8 Best Ways to Brew Coffee in a Dorm Room

As a college graduate and coffee addict, I know the morning struggles of a college student. Many of us are night owls and stay up all night studying for classes. Many students need a caffeine fix before they can make it into their morning classes.

You don’t want to be that person that strolls into class late with a cup of Starbucks in your hand. So here is a list of the best brewing methods that you can do in a dorm room. I think these brewing methods are best suited for a college student. I will rate them by the ease of brewing, how long it takes to brew, and the quality of the coffee brewed. By the end of this article, you should be able to choose one way you can brew great coffee from your dorm!

There are already so many things to worry about and where you will be getting your caffeine fix should not be one of them.

1. Drip Coffee Maker

In my opinion, the number one choice for a college student is still a regular plain drip coffee maker, but you have to make sure it has one feature.

This feature is the auto brew feature that a lot of coffee makers have. With this, you can set a time to automatically start brewing your coffee. This way you can prepare your coffee the night before and wake up to freshly brewed coffee.

The best part is these drip coffee makers are tried and true. You cannot go wrong with these coffee makers. There has been a lot of technology to improve these drip coffee makers so even a cheap coffee maker can make decent coffee.

It is also customizable unlike a lot of the other options we will go over. So if you live with other people you can ask them if they want a cup of coffee too and brew coffee for them as well! This way you can offset the price of your bean with your roommates or just have a cup with some friends!

You don’t need a special coffee drip coffee maker to make good coffee, and this type of coffee is actually the most common type of coffee Americans drink. All a drip coffee maker does is heat the water in the reservoir and drip it over the coffee grounds.

You can easily buy coffee grounds for a drip coffee maker without owning a grinder and all the ground coffee you find in a grocery store can be put inside a drip coffee maker.

2. Cold Brew

My second choice for the best coffee for college students who live in a dorm is cold brew coffee. This is because it is easy to make, tastes as good or better than regular coffee (depending on your preferences), and can be brewed ahead of time so it’s ready to drink in the morning.

A lot of college students love cold drinking, and I’m included for some reason during college I never drank anything hot. No hot coffee, no hot tea, and no hot water.

With cold brew, you can prepare bulk amounts of coffee and always have something cold to drink which is a godsend whenever you have friends over.

Cold brew coffee is also perfect for busy mornings because all you have to do is grab it out of your fridge. It’s much cheaper than swinging by a Starbucks or Dunkin’ on the way to your morning class.

Lastly, cold brew coffee can be heated up if you’re in the mood for hot coffee so you’re not missing out on anything.

The only downside with cold brew coffee is that you have to prepare it ahead of time. It takes 12 – 24 hours to make, but it is totally worth it. You can make large amounts of it and ration it over the week. This is why it is not first on this list. Sometimes you really want to have some cold brew but were too lazy to make it before, sadness.

As for coffee beans, you can use any coarse ground beans for cold brew. You can find something meant for french presses, or at the grocery store, they may have whole beans that you can grind yourself. Choose the coarse option when you grind and you’ll be able to brew some great cold brew.

3. French Press

Next on the list is the french press. You may be surprised at why the french press is so high on this list. The reason for that is because of the ease of use for the quality and quantity of coffee you can make.

As a college student, I understand that you may not be looking for the most luxurious coffee out there, and you just might need something quick to do the job. This is why the french press is above the Aeropress and Chemex.

For the french press, you can make a lot of coffee for very little effort. I’ve had some great times with friends over at my dorm where we all shared a large pot of french press while studying.

The only downside of the french press is you have to finish all the coffee you have as it is fresh because the beans can continue steeping in the hot water. If you leave it for too long it will become too bitter and will ultimately be wasted.

To make french press in your dorm all you need to get is a french press pot and some coarse coffee beans to do the job. There may be some coffee beans that are labeled for french press.

4. Keurig / Nespresso / Pod Coffee

Surprisingly, the next contestant on this list is all the pod coffee. This includes all Keurig pods and Nespresso pods.

These are great because you can have a large amount of these pods in your dorm stashed away so you will never run out of coffee.

