While a manual drip cone takes more attention than an automatic one (such as a Mr. Coffee), it doesn't require electricity or a glass pot. And the coffee is great!

Manual Drip Cone Coffee

A drip cone, Thermos and tea kettle was how I made coffee on Que Tal and now on Barefoot Gal.  You might be familiar with a Melitta cone from your college days — it’s the same thing except that newer designs make it less likely to spill the grounds.

A drip cone is simple – put a filter in the cone and ground coffee in the filter, then place the cone over a mug or carafe and pour boiling water through.

While it really doesn’t take longer than other methods, it seems like it does because you have to monitor the flow and keep pouring more water through (and changing the grounds if you have a crowd).  But it doesn’t take electricity and can be set up without glass.

While I used an old Melitta cone, I greatly prefer the newer cones that have a funnel that sticks down into the Thermos as you’re making coffee – they’re far less likely to slide off and make a mess, although I’d still wedge it into the sink when making the coffee.  This can be dangerous in rough weather, due to the chance of spilling boiling water on yourself but again if you wedge it into a sink and use a tea kettle instead of a saucepan, any spilled water isn’t likely to spatter on you.

The details on this type of system:

Pros:  Can make as much at one time as your container will hold, makes good coffee, moderate space required, no electricity, easy to buy components without glass

Cons:  Have to keep pouring water in, Thermos or pot with the cone on top can be tippy and cause a big mess (wedge it in the sink for best results), can spill boiling water on yourself

Keeping it hot:  Can let coffee drip right into a Thermos.

Cost:  $15 to $30 or more, depending on whether you drip coffee just into a mug, a glass pot or Thermos (and then it depends on the size of the Thermos)

My choices for a drip cone system from Amazon.com (note that this carafe and drip cone fit each other):

Now, enjoy the morning view from the cockpit with steaming mug of great coffee in hand!

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  • Paul Wyand
    Posted at 27 June 2013 Reply

    I use a cone filter like this even on dirt. I like that you can control the temperature of the water and the speed of the flow. I also like the involvement in the process, but I must admit that sometimes it would be nice to hit a button, go back to sleep for awhile and then wake up to coffee.

  • rick
    Posted at 19 November 2013 Reply

    Our favorite is from GSI. Designed for camping, works great on a boat:

    GSI Outdoors Java Drip Coffeemaker

    The silicone cone folds inside the pot for storage. A neoprene sleeve keeps the coffee warm. It’s tall so we set it in the sink when pouring water in to avoid tipping.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 28 June 2014 Reply

      Thanks for sharing that — I’ve never seen one or even heard anyone mention it. Looks interesting!

  • Monika Ludewig Bradley
    Posted at 28 June 2014 Reply

    Just don’t knock it over – you’ll have a huge mess to clean up and picking up coffee granules is not easy

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 28 June 2014 Reply

      One reason to put it in the sink . . . I learned the hard way!

  • Annette Walker
    Posted at 28 June 2014 Reply

    I switched away from that system to a stainless steel french press. Am happier with the French press. Makes better coffee, needs no filters, is more stable (not top heavy) & doesn’t need to be refilled with water. Stows well.

  • Becky
    Posted at 29 June 2014 Reply

    I think the coffee sold in “tea bags ” makes a better tasting coffee than instant. I have a cup of that while waiting for the pot or cone -type. I was able to trim the plastic of my old cone so it would nestle down into the top of my carafe-thermos because it otherwise wouldn’t sit flat ontop.

  • Joy Canova
    Posted at 26 April 2015 Reply

    I am now ready to consider a pour-over coffee system; I currently use Starbucks Via but need some more economical options. Here is what my friend just bought “Melitta Coffee Maker, 10 Cup Pour- Over Brewer with Stainless Thermal Carafe.” What I like is the big base of the thermal pot. However, I wonder if I would be better served with a #6 sized filter basket (this uses #4) and my Nissan Stainless Steel Thermos Bottle w/ Folding Handle 61oz (strangely discontinued by the manufacturer – check your link on TBG). Have you any opinion the choice? What did you decide for Barefoot Gal? Would love an update! Thanks, Joy

  • Peggy Stone
    Posted at 18 May 2016 Reply

    I started using this cruising and gave away the coffee maker at home. Single cup perfection.

  • Lori Steinbrunner
    Posted at 19 May 2016 Reply

    We use a Melita pour over filter. Add our Hario manual grinder… coffee heaven, every morning , no matter what.

  • Dawn Lotti
    Posted at 19 May 2016 Reply

    Believe it or not, I use my mom’s old pyrex percolator…don’t judge, lol.

  • Pamela Blanchard
    Posted at 19 May 2016 Reply

    This is what we do too! And OMG the smell while pouring over! Mmmmmm!

  • Diane Elizabeth Larson
    Posted at 19 May 2016 Reply

    That’s how we roll on RESTLESS the #6 paper filters are hard to find, we ordered a case from Amazon!

  • Michael Mangione
    Posted at 19 May 2016 Reply

    We like the Clever Dripper on Sea Change, it has a valve that dispenses when you want it. Also perfect for rehydration of dried mushrooms, for perfect risotto!

  • Jeff Janacek
    Posted at 20 May 2016 Reply

    We use the AeroPress, small, unbreakable and makes terrific coffee. Part of their system involves cooling the boiling water to 180 before pouring over grounds. We just pour it into another cup first. Measure temp with an infrared pyrometer, handy on the boat for engine monitoring.

  • Cory N Mendy
    Posted at 20 October 2017 Reply

    So many great methods of making coffee on board. My problem is I am completely nonfunctioning until that first cup. I can barely turn the inverter on and hit the start button on Mr. Coffee.

  • Peggy Stone
    Posted at 20 October 2017 Reply

    I bought one for the boat, loved it, and bought another for the house. Single serving, always fresh and easy to adjust the strength.

  • Carol Zip
    Posted at 20 October 2017 Reply

    I use this method whether for a single cup of decaf for myself or high test for my guests.

  • Eve
    Posted at 20 October 2017 Reply

    I drink tea, but for guests I use a ceramic pour-over from Blue Bottle Coffee (local San Francisco purveyor, but you can buy on their web site). Blue Bottle also makes a great setup for cold brew coffee … great in the tropics … but it’s glass, so maybe not the best thing for a boat.

  • Doug Purdy
    Posted at 20 October 2017 Reply

    Works great, thermos lets us go to friends boat to enjoy coffee together. This is the best method we have come up with in 25 years of cruising. I preheat the thermos with boiling water before reheating it and pouring it through the filter.

  • Rebecca Ruth Turner Williams
    Posted at 21 October 2017 Reply

    Our chosen method aboard the boat.

  • Richard Philbrick
    Posted at 21 October 2017 Reply

    I’ll stick to my mocha pot…better than drip or press and I’ve tried them all

  • Phil Sager
    Posted at 21 October 2017 Reply

    Yes, and it doesn’t have the overabundance of plastic disposable waste that the one cup coffee makers have.

  • Van Den Broeck Rita
    Posted at 22 October 2017 Reply

    thats just the old fashen manner,we use to make coffie like thats years ago

  • Mona
    Posted at 21 December 2017 Reply

    I’m trying to figure out how to make drip coffee in the Kuhn Rikon pot I already own.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 21 December 2017 Reply

      I use my Kuhn-Rikon Multi Pot to boil the water, then pour it into the drip cone perched on my Thermos. Set the Thermos and cone into the sink in case of a spill. Makes GREAT coffee!

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