brew to cool slightly and pour the coffee slowly from the top of the pot into a drinking vessel or decanter. Be sure to leave the last portion of the coffee in the pot, as this contains the coffee grinds. 

Filterless Coffee

A more straightforward method for making coffee without a filter is similar to brewing an immersion brew such as a French press

For this method, all that is required is medium-coarse ground coffee, hot water, and a brewing vessel such as a glass jug, the base of a French press, or even a decanter or large thermos. 

Simply boil the water, add the ground coffee into the vessel, and add the hot water into the vessel. Stir the coffee to ensure that it evenly extracts, and simply wait for all of the ground coffee to sink to the bottom.

There may be some small particles of coffee at the top of the brew, but these can be easily scooped off with a tablespoon or soup spoon.

By the time the coffee grounds fall to the bottom of the vessel, the coffee will have brewed for long enough to drink. Simply pour off the top layer of liquid into mugs or another vessel and leave the ground coffee behind at the bottom of the original vessel.


Making coffee without a filter is a simple process. The only important trick is to be sure to knock the ground coffee to the bottom of the vessel that the coffee is brewed in to be sure that they do not end up in the cup.

These methods are the oldest methods for brewing coffee, and they are very effective if you have the patience to use them well. At the end of it, the next time you do not have a means of filtering coffee, you do not have to go without. Simply use one of these tried-and-true old-school brew methods.