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How to Make the Perfect Cowboy Coffee

Cheryl Mascarenhas
Cowboy coffee is the go-to respite for campers, and cowboys alike. Known for its heady concoction of smoked flavor and fresh ground beans, this is a must-have variety of coffee, especially when you are relaxing in the woods this summer.
A cup of coffee―real coffee―home-browned, home ground, homemade, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all.
―Henry Ward Beecher
Whether you are backpacking, hiking, or simply enjoying a relaxed weekend in the comforts of your home, a good cup of coffee is sure to give you the ultimate kick for the day. While some like it mild, there are some who settle for nothing but a strong brew, very much like a cowboy would prefer on his ranch.
Cowboy coffee is also known as open-pot coffee, hobo coffee, campfire coffee, or boiled coffee, owing to its brewing process that involves steeping the ground coffee in hot water.
Needless to say, cowboy coffee challenges the best of brewing methods. The best part about brewing this style of coffee is that it requires only the most basic of equipment, and it can be made anywhere that water can be boiled―at home or at the camping ground.

Make Your Own Cowboy Coffee

Things to Keep Ready:
♨ Ground Coffee
♨ Water
♨ Saucepan or Can
♨ Sugar (optional)
♨ Crushed egg shells/Cold water
➊ Fill a saucepan with the desired cups of water.
➋ Bring the water to a boil.
➌ Give the water a good stir so that it stops boiling, yet the temperature stays between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
➍ To each cup of water added, take a spoonful of freshly ground coffee beans.
➎ Allow to steep for five minutes so that the flavor percolates into the water.
➏ Stir and take it off the heat.
➐ Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes, or simply add crushed egg shells or cold water to hasten the settling of the grounds.
➑ Pour into a cup and enjoy.
If possible, strain your coffee into a cup using a wire mesh. Ideally, cowboy coffee is poured directly into cups allowing the grounds to settle at the bottom of the cup. It is advisable to leave the dregs at the bottom of the cup instead of consuming the bitter grounds. You can add cream or sugar to suit your taste.

Tips to Make a Great Cup

Steep the coffee grounds in water that is just about to boil―between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit (90 to 96 degrees Celsius). As a rule, do not use boiling water.
Use freshly ground beans for a flavorful cup every single time.
Resort to grinding the beans at home for that extra bit of flavor.
Use a fine mesh strainer to take care of floating coffee grounds.
Add a pinch of salt to the coffee to reduce its bitterness.
Use good drinking water to make your coffee. Remember, water that tastes bad will result in foul tasting coffee.
Allow the grind to steep in the water for at least 3 to 5 minutes for a great tasting coffee.
Patiently wait for 30 to 60 seconds for the floats to sink to the bottom.
Add clean egg shells, or half a cup of cold water to quickly sink the grounds.
Throw away the last sip in the cup and the pot to avoid consumption of the sediments.
Practice till you master the skill of making a great cup of cowboy coffee.
Use a deep pot instead of a shallow pot to ensure the grounds stay at the bottom.
If possible, opt for a coffee boiler to brew yourself a cup of great tasting coffee instead of a saucepan.