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:
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.
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!