How to Make Cowboy Coffee – A Step by Step Guide

How to make Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is a classic method of making coffee that dates back to the days of the Wild West. It is a simple, rustic way of brewing coffee that requires only a few ingredients and a pot. Cowboy coffee is made with coarse coffee grounds, water, and a heat source and is perfect for outdoor activities like camping or backpacking. 

The Cowboy Coffee brewing method produces a strong, rich, bold flavor that coffee enthusiasts love. This step-by-step guide will show you how to make a delicious cup of cowboy coffee, from selecting the right coffee beans to steeping the coffee and pouring it into your cup. Whether you’re an experienced coffee drinker or a novice to the cowboy coffee experience, this guide will give you all the tips and tricks you need to make a delicious cup of coffee.

What is cowboy coffee?

Cowboy coffee is a simple brewing method often associated with the American frontier and the Wild West. It is made by boiling coarse coffee grounds in water, usually over an open fire or camp stove, and is known for its strong and bold flavor. Typically, cowboy coffee is made in a pot with a lid and steeped for a few minutes before serving. Cowboy coffee is often used while camping, hiking, or outdoor activities as it is a convenient and affordable way to brew coffee without a traditional coffeemaker. It is also appreciated for its classic, rustic style and the unique flavor that results from the boiling process.

Things you will need:

Making cowboy coffee requires only a few essential ingredients and tools. With these simple ingredients, you can easily make a strong and bold cup of coffee, just like cowboys did in the Wild West. The essentials include:

  •  Coarsely ground coffee beans.
  • Cold water
  • Pot with a lid (preferably enamel or stainless steel)
  • Heat source (open fire, camping stove, or stovetop)
  • Cup or mug for serving

Note: You can add sugar, cream, or spices to taste, but these are optional.

How to Make Cowboy Coffee? A Step-by-Step Guide

Cowboy coffee is a simple process requiring only a few essential ingredients and tools. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make cowboy coffee:


  • Coarsely ground coffee beans (1-2 tablespoons per cup of water).
  • Cold water (1 cup per serving)
  • Pot with a lid
  • Heat source (open fire, camping stove, or stovetop)
  • Sugar, cream, or spices (optional).


  1. Fill the pot with cold water and add the coffee grounds. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per cup of water, depending on the desired strength.
  2. Place the pot over a heat source and bring the water to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, remove the pot from the heat and let the coffee steep for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Stir the coffee and pour it into a cup, leaving any sediment behind in the pot.
  5. Enjoy black, or add sugar, cream, or spices to taste.

Note: You can adjust the amount of coffee or the steeping time to suit your taste preferences. Cowboy coffee is strong and has a bold flavor, so start with a small number of beans and increase it as needed.

Straining Methods

There are several methods to strain cowboy coffee. Here are a few popular ones:

  1. Pour-over straining: Pour the brewed coffee through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a cup or pitcher. This removes any coffee grounds or sediment from the coffee.
  2. Spoon straining: Before serving, use a spoon to skim off any coffee grounds or sediment that has risen to the top of the coffee.
  3. Pot with built-in filter: Some coffee pots have built-in strainers, allowing you to pour the coffee directly into your cup without any sediment.
  4. Sediment settling: Let the coffee sit for a few minutes to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom of the pot. Then, gently pour the coffee from the top, being careful not to disturb the sediment.

Choose a straining method that works best for you, or use a combination of methods for the most effective results.

How to Get the Most from Your Cowboy Coffee

Here are some tips to get maximum flavor from your cowboy coffee:

  1. Use quality coffee beans: High-quality coffee beans will result in better-tasting coffee. Look for freshly roasted coffee beans, or grind your own just before brewing.
  2. Use cold, filtered water: Using cold, filtered water will ensure that your coffee tastes pure and clean without any impurities.
  3. Use the right amount of coffee: The right amount of coffee will depend on personal taste, but as a starting point, use 1-2 tablespoons of coffee per cup of water.
  4. Brew at the right temperature: Bringing the water to a boil is the right temperature for brewing cowboy coffee.
  5. Steep for the right time: Let the coffee steep for 3-5 minutes, then remove it from the heat. Any longer, and the coffee can become bitter.
  6. Stir the coffee: Stirring the coffee before pouring it into your cup will help to distribute the coffee grounds evenly and ensure a consistent flavor.
  7. Experiment with sugar, cream, or spices: Cowboy coffee is traditionally drunk black, but you can also experiment with adding sugar, cream, or spices to taste.

Following these tips, you’ll get the best possible flavor from your cowboy coffee.

Other Coffee Drinks And Methods

Here are some popular coffee drinks and methods:

  1. Espresso: A robust and concentrated coffee made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans.
  2. Cappuccino: An espresso-based drink with equal parts, steamed milk, and foam.
  3. Latte: An espresso-based drink made with more steamed milk than a cappuccino and topped with a small amount of milk foam.
  4. Americano: A long black coffee made by adding hot water to an espresso shot.
  5. Macchiato: A shot of espresso with a small amount of milk foam.
  6. Drip coffee: A coffee made by brewing ground coffee beans in a coffee maker with hot water.
  7. French Press: A manual coffee maker steeps ground coffee in water, then separates the coffee from the grounds using a metal or nylon mesh plunger.
  8. Aeropress: A manual coffee maker that uses pressure to extract coffee. The coffee is made by adding ground coffee and water to the Aeropress, then using a plunger to push the water through the coffee and into a cup.
  9. Cold Brew: A coffee made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water for 12-24 hours, then filtering out the grounds.

Each coffee drink and method has a unique flavor and strength, so experiment to find your favorite.


In conclusion, making cowboy coffee is a simple yet satisfying process that results in a robust and flavorful drink. You can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee in no time by using quality beans and cold filtered water and following the steps to brew and strain. Try experimenting with the amount of coffee, steeping time, and straining method to find your perfect cup.


1. How do you make coffee like a cowboy?

To make coffee like a cowboy, bring coarse grounds and cold water to a boil, then let it steep for 3-5 min. Strain and serve black or with sugar, cream, or spices to taste.

2. How long do you brew cowboy coffee? 

Cowboy coffee is brewed by bringing coarse grounds and cold water to a boil, then letting it steep for 3-5 minutes. It should be strained before serving.

3. What grind is best for cowboy coffee?

A coarse grind is preferred for cowboy coffee as it helps to avoid over-extraction and ensures that the grounds settle to the bottom of the pot. This makes straining easier and prevents the coffee from becoming too bitter.

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