Cowboy Coffee Recipe For Those Who Like It The Old Fashioned Way

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy Coffee Recipe For Those Who Like It The Old Fashioned Way. Cowboy coffee is an old recipe out of the books that is bold and fragrant. The coffee is made on the go preferably over an open fire. We know that might not be possible but this recipe is sure to give you the closest possible experience.

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is a traditional name for coffee made over an open fire, likely started by the cowboys. It was a cup of strong, black coffee that made a cowboy get through some rough riding days.

As technology advances in the modern day, the art of traditional making cowboy coffee is slowly disappearing. Everything is instant and people have no time in today’s modern world. Simplicity and being quick is the keyword.

What is Cowboy Coffee?

There are a lot of things that a cowboy can do without. Coffee is definitely not one of them. There are different ways of making cowboy coffee, but mostly it is boiling water, adding grounds, and re-boiling, before repeating the process. There is no filter used, hence various methods are used to make the grounds sink. Who knew that albumin residue from egg whites helps the grounds to settle? 

In general, Cowboy Coffee is a traditional drink made by cowboys. It is brewed by heating coarse-ground coffee beans with water over an open fire. It is great for a camping adventure.

It was started by the cowboys to get them through a hard day, however, now it is widely made all over the world. It is now used a lot by campers, Girl and Boy Scouts, and Hikers.

The essentials to brew a cowboy coffee are few and easy to come by. You’ll need a pot of some sort – a saucepan, metal carafe, or even a metal coffee cup will do. Just something that holds water and withstands campfire heat.

Cowboy Coffee started long ago in America. It started from Cowboys on the trail to campers and now to individual homes. Arbuckles’ Ariosa Blend or Cowboy coffee became so popular in the Old West that most cowboys didn’t even know that there was any other drink. Cowboys used to drink coffee like water after every meal. They always had a pot boiling over the fire, because “piping hot” was how they liked their coffee. 

Cowboy Coffee Recipe Variations

Cold Water Infusion

This is the easiest and most popular method. Just throw coffee grounds into the water, and bring to a slow boil; immediately remove them from the fire (allowing the coffee to boil will result in a burnt taste), and steep for one minute. Add eggshells, and allow the grounds to settle. Right before serving, add a bit of cold water to the pot to further settle the grounds.

Bonus: cold water doesn’t extract the essential oils from the beans and also allows the grounds to steep longer.

The Morning After Method

Take a pot of grounds from the night before, add water, bring to a boil; remove from fire. Add fresh grounds and follow the same above instructions. Reheat the grounds from the previous night(s), and drink it the next morning, to save time and energy. 

The Sock Method

This method is also called “hobo” or “open-pot” coffee, this calls for putting the grounds into a (clean) sock and chucking it into the coffee pot. Bring to a boil, and follow the same preparation instructions as above (minus the eggshells). If you don’t want to use one of your socks, use a muslin bag or a commercially made coffee sock. Let it steep until you get the required amount.

Cowboy Coffee Recipe

Equipment needed to make the coffee.

  • Coffee kettle/pot
  • Cup or mug
  • A fire or stovetop


  • 4 cups water (plus optional 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground coffee
  • A pinch of salt

Method of preparation

1. Pour 4 cups of water into your coffee pot.

2. Add a pinch of salt and place it over an open flame

3. Once the water is warm, pour in the coffee grounds and Stir well.

4. Bring the water to a boil. Let it boil for about 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a minute. This will help the grounds settle to the bottom.

6. If you see grounds on the surface, try adding 1/4 cup or less of cold water. You can also strain the coffee before serving.

The Eggshell Method


  • A heat resistant Kettle or cast iron kettle 
  • ¾ to 1 cup of ground coffee
  • 4 cups water
  • Eggshells
  • A little cold water

Method of Preparation

1. Pour 1 quarter of water into a kettle, Boil the water.

2. Mix in the eggshells. Break the eggshells and sprinkle them, into the coffee grounds, lightly mixing. 

3. Toss it in the pot. When the water comes to a boil, toss in your coffee and eggshell mixture but do not stir. 

4. Once your water has begun to boil again, immediately remove it from the heat source and set it to the side. Now wait for 5 minutes for the grounds to steep and sink to the bottom of the pot. 

4 Tips for Making Cowboy Coffee

  • Remember to use water just after it has started boiling when it is at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes the coffee less acidic and often provides the preferred flavor.
  • For a standard brew, coffee fans have found that using 2 tablespoons of grounds and 8 ounces of water is the perfect ratio. 
  • Be advised: when roughing it, your grounds might be more coarse, so you may need to add additional grounds to get to your desired level of richness.
  • You don’t need to spend too much time grinding your beans. Grounds the size of coarse rock salt work splendidly and are easier to strain when it comes time to savour a cup.

Closing Thoughts

Cowboy coffee is the most complex way of brewing coffee, rather than today’s Insta coffee machine world. It’s not as simple as adding water, and grounds, and pressing a button, but the finished product can be even more satisfying. 

It’s a good idea to get an old-fashioned stainless steel kettle that will keep your coffee boiling and add to its authentic flavour. You can also fire up your grill to help you make this perfect cup. Afterall, nothing is too much when it comes to coffee.

 It requires a lot of patience and effort. If you have the essence of patience, then You must give it a try. The next time you find yourself camping you’ll feel like you’re in the Old Wild West!

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