Cowboy Coffee
Recipe type: Coffee
Cuisine: Camp Cooking
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Cowboy Coffee combines four basic elements of all coffee making: ground coffee, water, a pot in which to heat the water, and heat – that might come from a campfire, a grill, or a camp stove. While the components are simple, making Cowboy Coffee the right way is a little bit more complicated – at least if you’re not a fan of a mouthful of gritty grounds with each sip. Fussy? Yes … especially considering this is supposed to be a “cowboy” thing, but the result is delicious coffee every time … that you don’t have to it pick from your teeth when you’re done.
  • Large coffee pot or kettle
  • 2 Tbsp. finely ground coffee per 8 oz. of water
  • Water (fresh spring water if you've got it)
  • Heat source
  1. Measure the amount of pure, fresh water you put into the pot. (You’re going to need to know the amount later.) Unfiltered spring water is best. If you’re not sure of your water supply, use the bottled stuff you brought along in your cooler.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over the campfire or whatever heat source you have available.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, and allow it to sit for 30 seconds to a minute to make sure it’s off the boil. The best temperature for making coffee is right at 200 degrees. (Remember if you’re camping at elevation, water boils at lower temps, so to make sure you’re at that temp, let it take on a long, rolling boil before removing it from the heat.)
  4. Add two tablespoons of finely ground coffee to the pot FOR EACH 8 OUNCES OF WATER.
  5. Stir the grounds into the water. (Real cowboy chuck wagon cooks kept a separate wooden spoon for this purpose only – and never washed it.)
  6. Let the pot and contents sit – off the fire – for two minutes.
  7. Stir again, and let it sit for another two minutes.
  8. After the four minutes of brewing sprinkle half a cup of cold water on the grounds. Because “heat rises and cold sinks” it pulls the grounds, which are now mostly floating on the surface, down to the bottom of the pot.
  9. Carefully, gently pour out the coffee so the grounds remain near the bottom of the pot and what you get in your cup is rich, delicious coffee.
Recipe by 50 Campfires at