Brewing Coffee Without Power

Coffee After the Apocalypse Tutorial: How to Grind and Brew Coffee Without Electricity

In part one of this tutorial, I showed you how to roast coffee beans without electricity.

Today, let’s look at How to Grind and Brew Coffee Without Electricity.

Why would you do this instead of just drinking instant in the event of a power loss? Well, some of us really like real coffee. Instant is great, but sometimes you just need something real – especially in times of distress. And green coffee beans store exceedingly well for the long term.

If you are at all concerned about planning for a prolonged power outage, being able to go from green coffee bean to a cup of brewed coffee is a powerful thing. I know of one person who plans on doing this as a barter – not bartering the beans, but bartering brewed coffee as a means of survival.

Even if you don’t plan on being the post-apocalyptic Starbucks, a brewed cup of coffee is never too far away if you’re set up right.

So let’s start the second part of this tutorial: I’ll show you how to use a  hand-powered coffee grinder and how to use a coffee siphon (my favorite off-the-grid coffee pot) to make coffee without electricity. When you pair this skill with the skill of roasting your own beans, you’ll be set for coffee.

And I don’t know about you, but being able to make a hot cup of real coffee no matter what makes me happy happy happy (H/T to the great Phil Robertson).

Let’s begin:

Grinding Coffee with a Hand Grinder

Grinding coffee with a hand grinder is pretty easy. Here are the steps:

1. Pour a cup of your roasted beans into the coffee without electricity

2. Adjust the grind for your chosen off-the-grid coffee maker.handgrindingcoffee2

3. Grind, baby, grind!handgrindingcoffee3

4. If you have too much coffee, you can store it right in the same container:

hand grinding coffee

What I like about this coffee grinder is:

  1. It’s easy to adjust the granularity of the grind – from coarse to fine.
  2. You can store the ground coffee in the grinder itself.
  3. It’s easy to turn the handle. (We’re computer nerds so we don’t have a lot of upper-body strength.)
  4. It’s very well made and sturdy so it will serve our needs for years to come.
Brewing Coffee Without Electricity

In a recent article I discussed 5 different non-electric coffee pots to consider. I’ve extolled the virtues of my favorite one, the coffee siphon, and I’d like to show you how to brew your coffee with one.

Here are the steps:

1. Fill the bottom half with water (we use water we collect from a nearby spring – here’s more details on how to find a spring).

brewing coffee without electriciy

2. Put the ground coffee in the top half and insert into the bottom half.

brewing coffee without electriciy


3. Place the pot on your volcano stove (or any other heat source) and set it to boil on medium-high heat. Careful not too hot so you don’t overheat and crack the glass. As it heats, the water gets siphoned into the top half where it co-mingles with the ground coffee. At the end of the process, the remaining water will come to a full boil and whoosh up into the top half. Give it a stir, and immediately remove from heat.

brewing coffee without electriciy

4. The coffee will then filter back into the bottom half. Perfect, strong — but not oily — hot coffee. brewing coffee without electriciyroasted coffee


We store our coffee in a thermos, even when we make it on-the-grid at home. What’s pictured here is one I bought without checking any reviews and would not buy again. It’s made in China. But it saves electricity and keeps it hot all day, so I can pour a cup of hot coffee in the afternoon when I start dragging butt.  🙂 If I had it to do over again (and I suspect I will), I’d get this one instead.

Are you roasting your own beans these days?

Are you set up for off-the-grid coffee too?



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    • Rev. Dr. Michael E Harris
    • October 4, 2013

    As I mentioned after your first tutorial, I really appreciate your style and the information. It is so easy to follow. After your first tutorial, I bought the Whirly-Pop popper (and the popcorn) to test it out. I understand the popper now and will make fewer errors when I roast some green coffee beans.

    1. Hello Reverend!

      Wonderful! Keep up the great work! You can do it! It’s really quite easy and if I can help at all, just say the word.

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