Top 5 Ways To strain Coffee Without A Strainer

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It’s first thing in the morning, and you are ready for a pot of coffee, and you realize there are no filters. You have no time to run to the store and back to make the coffee wishing you had a different strategy to strain your coffee. Curiosity starts to set in, and you start to wonder what you can use for a coffee strainer.

So how do you strain coffee without a strainer? The top way to strain coffee without a strainer is with a paper towel or napkin. You will generally have these in your home, they are easily accessible, and they do about as good of a job as the actual thing. However they can mess with the taste of your coffee a bit.

1. Paper towel or Napkins 

These are the most common to use. Paper towels and napkins not being designed for a coffee pot but come in handy instead of a strainer because they have the same effect as a coffee filter. White paper towels or napkins have an unhealthy chemical and a horrible taste.

If you ever have to use paper towels or napkins, you want to make sure to buy brown because it has not been bleached how you use these two. You will want to place the paper towel or napkin in the compartment area where the coffee strainer would go of the coffee pot, or if not, there might be a few grounds in your coffee.

In a pinch, I have used this method in the past while waiting to get the real thing, and I’ll be honest, it works really well.

2. Fine Mesh Sieves 

These fine mesh sieves (like this one right here) can also be used instead of coffee strainer extremely easy to use and produces a flavorful cup of coffee.

How to use the fine mesh sieves is to put your preferred amount in the bottom of a glass cup, then pour your desired amount of hot water over your coffee grinds—stirring this once, you will also want to let this steep for about five minutes.

You will then want to hold the fine mesh sieves over your cup then pour the coffee through.

3. Cloth Napkin or Dish Towels 

A simple cloth napkin or dish towel instead of a coffee strainer can work. Wanting to make sure it is clean before you use one of these to strain your coffee.

You also want to keep in mind that coffee does stain, so you will want to make sure that it is not your favorite napkin or towel.

You will want to drape it over the compartment where the coffee filter goes, then fill it with coffee grinds and let your hot water run over it.

4. Reusable Teabags 

If you brew a lot of tea like you make coffee, you might have extra teabags in your cabinets. How to use this is you will want to take two tablespoons of coffee and place them inside the reusable tea bags pouring hot water into a cup then dipping the tea bags into the hot water.

If you like a strong taste of coffee, you need to steep it this method for about four to five minutes.

Don’t have any of these in your kitchen? These ones right here might be perfect to keep in your kitchen just in case.

5. No Strainer at all 

The best option here is a french press (this small one is one of our favorites) which comes with a built-in metal filter or even a percolator.

How to make this coffee is easy. All you will need is hot water, coarse coffee grounds, and a heat source. You will want your water to come to a boil and then add your coffee grounds then let your coffee steep.

Then will need to remove the coffee from the heat and let all grounds settle to the bottom. Make sure you pour it slowly. This way, you may only have a few coffee grounds in your cup.

To see a step by step guide, you can read this article we wrote here!

If you don’t even have a french press, then the cowboy coffee method is going to be an awesome way of doing it! You can read a full article about that here (hint: all you need is a mug).


Now you know how to strain your coffee without a regular old coffee strainer—also learning that tea bags and fine mesh sieves will make the best cup of coffee.

Paper and cloth also have a different flavor when used to replace a coffee strainer; if you feel like these methods have failed you, you might want to try the cowboy-style coffee. Which this method is a filter-free way to brew your coffee, just like french press coffee.