I first began to really drink coffee shortly after my youngest son was born. I had previous forays into sweet, ice-cream like frozen coffees, but never fully embraced the dark, rich flavor of this morning beverage.

And then, out of a desperate need to keep my eyes open with two children under two and the many middle-of-the-night wake-up calls that go along with it, I started regularly buying coffee when I was out and about.

I wanted to make it at home for an every-morning beverage, though. What I couldn’t do was justify adding an electric coffee maker to my already crowded kitchen counters. So I looked into the ways coffee was made before electric appliances.

Percolator. The old coffee percolator works as a stove-top coffee maker. These old-school coffee makers combine the pot, the filter, and the coffee ground-holder all in one vessel. These coffee-brewers can be found at thrift stores or garage sales, or you can invest in a new one.

French Press. Some of the best coffee I’ve ever had has come out of the French press. This little device is gaining popularity and besides being tough to clean is fairly easy to use. Just add the grounds to your carafe, cover in hot water, steep for four minutes, press slowly and you have delicious coffee. Ours is similar to this one.

Cowboy Coffee. My Dad taught me to make coffee this way. The only equipment necessary is a small pot. Simply place the coffee grounds and as much water as necessary in a small sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for just a couple of minutes and turn off the heat. At this point the grounds should sink to the bottom and you should be able to pour the coffee off the top and into your cup, grounds-free!

Mason Jars. This is my most frequent method for making coffee now that we’re off-grid. Without a percolator and a French press that simply takes too long to wash, I use two of the many mason jars in our kitchen for making coffee. I add 3-4 tablespoons of coffee grounds to a quart jar and pour two cups of boiling water over the grounds. Cover, let steep four minutes, and strain. If you use a coarse ground coffee you can strain through a tea strainer or you can place a coffee filter over the top of another jar, fasten a canning ring over it to tighten, and pour the coffee through that.

Using one of the above methods you can eliminate the need for an electric machine and more clutter on your counter tops than you already have.

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