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How to Make Cowboy Coffee

How to Make Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee means making it around a campfire with coarse grounds, pot, water, salt, or eggshells. Making this coffee involves a simple traditional way of brewing coffee that doesn’t require the use of a coffee maker. All you need is a pot or cowboy coffee kettle, source of heat, and cooking ingredients mentioned.

The old fashioned coffee made by cowboys while in the ranches and frontiers is a West culture. Cowboys like the coffee as scalding hot, strong and black. The drink is more comfortable making just pouring water into the pot, adding coffee and steaming over a fire. Cowboy coffee helps the cattlemen and frontiers to remain alert while working at night.

Making Cowboy Coffee

The following is a cooking guide in making this coffee.


  • Cooking pot/ kettle
  • Source of heat

Cowboy Coffee Ingredients

  • Water 2 cups
  • 5 -6 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee
  • Eggshells
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Sugar

Milk and sugar are optional, but if you like the coffee been black, you can do without them. The ingredients only serve one person; therefore, for more drinks, add more coffee and water equally. Making cowboy coffee involves three main steps which are brewing, settling grounds, and serving.

Brewing Cowboy Coffee: The process

  1. Bring the water to boil

Fill a pot or the camping kettle with water, place it on the grill over hot coals to boil, or use firewood or electric cooker if you don’t have a wildfire. To make more drinks increase the amount of coffee and water equally depending on the number of cups you want. The ideal boiling temperature should be 91-90 o c, which is lower than the usual boiling point.

  1. Remove water from the heat and allow it cool for a minute.

Set the kettle aside on the ground and let it cool for a minute before adding coffee. Cooling prevents the coffee from becoming bitter.

  1. Add coffee and stir, and return the kettle to the heat.

Stir the grounds for 15 seconds to saturate them. Use five spoons for slightly weaker coffee or 6 for an intense brewer. Coarse beans are better used than fine ground coffee as they stand the heat and produce a less bitter drink.

  1. Bring the coffee to simmer

Check the coffee not to boil as this will make it more bitter. Just observe for several bubbles to break the water surface regularly, and it will be ready.

  • Remove the kettle from the fire and allow it to brew for 2 minutes.
  • Stir the coffee and let it settle for another few minutes for further brewing.

After, open the lid and stir it for 15 seconds and then replace the cover. Let the coffee settle for another few minutes.

You can do it in 3 ways to ensure the coarse coffee grains remain at the bottom of the kettle because this kind of coffee doesn’t require filtering.

Allowing the coffee to sit for a few minutes

Ensure you remove the lid to allow fresh air into the coffee, which aids in cooling the coarse grains and make them sink naturally. Sinking the grounds is essential to ensure they are not transferred into the cup while serving coffee.

Adding cold water

Add 37 ml of cold water into the coffee for faster cooling, remember not to put more, or make the coffee warm. Coldwater chills the beans and causes them to sink.

Add crushed eggshells

Boil an egg and let the shell dry. Crush the case using a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Sprinkle a pinch of the powder into the coffee and stir.

making cowboy coffee


  • Pour the coffee slowly into a cup when all the grounds have settled to prevent transferring them into a mug. Ensure you don’t pour the last few drops as they will have more coffee grounds.
  • Add milk and sugar to taste. It’s optional as some people may prefer the drink as black, but you can add all sweeteners to your desired taste.
  • Add a pinch of salt to reduce bitterness. Stir your coffee, and it’s now ready to drink.

What is the Secret Ingredient of Cowboy Coffee?

The secrete component of this coffee is salt. You should add a  pinch of salt into the coffee while simmering or while serving to remove bitterness. Salt also makes the coffee smooth.

Why is Cowboy Coffee So Good?

Cowboy coffee helps to reduce acid reflux due to less acidity in it. Additionally, it acts as a mood booster and makes one active, especially when working long hours at night. During the cold season, a cup of cowboy coffee warms you up.

Why Do People Put Eggs in Coffee?

Eggs shells aid to stick the grounds together and force them to sink. Again, they also lower the acidity in the coffee, making it less bitter. They can also be a good source of calcium, and therefore the eggs should be treated for Salmonella or hard-boiled to prevent foodborne illness.

Check this too: How to Clean Bunn Coffee Maker


Cowboy coffee serves various purposes like camping, out on the trails, and even as a way of innovation with friends. The coffee has a great tasting that is bold and flavorful. Drinking this coffee is also a way of preserving the rich Western culture. With a campfire or without, you can make your cup of cowboy coffee and enjoy its benefits.