How To Make A Decent Cup Of Coffee When You’re Out Of Filters

As a self-confessed coffee addict, I run out of filters on more than one occasion during the year. Surely, there’s another box in the pantry, I pray, only to feel my heart sink down to my toes when at 6 a.m. I realize, there is no hope left in life. Zero filters. I’ve done some desperate stuff in those bleak, early-morning moments, once trying to shoehorn a paper towel into a v60 and nearly scalding myself. Friends, there is a better way.

And that better way is not just to suck it up and go buy coffee. I mean, you honestly expect me to deal with other human beings before I’ve had a cup? No, the alternatives still allow you to make coffee at home using just a small dose of ingenuity.

Use a French press

French presses don’t require paper filters, so this seems like a no-brainer. But I’m adding it to the list because I don’t use my French press on a daily basis—I only use it while camping, actually—so I tend to forget I own it. This is a note to self: Kate, you have a French press in the camp box. Go get it.

Invest in a cloth filter

For those prone to forgetting to restock filters, a cloth filter is a good backup. They trap almost as many solids and oils like paper filters, but they’re reusable, so you can keep them on hand and never worry about running out. 

Reusable Tea Bags

If you also happen to be a tea addict, turns out you can also use reusable tea bags to steep your coffee. To DIY it at home, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee to a reusable tea bag, seal it up, add it to a mug with just-below-boiling water, and let it steep for a few minutes. Remove the “tea” bag and—voila!—your freshly brewed coffee awaits.