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How to Make Cowboy Coffee Over a Fire

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Coffee, Camping and Cowboys

Ah, the great outdoors! What can be more refreshing than walking for hours, slowly making your way up on a hiking trail? And more tiring? 

Let’s face it, at some point you will get tired and your body will start screaming for coffee while you’re miles away from the nearest coffee shop. How about cowboy coffee?

What is Cowboy Coffee?

Wouldn’t you like to be the guy sitting on a log, resting with a pot of coffee gently brewing over a campfire? That’s what cowboy coffee is and if you follow this easy guide you will have a delicious brew ready in no time. Well, maybe not quite in no time, as you first need to get the fire started, but don’t worry we got you covered.

Cowboy coffee is just like your regular coffee, only the brewing method is a bit different. Well, it has to be, since there’s no outlet around to plug your coffee maker into and let it do its job. 

Why be dependent on a machine when you can grab a pot, water, and coffee grounds and brew it yourself over a fire, like in the olden days?

Cowboy coffee uses a brewing method called decoction, quite similar to the one used for making tea, only instead of tea leaves, you put some coffee grounds into the pot of boiling water.

Why Make Cowboy Coffee?

Is this really a question? Because you want coffee and your friends probably want some, too, and if you don’t get any people are going to get cranky pretty soon. Most people are addicted to coffee and that wonderful stimulant that is caffeine, and when they are deprived of their regular dose, they get all nervous, they get headaches… and this is enough to ruin a perfectly nice hiking trip.

Why risk it when you could all be sitting around the campfire with mugs of steaming coffee in your hands, sharing a joke, laughing, you know, creating great memories together!

How to Make Cowboy Coffee in 5 Easy Steps

1) How to Make the Best Fire for Cowboy Coffee

Before you can sit down with that blessed coffee you will need to start a fire and we’re here to help you do it like a pro, to impress your friends. It would be great if you had some coals in your backpack, but you can also use a few flat stones placed in a circle to contain your fire. 

Gather some kindling and place it in the circle and, no, you won’t have to use ancient techniques to light the fire. We’re in the 21st century and a lighter will do. Also, you will need some sort of grill to place your pot over the campfire.

Make sure you are allowed to light a fire in that area!

2) How Much Coffee and Water Do You Need?

This depends on how many of you are there… and how much coffee do you want. For one cup of coffee, you will need 8 fl oz of water and two tablespoons of coffee. Hopefully, your pot is large enough for all the coffee needed or some of you will have to wait for the next pot.

It is recommended you use bottled water, as you can not be sure the nearby lake has drinkable water. Better safe than sorry!

3) When Do You Add the Coffee?

You know the saying A watched pot never boils – well, you will have to watch the pot and put your coffee grounds in just before it reaches boiling point. When small bubbles start rising to the surface, that is the perfect time to put all the coffee in.

Next, allow the coffee to come to a boil and that’s it. Take the pot away from the fire and let it cool down a bit.

4) How Do You Get the Coffee Grounds to Settle Down?

Many people complain about this issue, as they’re used to the coffee maker at home to take care of the problem. But you can simply wait a bit for the coffee to settle down, which it naturally does as the coffee grounds are heavy and tend to go to the bottom of your pot. 

You can speed the process by pouring a bit of cold water in the brew.

5) Get Excited: Time to Pour Out the Coffee!

This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for and the time for you to be the hero! You will be known as the bringer of coffee and you will see the gratitude on your friends’ faces as they take the first sip of their hot brew. 

If they’re really tired, they probably won’t mind if there are still a couple of grounds floating in their mugs. They’ll probably laugh because nothing makes a tired man happier than fresh coffee.

Bonus: Two More Ways To Make Campfire Coffee

OK, this feels a bit like cheating, but there is a simpler way to make coffee while you’re out camping. We’re talking about instant coffee. Many object to the taste and say it’s not real coffee, but, in a pinch, it can give you the much-needed caffeine boost. 

A cowboy’s gotta do what a cowboy’s gotta do – in this case, get some extra energy wherever he can find it. Instant coffee is easy to pack and all you need is a bit of hot water. You could also use cold water, but you’ll probably hate the taste.

Another decent alternative to boiling a pot of coffee would be using a French Press. That’ also easy to pack, only be careful with it if you have a model with a glass cylinder. Again you will need hot boiling water to pour over the coffee grounds in the cylinder. Let them steep for four minutes, then gently push the plunger down to separate the coffee grounds. 

Pour out the coffee and your friends will be thankful you had the wonderful idea of packing that French Press and a bag of coffee. If you can produce some cookies to go with it you will be their hero, for the rest of the night at least.

Quick Recap

Make sure to pack a pot and a measuring cup, and don’t forget the coffee grounds. Start a small cooking fire and brew your coffee as it was done before coffee makers and espresso machines.

That wasn’t too hard, was it? You only need a couple of simple things and a bit of patience to make a campfire coffee and feel like a real cowboy!

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How to Make Cowboy Coffee over a Campfire

Cowboy Coffee: How to Make Coffee Over A Fire

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