Dear Kosher Spirit,

I’m a major coffee drinker and I can’t forgo fresh coffee on Shabbos. I know I can’t grind fresh beans on Shabbos, but other than that, I’m not sure what to do and not to do. How can I make fresh coffee on Shabbos using ground coffee? Instant is not an option!


The OK responds:

There are 2 issues that must be considered when preparing hot coffee on Shabbos:
1) בישול (cooking) and 2) בורר (separating):

  1. Although once something is cooked it is no longer subject to the restrictions of cooking on Shabbos, coffee beans are roasted and, therefore, the prohibition of cooking is still applicable. To avoid cooking, the water must be, either below Yad Soledes Bo (113oF), or must be transferred from the original pot (kli rishon) in which it was cooked, to another vessel (kli sheini). There are, however, some items that require a further transfer to a 3rd vessel (kli shlishi). There is a debate amongst the Poskim as to what items require kli shlishi, so the accepted practice is to use kli shlishi for all items. (There is a minority opinion that transferring to a kli shlishi is not acceptable and that only water below 113oF is permissible; however, the accepted halacha is to allow it.)
  2. Placing the ground coffee in a filter and pouring water over the grounds (known as “pour over”) is not considered separating and is permitted on Shabbos. The reason is because the beans are never mixed in to the water; the water just flows through them and absorbs their flavor. However, to pour the water onto the ground beans in a container and remove the grounds afterwards, by using a filter or French press, would be considered ררוב (separating) and may not be done on Shabbos.
  3. If one is makpid to only use tea essence on Shabbos, one should prepare coffee essence as well.

Note: One is certainly not permitted to grind the beans on Shabbos, even by hand.