Cowboy Coffee: What is cowboy coffee and how do you make it?

cowboy coffee

Howdy all you cowboys, today at Black Ink Coffee, we're going to let you in on a little method to make coffee that comes straight from the Wild West. That's right, today we bring you the details for how to make a good cup of cowboy coffee, one of the best methods all time for anyone who tends to enjoy camping, sitting out by the fire, all the while getting a nice up of coffee to drink along with it.

The best part about it? You don't even need a coffee percolator or any fancy gear to get started. You also don't need to be Kent Rollins to enjoy a good cowboy coffee. Before we start exploring, lets make sure you have all your coffee essentials for the road. 

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What is cowboy coffee?

what is cowboy coffee

Before your traditional coffee makers, and espresso machines, we had to boil water over a fire and stir in some ground coffee the old school way. But you don't have to be in a Clint Eastwood movie to sit and enjoy yourself some cowboy coffee, and today, the most basic cowboy recipes are still largely in use.

That's right, Cowboy Coffee is on its way back, as people are realizing the simple pleasures that can be had from the quiet wait while out on the trail, letting the water and coffee grounds get to a rolling boil over the fire. Now get your grounds, a cup of cold water, and your cowboy boots on, and let's get to the bottom of how you to make cowboy coffee.

This is a great cup of coffee that you can have brewing in minutes, with little more than cold water, coffee grounds and a pot to heat it up, and the taste of fresh air to go with it. What more could you possibly want? So, pour yourself a cup and let's step right into it as we explain some recipes for how its made so you can brew some up yourself!

How to make cowboy coffee

how to make cowboy coffee

Ever heard of the KISS method? Keep it Simple, Stupid. That is the beauty to cowboys and their coffee process. There isn't much to making a good cowboy coffee. Before we get to the recipe, these are a few things you will want to remember.

The most important thing is you have a good open fire, some good natural surroundings, and coffee grounds. Another one of the keys to doing this right is deciding on a good pot, and knowing the perfect coffee to water ratio that works for your taste buds. Lastly, patience is a virtue.

Although it is ready in only minutes, it does pay off when doing this method to keep everything as relaxed as possible. This means lots of stirring during the brew process, and letting the fire do its work.

A lot of this comes down to experimentation, but generally the rule of thumb to follow is that for nearly any brewing method, it's two tablespoons of coffee grounds for every 8 ounces of water.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, lets discuss what kind of pot works best for this legendary drink of the cowboys.

Best Cowboy Coffee Pot

cowboy coffee pot

Every coffee pot you find will have its own pros and cons to it.

When you consider it, the only thing you really need is a pot that can keep a good amount of heat while you boil the water, and hopefully one that makes it easy to pour later. So with this in mind, stainless steel is generally preferred for getting the water to a quick boil, but these are also much bigger and more expensive than their aluminum counterparts.

If you want to go the extra mile, a stainless steel coffee percolator will be super efficient, and you will get the coffee brewing in no time at all.

On the other hand, aluminum is often preferred for those who want something lighter and more affordable.

Metal pots are another way to go, but some can be on the pricier side as well.

In any case, you will see there are many options, and essentially none of them can steer you wrong.

Remember cowboys, KISS method. Keep it Simple, Stupid!

Now that you have your camping pot, let us turn up the heat with a coffee recipe you can use right away.

Cowboy Coffee Recipe

cowboy coffee recipe
  1. First you will need a special cowboy coffee pot. If you don't have one, just a regular pot can also suffice. So, grab your chosen coffee pot, your favorite cup, and some coffee grounds. Other than that, measure out your water, get the fire burning, and you are basically good to go.
  2. Once you bring the desired amount of water is boiling in the pot, you can add the grounds. Remember, the to add 2 tablespoons of grounds for every 8 ounces of hot water. You will want to stir the coffee as you do this to help the grounds dissolve better. In this step, it's important to then let it sit couple minutes, and then to stir once again.
  3. Now, let the coffee settle for another couple of minutes, before proceeding to stir another time. After this step, you will notice the ground coffee beginning to float to the top of the pot.
  4. Wait four minutes of brewing and then pour half a cup of cold water on top of the pot. This will cause the grounds to sink to the bottom of the pot. You're now ready to remove the pot and enjoy.
  5. As you pour your cup of coffee, you should be slow and careful not to let the grounds from the bottom of the pot to get into your mug (Unless you like that sort of thing). Congratulations, you've just learned to make cowboy coffee.

Cowboy Coffee Cake

Just because you are out there, roughing it on the camping trails doesn't mean you don't deserve a nice sweet treat. Once thing that may pair a little too perfectly with your cowboy coffee is some cowboy coffee cake as well. This type of cake does require an oven though, so it may be best to prepare this before you hit the trails. With earthy flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and fresh chopped nuts, this cake makes the perfect travel companion.

There are many great recipes available to make cowboy coffee cake. We recommend heating it up over the fire so you can enjoy a warm slice of it with your morning cup of coffee.

Cowboy Coffee Egg

cowboy coffee egg

One great secret of the cowboys is to mix eggshells into the pot with the coffee grounds while you let it sit. This is a trick to let the grounds sink quicker when you remove the pot from the fire.

Using egg shells is another great method to reduce the acidity of the coffee grounds. Another trick that also gets thrown around is using salt. This is sure to bring your drink a quality that made you think you're at a cafe.

If you're out on the trail with friends, they will think they are with Kent Rollins himself when they see expertise at this level.


We at Black Ink Coffee know that the best pleasures in life are the simplest. Fresh air, open trails, and coffee. Use what you've learned today to settle by the fire with nothing but nature and a hot pot of coffee brewing.

Now that you know how to make coffee the way a cowboy does, the only thing left is to get out there and have yourself an adventure (But don't forget your cowboy hat).

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Parker Russell is a coffee professional and the founder of Black Ink Coffee. As an expert in the field of coffee roasting, cupping (professional Q-Grader) and brewing, Parker has established Black Ink as brand that fuels the grind of dreamers.