5 ways to use coffee pods without a machine

Cup of coffee with coffee pods and beans
Cup of coffee with coffee pods and beans (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re a lover of quality coffee from a good capsule maker, you’ll probably own one of the best Nespresso or Keurig coffee machines to handle your espresso needs. 

However, if your maker breaks down or you don’t have access to a coffee machine, it can be a nightmare — especially if you need your caffeine fix to kick-start your day.  

Whether you’re on a work trip, traveling, camping, or simply in a pod machine-less kitchen, knowing how to brew coffee without a maker can come in handy. Luckily, there are some clever ways to use your favorite coffee pods without a machine — in the case of an emergency!

What’s more, these are fairly simple to do, and will save you a few bucks at your local Starbucks. So if you want to make the most out of your espresso capsules, here’s how to use coffee pods without a machine.

1. Using a French Press 

French press coffee maker

French press coffee maker (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have a French press at hand, these can make an effective substitute to a coffee maker. First, cut your espresso pod open and empty the grounds into your French Press. You might need to use a few pods, depending on the amount of coffee you want to make. 

Then, pour in about a third of hot water to release the flavors and aromas found in your grounds for easier extraction. After leaving for 20 seconds, you can pour in the rest of the water. Now leave the coffee to steep for 4-5 minutes — this will allow full flavor. Once the coffee has brewed, push the plunger down, using a steady pressure through the coffee to separate the grounds from the liquid. 

For more top tips, check out our guide on how to make French press coffee — for that perfect brew.  

2. Using a pour over method 

A person pouring water over coffee, representing an article about how to make pour over coffee

A person pouring water over coffee (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similar to making a standard pour over coffee, this is another easy way of using coffee pods without a machine. 

First, place a filter in the pour-over cone or dripper and put it over a mug or carafe. Then, add a few pod ground coffee into the filter before carefully pouring hot water over the grounds. It’s best to always start at the center, moving outwards in a circular motion.

The coffee will then start to drip through the filter into your container. Once you’ve had the required amount, remove the filter and discard the coffee grounds. Now you can enjoy your freshly brewed coffee.

3. Turn pods into ‘coffee bags’ 

Coffee filter bag being squeezed in a cup

Coffee filter bag being squeezed in a cup (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similar to a tea bag, a coffee bag is a filter pouch filled with coffee grounds that can be soaked in hot water. For this, it’s best to use tea filter bags as they have higher flow-through rates, that will extract the flavors quicker. 

Simply empty your coffee pod grounds into a filter bag, place into a cup before pouring hot water over it. Leave it to steep for about 4 minutes or depending on your preferences, giving it a little stir. Then remove the bag, and enjoy your delicious cup of Joe. 

4. Using a saucepan 

A lid being lifted on a saucepan to release steam while cooking on an electric cooktop

A lid being lifted on a saucepan (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Go back to basics with this traditional method of making coffee without a machine. Simply fill a saucepan with water, place on the cooktop and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat before adding your pod coffee grounds. Allow the grounds to simmer for a few minutes, while stirring every so often. 

Next, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit for a couple of minutes for the grounds to settle. Slowly pour your coffee into a cup or container, making sure you leave the grounds behind. You can always use a tea strainer to make this easier.

5. Use a Moka Pot 

Moka Pot on hob

Moka Pot on hob (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Essentially, a Moka Pot is a stove-top or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing hot water driven by vapor pressure through ground coffee. What’s more, it’s often considered an easy and affordable espresso machine alternative. 

Start by filling the lower chamber with hot water up to the pressure valve. Next, insert the filter basket and fill it with pod ground coffee, before screwing the top and bottom chambers securely together. Then place the Moka pot on the hob over medium heat. Once the coffee begins to bubble from the heat, remove it from the stovetop. Finally, pour the freshly brewed coffee into your cup or carafe to enjoy. 

Moka Pots are relatively cheap, and available online like this Primula Classic Stovetop Espresso and Coffee Maker ($16, Amazon), which can make up to six cups.  

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!