How to Make Cowboy Coffee

How to Make Cowboy Coffee

We can thank cowboys for teaching us how to make cowboy coffee, a delicious and easy coffee option. Set aside your Keurig and K-cups and forget about Starbucks. Quickly make hot-roasted coffee, a.k.a cowboy coffee, during your next outdoor endeavor. It’s perfect for having coffee in the great outdoors.

Whether it be that you want to try the coffee you love in a new way or you just want to drink coffee and pretend to be in a Western film, this simple process offers a rich and enjoyable reward!

What Is Cowboy Coffee?

Cup of hot coffee on a saucer with coffee beans on the saucer with a spoon next to it

In the days of chaps, town sheriffs, and large, wide-brimmed hats, cowboy coffee was a quick and fun way to enjoy a pot of hot coffee without all the fuss! Today, anyone can make this cup of joe!

Ingredients Needed

Fortunately, cowboy coffee only requires a few ingredients, making it your go-to method of making coffee during a long camping trip or even a hike. 

You will need: 

  • ½ Cup of Ground Coffee
  • 4 ½ Cups of Water (Serving for 2)
  • Touch of Salt (Optional)
  • Coffee Pot/Tea Kettle
  • Mugs or Cups
  • A Fire

(Tip: Remember to bring more grounds and mugs if you are sharing your coffee with your friends. These instructions are good for two, but everyone is welcome to have a cup!)

How Cowboy Coffee is Made

Coffee beans spilling out of a turned over white coffee cup
  1. Boil the water over your campfire

Begin by having a fire already burning, so your coffee will brew quicker. Place your coffee pot or tea kettle over the fire with 4 cups of water added to it. Add salt if desired.

  1. Add in coffee grounds

Stir in your coffee grounds once the pot of water comes to boil/radiates heat. (Note: coarse ground coffee is recommended for the best taste and to prevent bitterness). Remember to stir with care to allow the flavor of the coffee to seep into the water.

  1. Bring the coffee to a boil again

In about 2-3 minutes, the coffee will begin to boil. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit. What this does is allow the coffee to sink from the top of the pot to the bottom. Another way to speed up the coffee hitting the bottom is by adding in ½ cup of water, but leaving it aside should be enough for the work to happen.

  1. Strain if necessary (optional).

If you are happy with your cowboy coffee, you do not need to strain the grounds. It is all about preference, so feel free to skip this step if you are ready to enjoy it.

  1. Serve your cowboy coffee!

Savor the flavor of quick and easy cowboy coffee that tastes great. Yeehaw!

Why Is My Cowboy Coffee Bitter?

Not everyone enjoys cowboy coffee simply because somewhere in the process their coffee doesn’t taste as rich as they would have liked. By nature, cowboy coffee is not intended to be tasteless or acidic. While it is a black coffee, it is meant to be hot and very delicious.

Some factors result in bitter cowboy coffee. Here’s how to fix these mistakes.

The Size of Your Coffee Grounds

The best way to avoid drinking grounds is to use a coarsely-ground bag, rather than the more fine grounds offered. The fine grounds can end up over-extracting due to their small size and putting too much coffee in your pot. Also, the size is just tiny enough that grounds can escape and remain in your coffee, creating a very bitter, not smooth, cup of black coffee. The sharpness you would expect in this coffee is actually removed from the grounds during the boiling process!

The Time Spent Making Your Coffee

If you are too eager to drink your countrified coffee, the process may be rushed. Not all of the grounds may have dissipated and the smoothness of the coffee may not be achieved just yet. Make sure your coffee grounds are well-stirred. It doesn’t take too long, only about 3 minutes!

The Quality of Your Ingredients

Although finding naturally purified water (or “better quality water”) may be difficult while camping, it is a small factor to consider. Don’t stress! Any water you have will do fine!

You Haven’t Found Your Preferred Taste

Cowboy coffee is a coffee that allows room for preference. You may enjoy a truly bitter coffee and enjoy a heavier strength, or you might want a more mild taste. You can add more water, or just different styles of grounds. It’s up to you. Cowboy coffee can be somewhat customizable.

How to Make Cowboy Coffee: Conclusion

Hopefully, every mug of coffee you bring camping is full of great cowboy coffee, how you like it.

This recipe is a straightforward way to make a tried-and-true cup of cowboy coffee, effortlessly.

You don’t need fancy syrups, French presses, or other gadgets for the perfect “cuppa joe!” Just a roaring fire, the wild wilderness, and the right grounds. (Don’t worry, your kitchen works too!)

Written by Alexis Tavares

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