Fire Department Coffee
A cowboy drinking cowboy coffee

How to Make Cowboy Coffee | Cowboy Coffee Recipe

November 18, 2020

When you learn how to make cowboy coffee, you don’t simply master a new brewing method: you help preserve an iconic American tradition. That of ancestral knowledge, open fields, and gathering around a fire to brew a strong pot with whatever you have at hand.

We’ll be honest: cowboy coffee isn’t for everyone. If you prefer a more refined cup when you go camping, you should use one of the best travel coffee makers instead. 

However, we still think you should give this rough coffee a go. Using some freshly roasted Fire Dept. Coffee grounds and following the best cowboy coffee recipe, you can brew a strong and flavorful cup that will get you howling with the coyotes!

What is cowboy coffee?

A cowboy and a herd

Cowboy coffee is black java brewed using just grounds, water and a pot, usually around a campfire. 

Most settlers were proud coffee drinkers, especially because of the high taxation on tea in the 18th century, and cowboys maintained that tradition. Since they most certainly didn’t carry the ancestor of the French press with them, they had to brew coffee using just what they had! 

That’s why the humble and rough cowboy coffee hasn’t got a reputation for being tasty. You most definitely won’t find it in any third-wave coffee shop (also because, logistically, it’d be pretty difficult to have a bonfire in there). 

However, trust us: cowboy coffee doesn’t have to taste bad! Here’s how to brew a yee-haw pot.

How to make Cowboy coffee with the best cowboy coffee recipe

  • 2 scoops of ground Fire Dept. Coffee (12-14 g) per cup
  • 1 cup of water (8 oz/240 ml) per person
  • A heat-resistant pot 
  • A heat source like a campfire or a portable stove

1. Boil the water

Depending on whether you want to enjoy it as a lonesome cowboy or with your trusted herd of mates, boil the right amount of water on your heat source. 

You can easily do this at home too, but nothing will put you more in a cowboy mood than an old-fashioned campfire! As long as it’s safe and controlled, of course. We are still firefighters.

Once the water has boiled, set it aside for around 30 seconds so that it can cool down slightly and reach the optimal brewing temperature.

Keep busy by digging a small hole. We’re not kidding. 

Pot on a campfire to make cowboy coffee

2. Add the coffee grounds

Add your Fire Dept. Coffee grounds to the hot water in the pot and stir them together.

Then, place the pot in the hole to keep it piping hot (told ya there was a reason for it!) while you let your cowboy coffee steep for around 5 minutes. 

Don’t forget to give it a second stir around halfway through.

3. Pour your cowboy coffee (carefully!)

By now, your grounds should have sunk to the bottom, or you can add a very gentle drizzle of cold water to speed up the process.

Pour it slowly and carefully so as not to let the grounds fall into your mug. Let’s face it: some might still do. 

You can either cowboy up and chug down that gritty coffee or try the old sock trick. 

Using awe can’t stress this enoughclean sock, filter it into the mugs.

Mug of cowboy coffee made following the best cowboy coffee recipe outdoors

Now that you know how to make cowboy coffee, help us keep this tradition alive next time you go camping. Sure, we all still love automatic coffee makers or AeroPress brews.

However, every once in a while, it’s priceless to get off our high horse and renew the connection with our ancestors and the great outdoors by brewing a cup of cowboy coffee!



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