$1 One Cup Coffee Maker




Introduction: $1 One Cup Coffee Maker

Have you used a one cup coffee maker? They're pretty amazing. Put in a pod, shut the lid, push a button, and suddenly, your afternoon is  taking a turn for the better.

As nice as these appliances are, they have a couple drawbacks.  One is that they take up precious space on the counter. Another is, they aren't cheap. And I have no idea what the pods cost.

On the plus side, there is nothing like a cup of coffee anytime you want one. 

Here's an easy, inexpensive way to enjoy that cup of coffee anytime you want it. All you need is very hot water and a few things you probably have around. 

This method works best at home, unless you have a way to make hot water at work. 

Bonus: if you live with a hot tea drinker, there is usually hot water available. (Make sure you refill the tea kettle, though)

Extra bonus tip: This method travels well. Put your favorite coffee in a ziplock plastic bag, pack a few coffee filters and the strainer and say goodbye to stale hotel room coffee. Just use the hot water pot that is usually provided.

Step 1: The Tools You'll Need for the Job

Here's what you'll need:

A tea kettle, a stainless steel sink strainer, coffee filter, coffee mug and 2 tablespoons of coffee. 

The sink strainer can be had at a dollar store for, that's right, a dollar. They're usually in the housewares section.

There are a couple sizes available.  If you're in doubt about the size, take one over to the coffee mugs they have for sale there and see

if it fits.

Make sure you wash it before you use it.

Step 2: Let's Make Coffee

Turn on the tea kettle. Steamy is hot enough. 

Place the sink strainer on the mug and insert a paper coffee filter. You'll have to play around with the filter to get it to fit well.

I'll leave you up to your own devices on this part.

Step 3: Get Out the Coffee

Now, place 2 tablespoons of coffee in the filter. 

I don't know if you think that's a lot for one cup, but any less and it can be a little light. It works for the size cup I use.

Step 4: Now You're in Hot Water

Slowly add hot water. A steady stream seems to work best. It goes fairly slowly. It should take about a minute.

Step 5: No Job Is Finished Until the Paper Filter Is Gone

When you've reached the level in your cup that you like, gather the filter up, give it a light squeeze against the strainer and into the trash, or compost pile, it goes.

Step 6: Time to Enjoy

Just a note here: because you've been pouring very hot water into your cup, it will be warmer than you're probably used to.

Be kind to your lips; go slowly.

If you find your brew is a bit strong, the fix is easy: just add a little hot water.

Something I noticed was how good my coffee tasted prepared this way; better than from the drip coffee maker.

Tip: If you set your cup down and forget about it (I know, improbable) and it gets cool, a little hot water will perk it right up.

Economics: I enjoy this method and use it every day, but two tablespoons seemed like a lot and I wondered what it was costing

me to make  coffee this way. Here's the breakdown: there are 75 tablespoons in a pound of coffee. I use Grandessa German

Roast coffee from ALDI. (A little plug here; this is good coffee for the price). It comes in 1.1 pound packages (1/2 kilo).

$4.99 per pound divided by 75 tablespoons equals about 7 cents per tablespoon times 2 tablespoons per cup equals about 14

cents per cup. Even if your coffee costs $10 per pound, you're under 30 cents a cup for some really good coffee.

I must pass along kudos to my mother-in-law who introduced me to this method and may have developed the use of the sink

strainer for making great coffee. It's the only method she has used for years.

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    3 years ago

    Great idea! I"m going to start doing this later today. One suggestion though: instead of using paper coffee filters, cut a filter out of a shirt you are not using any more. Make sure it is a fine fabric like a dress shirt. Use it like a paper filter, throw out the grounds and rinse. It may have a funny taste the first time you use it, but it goes away after that. I have used this method for over 20 years. I have replaced them 3 times only because I lost them when I moved. I have 6 ways of making coffee now. This makes 7. Thanks.


    4 years ago

    An interesting "ible" to say the least, & because I am the only one here, that drinks coffee, this would really work for me, ...
    about 5 years ago, I was @ Walmart, & they only had one coffemaker for sale that I liked, ... the pot itself, had the straight sides instead of being tapered, which I cannot get my big hands to go into to wash every so often, ... & I generally have cut my coffee consumption down to a mug sized cup of my favorite joe, per day, ... it takes about 3 cups of water to make my morning coffee, & I use the paper filters to strain the contents, ... I like Folgers darker, more robust types of coffee, but am also partial to using 8:00 o'clock coffee, as it is darn good tasting too, ...
    as a kid, I remember going camping with my Aunt, Uncle, & their 9 kids, ... and the wafting brew of my Aunt Vena's outdoors methods are still vividly impressed into my psyche, ... the use of a
    N empty coffeecan, with a number of tablespoons of coffee, & a couple3-4 eggshells to take the edge off of the coffee's bitterness, was absolutely delightful, ... no coffee grounds in my cup either, as there is/was something about the eggshells that made the grounds sink to the bottom of the pot, & stay there, ...

    idk much
    idk much

    6 years ago

    This would work for me I think! I like coffee but it's a waste to use a coffee maker for just me


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I make two cups at a time for my travel mug. I use a basket-type filter + a paper filter which I put into a 2-cup plastic measuring cup. I nuke two cups of hot water in a 2-cup glass measuring cup and pour it in. The basket filter has about a half-inch that is submerged in the coffee, and I let it sit for a couple of minutes to brew it stronger, then lift, allow it to finish draining, then pour it into my travel mug. I have my two cupper treat every night after dinner! Hubs uses the big coffee maker but it now makes coffee that tastes like plastic. I won't drink it anymore, but I love good fresh coffee with a minimum of fuss and mess and this method works for me. I intend to get a Chemex coffee maker one of these days and do away with the expensive electric plastic coffee maker. Now that we are in hurricane season, it is going to answer a lot of needs and wants and eliminate my son doing this:


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting method you're using there. I understand wanting to not use the "plastic" coffee maker.

    My wife is convinced that the K-cup single cup makers are hazardous because of the plastic. Could be. 

    I was watching an old video (1961) and saw the method I described with a little different piece of equipment. If you want to watch that video (12 1/2 minutes) here it is.

    If you're an avid coffee drinker, what your son is doing is a small price to pay for a cup of coffee. In fact, talking about it makes me want one now! 


    I have a little Melitta coffee funnel. You put one of the #2 cone filters in it and pour the water through. The small hole in the bottom slows down the pour. It actually takes about 2 min for the water to filter through. It does make a better cup of coffee.

    My only problem is, I use a 16oz travel mug on the drive to work. That means I have to stand there while the water pours through. I need to build up taller sides so I can just pour all my water in and walk away. Or maybe a vessel that sets above and meters the water through at the proper rate. (I hate waiting)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You're right about the waiting. I mostly use this method for my mid-morning coffee. I make a half pot with a drip in the morning and when that wears off, I use the pour-over trick. I had one of those Melitta funnels. I would probably still be using it if I hadn't lost it. I bet you could find a funnel big enough to hold 16 oz. and would fit inside the Melitta if you cut the tip off of it. Maybe you could introduce your idea at quirky. We do love our coffee, don't we?

    Thanks for the comment. All the best.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Many of the hipster coffeehouses here in downtown Los Angeles are using this pour-over method. I haven't tried it myself but might do so soon. I stick to my instant coffee and hot water for the time being.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I think of my mother-in-law as fairly progressive, but a hipster? Maybe she is. I think you'll enjoy it when you try it. As I said, I was surprised by the difference, albeit subtle, of my everyday grind when made this way. And it's an inexpensive option to have around.

    Thanks for your comment.

    All the best