Introduction: Coffee ... Plain & Simple

About: Life 2.95 achieved! Former teacher and college instructor currently enjoying my workshop, outdoor cooking, traveling and camping, woodworking, rebuilding small vintage campers, steampunk crafts and mods, and f…


Plain & Simple can be just as good with this Copper Pipe Coffee Maker!

Sometimes referred to as the 'pour over coffee method', this instructable was inspired by earlier postings and is a direct tribute to HomeMade Modern DIY Copper Coffee Maker by homemademodern and HomeMade Modern DIY Pipe Coffee Maker by homemademodern .

I chose to build this instructable influenced by the copper edition of the coffee maker but then, when I was nearly done, I altered the design a wee bit to include a bit of steampunk whimsy. I also chose to make solder joints, as I prefer the heavier industrial connection look. The steps include a materials and tools list, assembly and cleaning and preparing the copper for a lacquer finish.

I decided to add the coffee maker to my ‘essential utensils’ that will outfit my steampunked tiny teardrop trailer. After all, it complements the theme.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


  • Copper pipe (several short lengths as shown in diagram ... used small lengths are good)
  • Copper elbows and copper Tees
  • Solder
  • Solder resin paste (flux)
  • Clear spray lacquer
  • Funnel and small coffee filter paper


  • Copper pipe cutter or hack saw
  • Sand paper or emery cloth
  • Propane Torch

Step 2: Copper Pipe Preparation and Assembly

Assembling the copper will require cutting the pipe, prepping each of the connections and the fittings and then soldering. This is not a plumbing project and so a perfect soldering technique is not required. None the less, do as well as you can. Begin by cutting the copper pipe to length. See the second picture under materials for the suggested lengths. The height I used will accommodate the size of most 14 oz travel mugs. Next, prepare each of the copper pieces by roughing up a half inch at each end of the copper pipe with emery cloth as well as the inside surface of the fittings. The solder may not adhere if you skip this step.

It is a good idea to dry fit the pieces prior to soldering. Again, see the diagram above.

If you have not soldered before here is a link with simple clear instructions.

Step 3: The Modification

I was about to solder when I decided to make a few last minute modifications to the intended design. That is an advantage to doing a dry fit. These 4 extra pieces are not listed in the original materials list but are stated here.

  • 1/2" copper Tee
  • 1/2" to 3/4 Copper reducer
  • 3/4" brass pex to copper connector
  • stainless tap valve from a discarded peerless kitchen sink faucet

Continue with making the solder connections and then allow it to cool before proceeding to the next step.

Step 4: Cleaning and Applying the Finish

Once the copper assembly is cool, you may find that there are oxidation 'scars' on the surface of the copper near some of the joints. This was caused by the intense heat. Most of these scars can be removed, if you want to, by placing the structure in ammonia. If the used copper pieces were heavily oxidized (will be greyish black in appearance), much of this can be removed by next placing it in a vinegar and salt solution for 4 or 5 minutes. Alternatively you can use a metal cleaner such as Autosol metal polish, as per the instructions.

Buff clean and allow it to thoroughly dry before applying a coat of clear spray lacquer. This should slow any further oxidation and keep the copper bright in appearance.

Step 5: Testing the Coffee


Insert a stemmed funnel with filter paper. I just refolded the smallest paper I could find. The glass funnel was purchased at a 'reuse' store for 50 cents. Add sufficient coffee grounds to make one cup of coffee for your taste and slowly pour hot water over and through the grounds. This is how Melitta prepared coffee for over a hundred years, so why not continue with the precursor to drip coffee?

Now enjoy your creation and your coffee.

*** My favourite quote about coffee ***

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” ― Dave Barry

Big or Small Challenge

Participated in the
Big or Small Challenge