These pod coffee makers are great for students who don’t want to constantly worry about restocking coffee beans and instead would want to buy bulk amounts of coffee pods. They are extremely convenient and taste good enough to get you through the cup.

They are also extremely quick so it is a practical solution for someone who doesn’t want to do a lot of work or wait for their coffee.

According to this article by Fox Business, each Keurig cup will cost around $0.53 cents if you buy it on sale at a retailer. This is much cheaper than a coffee shop but is more expensive than buying the beans themselves and brewing yourself a cup of coffee.

One benefit of coffee pods is the flavors that they come in. There are coffee pods that come with additional flavorings and you can buy mixed sets that give you a ton of variety so you will never get bored of your coffee.

5. Aeropress

It was tough to put the Aeropress so low on this list. It does make great coffee and it is easy, but as a college student, it is a bit too tedious to learn and to use.

As a student, the last thing I would want to do when I wake up is going through a complicated step-by-step process to brew my coffee. This is why pour-over coffee and Aeropress coffee are so low. This can still pander for the coffee lovers that simply love good coffee, but as a student, we don’t drink coffee to taste it. We drink coffee to get a job done.

pouring ground coffee into aeropress

It can take a few minutes to brew an Aeropress coffee, but it definitely is one of the tastiest methods of brewing on this list.

It can also only brew one cup of coffee at a time. So as a result you are stuck only brewing for yourself unless you get more than once, and that means you have to go through the brewing process twice.

One of the main benefits of dorming and going to college are the friendship you build there. And if you can only tediously brew one cup of coffee at a time when someone is over it quickly turns boring unless the coffee is the reason you guys are hanging out together.

6. Simple Pour Over or Chemex

Pour-over coffee can brew some of the best coffee in the world, but as a college student are you ready to learn the techniques and get the equipment to do the job?

Pour overs require precise timing and weighing of the beans and water to get right and sometimes, you just want some coffee to drink without worrying about the ratios and process of brewing.

Pour overs also take a lot of time. The worst part is they take an active effort to make unlike a lot of the other brewing processes. For example, if you are making drip coffee with a coffee maker, all you have to do is press a button and wait. Same with a Keurig or nespresso.

This is why pour-over coffee is lower on the list but it is still a good option for the people who want to get into gourmet and quality coffee.

7. Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is low on this list because it does not provide many benefits that are already provided by other methods in this list.

Sure it is easy to make instant coffee, but popping in a coffee pod and pressing brew is ALMOST as easy as pouring some coffee powder in a cup and pouring in hot water. For instant coffee, you still need to make hot water which may be more difficult than pressing brew in some instances.

Instant coffee also doesn’t taste great. There was once an instant coffee that made me think I had stomach issues for an entire week when I was on vacation. When I ate my breakfast I would gag for seemingly no reason. I finally pinpointed the culprit to be the instant coffee I was drinking.

The one benefit to instant coffee is the storage and the amount you can buy at one time. You can have bulk amounts of instant coffee, enough to last you years, for a very low cost. If ease of brewing and price are the main factors for you, instant coffee is the way to go.

8. Moka Pot

Last on this list is the Moka pot. Mainly because some students may not have access to a stove in their dorm. This is for students who want to make “stovetop espresso” without paying the money for an espresso maker.

moka pot next to coffee pot

There are many drawbacks to making Moka pot coffee, but it definitely brews a mean cup of coffee. However, for that cup of coffee, you will have to go through many tedious tasks.

One of my main issues with making Moka pot coffee is cleaning up after I’m done. Because my Moka pot is made of metal I cannot immediately clean up after myself. I would have to wait for the pot to cool down to be able to unscrew it and dump the grounds. If this is something to deal with and you want to make espresso-like coffee in your dorm this is the brewing method for you.


There are many ways of coffee available to a student to make coffee in their dorm. The most important thing is to realize what is most important for you when you are brewing coffee, whether it be flavor, ease of use, cost, or brew time, and choose accordingly.

I hope this list helps you choose what kind of brewing method and equipment you will go for at your dorm!

If you are interested in buying a coffee machine for your dorm, check out the top 6 machines we recommend for college students.


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