“Cowboy” or Campfire Coffee

By , November 8, 2014

Lately, starting with the post Exploring Coffee’s “Magic Ratio”, I’ve been on a coffee jag, if you will. To wrap up the topic for the present, here’s how I make “cowboy” or campfire coffee, a rough-and-ready, simple way to make coffee, especially adapted to outdoor cooking, as the various names imply.

The secret to cowboy/campfire coffee is settling the coffee grounds before serving. You’ll immediately see why:

Just for some visual interest, my favorite coffee coaster (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Just for some visual interest, my favorite coffee coaster (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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Cowboy or Campfire Coffee

1 ½-2 Tbsp of fresh ground coffee beans per serving

1 cup of cold, fresh water per serving

In a waterproof, heatable container, combine above and heat to simmer—very close to, but not quite boiling. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove from heat.

Settle the grounds with preferred method, including, but not limited to dropping one of the following into the container:

  • The shell of 1 egg (in as large, whole pieces as possible!)
  • A smooth, clean pebble, roughly silver dollar sized
  • A splash of cold water

Pour and serve immediately, stopping well short of the bottom of the pot to avoid the grounds.

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I’ve never looked into the science of why these particular methods help settle the grounds. I prefer the eggshells, but have had good success with all of them. I say “help,” because anyone enjoying a cup of this kind of coffee must be prepared for, if not resigned to a good deal of extra roughage in the cup. For me, fond as I am of strong coffee, it’s part of the charm, but tastes differ.

No matter your preference, most will agree that a cup of this kind of coffee is greatly enhanced by fresh air and wild scenery!

4 Responses to ““Cowboy” or Campfire Coffee”

  1. Valerie Harris says:

    And….the smell of cooking bacon.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Oooooh yeah!

    Friends, if you eat food, like I do, check out Michelle’s cousin, Valerie, The Foodie Medic! She’s on Facebook, and I believe she does catering in western Washington state, possibly beyond.

  3. Alice says:

    I enjoyed reading this post from Kent Rollins about cowboy coffee. He has a few different ideas.

    http://fromthechuckwagon.com/2014/09/25/cowboy-coffee/

    You can also just look up Kent Rollins Blog.

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks for the tip, Alice. I don’t see much difference between what he does and my methods. He prefers to settle grounds with cold water, which I probably prefer, despite what I said about egg shells.

    His coffee cup looks like a very familiar style to me!

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