What comes to mind when you think of “cowboy coffee”? A campfire? A speckled blue and white kettle?
Whatever you may think of, you should know that cowboy coffee is one of the simplest ways to brew a delicious cup of coffee without any special equipment. Maybe that is why the people in the specialty-coffee world are not so fond of it because it is putting them out of business.
All you need to brew coffee like a cowboy, is a kettle, water, ground coffee, and a source of substantial heat. It may sound easy, but one wrong step and you will get a cup o’dirt instead of a cup o’joe.
An American Tradition
Cowboy coffee has a rich history in America, ever since cowboys were still on the trail, camping in the wild, with the clear sky over their head. Coffee became even more popular in America in the time of the colonies, when tea was closely associated with the British oppression and King George’s high taxes on it, which later gave birth to the famous Boston Tea Party.
Back then, cowboys were the most devoted coffee drinkers in the Wild-Wild-West and they loved to drink a strong, scalding hot cup o’joe. Even though time passed and the world evolved, cowboy coffee remained one of the surprisingly gourmet drinks and now serves a variety of situations and purposes.
How to Prepare Your Own Batch of Cowboy Coffee
Traditionally, cowboy coffee is made over a campfire, but you can brew it over any kind of heat source. You just need 5-6 tablespoons (26-32g) of coffee, two cups of water (470 ml), half a cup of cold water, and coarse coffee grounds. If you want to get a larger batch of coffee, you can increase the water-coffee quantities equally. Now, you are ready to start brewing the coffee.
Step 1. Bring the water to a rolling boil
Fill an enamel or metal camping kettle with water and place it on the stove or the campfire grill. Don’t forget to put the lid on the kettle; it will get the water boiling much faster.
Step 2. Let the water cool for up to a minute
When the water starts boiling, you can remove the kettle from the heat source and set it aside on the ground to let the water cool for up to 60 seconds. The ideal temperature for adding the coffee is 195-205°F (91-96°C).
NOTE: It is very important to let the water cool before adding the coffee. If you add the coffee while the water is boiling, the whole mix will become bitter.
Warning: Protect your hands with a silicone glove or an oven mitt when removing the kettle to avoid burning your hands.
Step 3. Add the coffee and put the kettle back on the heat source.
Now, you can add the coffee grounds to the hot water. Stir the mixture for about 15 seconds and then add 5 tablespoons of coffee for a weaker brew (26g) or 6 tablespoons for a stronger brew (32g). Leave the lid off and return the kettle to the stove or grill.
Step 4. Bring it to a simmer and let everything rest
Watch your coffee batch carefully. Just one moment of distraction and the water will start boiling, making the coffee gush out of the kettle. Instead, you should bring the water to a steady simmer (around 195 °F / 91 °C). Now, you can remove the kettle from the heating source, put the lid on and put your coffee aside to brew for 2 minutes.
Step 5. Stir it up and let it rest again
After 2 minutes, you can stir the coffee with a tablespoon for another 15 seconds and let the kettle aside to rest for another 2 minutes. Don’t forget to put the lid back on the kettle.
Congrats, you have successfully prepared yourself a good ol’ batch of cowboy coffee. Yee-Haw!
Setting the grounds, serving and drinking the coffee
You should know that you cannot immediately pour the brew into your cup like you do with the filter coffee. You must firstly let the grounds settle. And you can do this very easily by allowing the coffee to cool without the lid or add some cold water.
As the coffee cools down, the grounds will naturally sink to the bottom. Be careful not to add too much water to your brew or you will get a warm coffee instead of a hot one.
Once the grounds have settled, you can start pouring slowly into a cup or mug. Be careful not to pour too quickly or you’ll stir up the settled grounds. You should also leave the last couple of tablespoons of coffee in the kettle. All the grains are concentrated in the last several milliliters and it is unpleasant to drink it.
It is time to add sugar and milk. Most people like to drink their cowboy coffee black, however, you can add milk, cream, and sweeteners if you like.
- Add a tablespoon of sugar (5g), stir the coffee and taste it. Add more if you don’t find it sweet enough.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of cream or milk (15-30ml), stir and taste. Add more until you are satisfied with the flavor.
It’s time to sit back and enjoy a nice strong cup of freshly brewed cowboy coffee. It is best to drink it in the morning, as it will give you a big energy boost.
What is Cowboy Coffee Chew?
You can also get the feeling of the old west by chewing Cowboy Coffee Chew. Everybody remembers the emblematic images of cowboys sitting around a campfire, enjoying a cup of coffee and chewing tobacco.
Cowboy Coffee Chew is commercially manufactured in the United States and has been tested and verified for general consumption. Each pack has 1.4oz / 39g freshly ground coffee, sugar, honey, and cream and is completely tobacco and nicotine-free.
This product is an ideal replacement for chewing and dipping tobacco, or you can mix it with your current smokeless chewing tobacco brand. The taste is just delightful and it will also give you a lot of energy throughout the day.
Why cowboy coffee is right for you
Most people usually try cowboy coffee for the first time when they go out on a camping adventure and want to get that feeling of authenticity. There is nothing better than a cup of cowboy coffee in the morning or at night around the campfire. But, most people discover they enjoy it so much, that they start drinking it every day. This coffee is strong, aromatic and will charge your batteries for the whole day.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.
What's the secret ingredient in cowboy coffee?
Salt or eggshells - depends who you ask.
Is Cowboy Coffee less acidic?
Cowboy coffee could be less acidic if you add eggshells to it. Eggshells are alkaline, so they can naturally reduce the acidity in coffee.