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Homemade Coffee Filter Tip: Use a Sock

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“Daddy, no! Don’t put your sock in your coffee!” my three year old daughter wailed when she caught sight of what I was doing. But it was too late, the hot water was being poured into the black tube sock and fresh coffee was pouring out from its toe.

“It’s OK honey,” I tried to assuage her concern, “this sock is now a coffee filter.”

After posting a tip on how to make your own coffee cheap on the road, some readers pointed out to me that they really don’t want to cart around the extra gear when they can just buy pre-brewed coffee from the store like a normal traveler. To these people I say:

It can be easier.

No, you don’t need to carry around your own hand crank grinder, an immersion heater, a secure closing storage canister, and a French press  just to have coffee when traveling.

No, you can make yourself fresh cups of ground coffee with nothing more than a cup and an old sock.

Yes, that’s right, an old sock. The weave of a typical cotton sock makes it an ideal filter for coffee — though you may want to wash it first. Then, all you need to do is cut the top off the sock just below the heal, and you’re ready to go.

Just fill the sock up with a few scoops of ground coffee, hover it over your mug, then slowly pour hot water through it. The water will gather in the toe of the sock, mix with the coffee, and then filter down into your mug.

Sock coffee filter

What you need to make ground coffee: an old sock.

The more coffee you put in the sock and the slower you pour the water the stronger your cup of Java will be, the less coffee you use and the faster you pour the weaker the output.

Cleaning the filter is easy: just empty the spent coffee into the trash and toss the sock in with the wash.

This method of making coffee is truly simple, and can be done when traveling or at home. I truly don’t understand why the coffee maker was invented, as it seems as if having this big electric appliance to do the job of a sock is truly frivolous. Keep it simple and cheap, make coffee with a sock.

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Filed under: Coffee, Food, Travel Gear, Travel Tips

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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