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How to make Cowboy Coffee

A Cowboy sits on a fence while holding a mug of coffee and looking off into the distance

Cowboy coffee...What is it?

When you think about cowboys, you probably think about boots, 10-gallon hats, horses, wide-open spaces, and maybe even coffee. In the movies, cowboys are often pictured sitting around a campfire with either a bent pot or a blue and white-speckled kettle filled with a rough sludgy liquid they call coffee. That image doesnt appeal to many people, but Cowboy Coffee has a devoted following among many coffee enthusiasts regardless of their cowboy pursuits.

Cowboy Coffee isnt thick and wont put hair on your chest.

Although it makes for excellent cinematography, the sludge you see in the movies is the bottom of the pot and isnt often drunk. In fact, Cowboy Coffee is often thinner and weaker than what you would buy at your local coffee shop. What we are talking about is a traditional method for making coffee that many parts of the world still use.

In its most basic form, Cowboy Coffee is just coarsely ground coffee boiled with water.

You can enjoy Cowboy coffee anytime you want.

Dont let the name fool you, just because its called Cowboy Coffee doesnt mean you have to be under the open sky, roughing it with the snakes and coyotes, or sitting on the back of a horse. When making coffee, you want to use quality beans and grind them freshly. Cowboy Coffee is no exception. Its true that the finer the grind, the stronger the coffee, but too fine of a grind for your brew method will leave you with bitter and over-extracted coffee. Traditionally Cowboy Coffee is ground pretty coarsely, something like coarse sea salt is a good starting point, but experimenting with your grind will give you the best results.

Cowboy Coffee Instructions

The basic directions for Cowboy Coffee are the same whether you are standing in your kitchen or sitting on the side of a mountain under a canopy of stars.

Just remember to use clean, seasoned firewood when you build your fire.


  • Pour 6-8 ounces of water for each cup of Cowboy Coffee you are making into a pot and bring it to a boil. Then remove from the heat.
  • Wait 30 secs before adding two Tbsp of freshly ground coffee to the pot per serving. Stir the grounds to make sure they are fully saturated.
  • Let the coffee brew for 4 minutes. (Stir once at the 2-minute mark) Your grounds will settle to the bottom of the pot.
  • Pour your Cowboy Coffee (be careful of your grounds) and enjoy!

Extra Cowboy Coffee Tips:

Cowboy Coffee enthusiasts swear by two secrets: salt and eggshells. Add either a pinch of salt or crushed eggshells to your water before you boil to take your coffee to the next level.

Tell us what you think of Cowboy Coffee in the comments below, on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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