How to Make Cowboy Coffee?

Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 11, 2023
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As you head to the outdoors for your family retreat or a weekend of camping, you might, among other things, worry about how to survive each day without a cup of coffee. You are used to the coffee maker doing all the work; unfortunately, there is no way to bring your coffee maker along with you. But do not worry. Cowboy coffee is just what you need! What is cowboy coffee? How can you make cowboy coffee? In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about cowboy coffee. We will also discuss some things that you can add to your coffee to make it taste better.

Many folks who try to make cowboy coffee usually end up making a brew that tastes nothing like coffee. Do not be dismayed by their stories of failure. Cowboy coffee is one of the easiest ways of making coffee! With the right equipment, materials, and a little knowledge of brewing, you can also make your own delicious, full-bodied cowboy coffee. After reading this guide, you will make coffee that tastes as good as brewed with your coffee maker.

What is cowboy coffee?

How to Make Cowboy Coffee?The only difference between cowboy coffee and other types of coffee is the way it is brewed. Aside from that, it is the same as your regular coffee.

Cowboy coffee is brewed over a campfire and requires different tools, which you usually don’t use in making regular coffee. It also involves a process called decoction.

The decoction is an extraction technique that requires water to boil during the process. In simple terms, all you need to do is to allow the coffee grounds to settle to the bottom, and then you will be able to pour yourself a cup.

It sounds simple, but there are many people who have failed at it. Or you might have tried it yourself and gotten horrible results.

Why do people like cowboy coffee?

You might wonder why people would enjoy going through the stress of making cowboy coffee when there are other, more straightforward options. There are travel mugs, vacuum flasks, and other portable methods that offer less stress than cowboy coffee. For example, you may be interested in our review of the best travel coffee makers that allow you to drink a cup of a hot drink on the go.

Still, there are some of the reasons to make cowboy coffee:

It makes for a party

The chances are that you are not camping alone. If you are with friends, someone else might like to have some coffee. Thus, it is better to brew an entire pot of coffee at once and allow everyone to enjoy it.

It enhances your experience

How to Make Cowboy Coffee?Sure, you can pop open a flask and drink lukewarm coffee, but to get an excellent experience and a taste of the fresh coffee outdoors, you can set up a campfire and brew it yourself. It is reminiscent of the cowboys and other people in the past who brewed drinks while exploring the unknown world. By brewing your coffee, you can also take a stroll back in time, so to speak, and relive a little of their experience.

Now that you know why brewing cowboy coffee is incredibly great let us now delve into the process of making the coffee.

To begin with, you will need some essential tools or equipment.

What you need to make cowboy coffee

Here are the essential tools you need for your pot of cowboy coffee.

  • Freshly ground coffee
  • Water
  • A small pot
  • A campfire
  • A small measuring cup or a spoon

All of these tools are easy to find; you might already have a couple lying around in your home. If you don’t have them, they are easy to buy along with any of your camping gear. Ensure that your small pot is durable and will withstand the heat from the campfire. You should also take some clean, filtered water with you to make fresh coffee.

Taking your water along is essential because the water found in the wild might not be clean enough to give a great tasting coffee, and is likely contaminated and dangerous to your health.

How to make cowboy coffee

How to Make Cowboy Coffee?Once you have gotten all the necessary tools, it is time to start brewing. Here are the nine steps to follow:

  • Add water, measuring its amount if you don’t know how much your pot can hold. You might choose to ignore coffee-to-water ratio guidelines and do what you want. However, note that this will spell disaster for your coffee.
  • Next, after making a campfire, place your pot on it, and bring the water to a boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, remove the pot from the fire. Be careful not to burn your hands! Allow it to sit for half a minute. Why? You should do this so that the optimal temperature for brewing coffee will be achieved. To get the perfect taste of your drink, make sure that the water temperature is at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Next, add the coffee. For every two tablespoons of finely ground coffee, you must use eight ounces of water. This coffee-to-water ratio will help achieve the best taste. This is where your spoon or measuring cup comes in handy.
  • After this, stir the ground coffee thoroughly.
  • Put it back on fire, wait two minutes, and then stir once again.
  • Allow it to sit there for two more minutes.
  • After the four minutes are up, sprinkle some cold water into the mixture. By doing this, the difference in temperature will make the coffee grounds sink to the bottom of the pot.
  • Serve the coffee gently, ensuring that the coffee grounds remain at the bottom of the pot.

For best results, pour the coffee immediately after it has been brewed. If you fail to pour it out on time, the coffee will become bitter.

It is straightforward, right? Now you can enjoy your coffee the way cowboys used to do.

Adding eggshells

How to Make Cowboy Coffee?Adding eggshells to coffee? Whether it sounds right or not, adding eggshells can drastically improve your cowboy coffee. One of the reasons why many despise cowboy coffee is the bitter or strong taste that it has.

If that taste is not for you, you might consider adding some eggshells to make it bearable. One reason for the bitterness of cowboy coffee is the high level of acidity. Eggshells are alkaline; therefore, they will make coffee less acidic.

Furthermore, just as cold water, they act to keep your coffee grounds at the bottom of the pot. Here is how to use eggshells.

  • Put washed shells in the pot while you are adding coffee to the water
  • During the brewing process, leave them in the pot

After brewing your cowboy coffee, you can drink it plain or black. But if you prefer to, you can add sweeteners, cream, or milk. To reduce the bitterness, you can also add some salt to the coffee.


Many folks do not like cowboy coffee because they do not know how to make it the right way. When you follow these steps, you will enjoy the taste and flavor of every cup. The tools you need can easily be found in your house. So what are you waiting for? Now, this article has shown you what to do, so go ahead and brew yourself a pot of cowboy coffee!

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