In today’s modern world, nothing transports you back to the good old days of the Wild West quite like freshly brewed Cowboy Coffee.
Somewhat unfairly, these days Cowboy Coffee has a bad rap and is sometimes drank as a last resort because it is so often made incorrectly. When made properly Cowboy Coffee is delicious, aromatic and brimming with full-bodied flavor. When made incorrectly it becomes a bitter, sludgy mess with bits of coffee floating around in it.
We have given you the recipe as well as some handy tips to ensure your Cowboy Coffee experience doesn’t fall into the latter category.
What is Cowboy Coffee and Where Does It Come From?
As the name suggests, Cowboy Coffee is known as the cowboy’s drink of choice. The art of brewing Cowboy Coffee is steeped in tradition. Back in the days of cattle runs, cowboys would make and drink vats of this caffeinated beverage to keep them awake & alert.
How to Make the Perfect Cup Of Cowboy Coffee
You probably already have all the supplies needed to brew great coffee: high-quality grounds, water, a heat source and a tin pot for brewing. Here’s how you can make cowboy coffee that is as good, if not better, than the cup you brew at home.
Start your campfire and prepare your tools needed to make your Cowboy Coffee. Make sure you are using clean, seasoned firewood or charcoal. Keep a safe distance from buildings or any flammable brush and always keep the usual fire safety rules in mind.
Add water to your tinpot or camping kettle. Move the hot coals to one side of the fire pit once your fire has burnt down and place a grill over the coals. Place the tin pot on the grill. Put the lid on the pot as this helps the water boil. Bring the water to a rolling boil and move on to step 3.
Once the water’s boiling, grab a cloth or pair of oven mitts and remove the pot from the heat. Let it sit for 30 to60 seconds. This is an important step because the water needs to cool slightly before adding the coffee to avoid a bitter brew.
Add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 8oz of water. A coarsely ground bean handles the heat better and results in a more palatable taste. Once you have added your coffee grounds stir the mixture for around 15 seconds. Put the tin pot back on the grill, minus the lid this time.
Bring your coffee to a simmer and carefully remove it from the heat. Place the lid back on and set the coffee aside to brew for 2 minutes.
When your two minutes of brewing time is up, remove the lid and repeat step 5.
Finally remove the lid and let it sit for another 1 to 2 minutes to allow the grounds to naturally sink to the bottom of the pot.
As slowly as possible pour the coffee into your cup, so the grounds remain on the bottom of the pot and don’t end up in your cup.The majority of people drink Cowboy Coffee black but you are free to add sugar and milk to taste.
Are you ready to brew your next batch? Just rinse out your coffee brewing pot with water and you’re ready to ride! If you want to use the leftovers from your first pot keep in mind that the longer the grounds sit the more extracted they get so this could result in a bitter cup.
What Is the Secret Ingredient?
As with most things that have such a meaningful connection to the past, some say that there was a secret ingredient present in original batches of Cowboy Coffee. Some people believe the secret ingredient was something as simple as a pinch of salt. Others believe that adding crushed eggshells removes bitterness and is what made this beverage so loved by its original drinkers.
Cowboy Coffee Cheat
In case you don’t want to rough it up and go camping just for the sake of brewing Cowboy Coffee there is a way of doing this at home. Beware; while this method is effective it definitely isn’t as authentic and rugged as the real deal:
- Using a tin pot, add 8oz of cold water for every cup of Cowboy Coffee you want to make.
- Grind your coffee beans. The finer the grind, the stronger the flavor.
- Put your tin pot on the stove plate and bring the water to a boil.
- Once boiling, add one generous spoonful of coffee grinds for every cup you’re brewing.
- Stir the pot with a long spoon or ladle to extract the flavor from the coffee grounds.
- Take the pot off the stove plate.
- Wait between 3 and 5 minutes to allow the grounds to settle on the bottom of the pot.
- Pour and enjoy!
It’s All About Those Beans
A high-quality bean makes for a high-quality cup of Cowboy Coffee. Knowing what bean type you like is essential to picking the right bean for your brew.
Be Water Wise
Back in the day, our cowboy friends would use water gathered from mountain streams, creeks and other natural sources of water to make their coffee. Unfortunately, with all the pollution of today’s world that can reach even the remotest of locations, we highly recommend avoiding using water you find while out in the wild. Stick to using bottled water or water that you bring with from home.
Don’t Let It Sit
Your coffee will taste best if it’s poured immediately after brewing. Coffee that sits in a pot with grounds will quickly become over-extracted and bitter, making for a barely drinkable cup of coffee.
Handle Your Hands with Care
This is probably an obvious tip but protect your hands with a silicone glove or oven mitt when removing the pot to avoid burning your hands.
Practice Makes Perfect
If your first-time making Cowboy Coffee doesn’t result in the perfect cup, simply try again. As with all things in life, practice makes perfect. Take a leaf out of our Cowboy brothers’ book and practice the art of patience.