What Is a Cowboy Coffee

If you are looking for a simple way of preparing coffee and enjoying it, then cowboy coffee is perfect for you. You can prepare it by brewing ground coffee in hot water. It does not require any form of filtration. This means its preparation involves basic steps; thus, the name cowboy coffee.

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However, just like when following recipes for bulletproof coffee or for making the best French roast coffee, it is also crucial to learn everything that you can about cowboy coffee. That way, the result will surely taste good.

Benefits of Drinking a Cowboy Coffee

Similar to milk-based and regular types of coffee, cowboy coffee also produces several benefits. Some of the most popular benefits of drinking a cup of cowboy coffee regularly are the following:

Allows You to Enjoy a Rich American History Related to Coffee

One of the greatest advantages of drinking cowboy coffee is that it can make you look back to history. Note that this type of coffee boasts of rich history from the time cowboys started to be on the trail and camped in the wild.

It even got more popular during the colonial period in America. Drinking cowboy coffee makes it possible for you to go back to your roots, taking a look at the exciting lives of the most committed coffee drinkers in the past, the cowboys who loved a scalding hot and strong coffee.

Doesn’t Require Special Equipment for Brewing

A homemade café latte contains espresso, which is one reason why you need to prepare it using special equipment. Also, while Death Wish coffee is a rich and full-bodied drink that a lot of people love, the whole preparation requires more equipment and supplies. It is not the case for cowboy coffee.

As a matter of fact, deciding to drink it lets you go through a simple means of brewing a flavorful coffee without the need for special equipment. The only things you need are ground coffee, water, and a kettle. You also need a source of heat to produce a nice cup of cowboy coffee regardless of the origins of the different coffee beans you decided to use.

Low Acidity Level

This cowboy beverage is one of those coffees with low levels of acidity. It is a great advantage for those who deal with discomfort due to the high levels of acidity in some coffees. The way cowboy coffee is prepared significantly reduces its level of acidity and sour taste, which is not the case for other coffee brews.

Short History of Cowboy Coffee

Short History of Cowboy Coffee

The term cowboys definitely has a strong connection to the Americans. The cowboy lifestyle boasts of its fascinatingly long history with Americans, with the cowboy coffee tradition being prevalent up to the present. Up to the time of the Civil War, the coffee sold to everyone was raw and green.

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People during that time had to roast it on a frying pan set over a campfire or a wood-burning stove before they could paint and brew it. Even just a single bean burnt would ruin the entire batch. This complicated process changed upon the introduction of coffee beans with icing and egg as the coating. It turned into an instant hit, especially on cowboys who kept stocks of these coffee beans so they would always have a good supply of hot coffee.

The original cowboy coffee was the famous Arbuckles’ Ariosa Blend. Made by Arbuckle Brothers, this famous blend was the best and the first cowboy coffee offered in the West. It was part of the history of cowboy coffee, especially because the mix created by the brand is still enjoyed by a lot of people up to the present.

How Does a Cowboy Coffee Work

Provided you pick the finest-tasting coffee from Amazon or any other legitimate source, you can make a cowboy coffee that truly tastes the way it is supposed to. Organic coffee has a better taste and is rich in nutrients, so it would be best to choose this variety. Once you have the coffee beans you want, you can make the cowboy coffee work by creating them using the basic method and preparing the other things you need.

One is the traditional kettle, which works mainly on an open range fire when brewing coffee. You just have to let the coffee go straight inside the kettle.

You do not have to use filters or any other equipment to transfer the natural flavors locked within the coffee beans’ compounds and oils into the brew. After the successful brewing and preparation, you can enjoy the work of a cup of cowboy coffee with a more full-bodied and richer taste.

Pros and Cons of Cowboy Coffee


  • Allows you to brew one whole pot simultaneously. This is good, especially if you are camping outdoors and you want to brew more than just a single cup so the entire family can enjoy it.
  • Boasts of a simple and straightforward brewing process.
  • Not as acidic as other brewed coffee.
  • Boasts of its full-bodied and rich taste.
  • Does not require too many supplies and equipment to prepare.


  • Requires more caution when brewing as there is a risk of over-brewing that might lead to an extremely bitter taste.

How to Brew Cowboy Coffee

There are a few methods that will let you brew your perfect cup of cowboy coffee. Among them are the following:

Eggshell Method

This basic method of brewing cowboy coffee requires you to use a coffee pot or kettle that can resist heat. You will also need a source of heat, a bit of cold water to make the coffee grounds sink after brewing, some eggshells, around four cups of water, and three-fourths to one cup of your preferred ground coffee. Here are the steps:

Step 1 – Put the water in a coffee pot or kettle and let it boil

As much as possible, do not put the kettle or pot inside an open fire. Keep in mind that you will be grabbing it, so it’s not a good idea. What you can do, instead, is to position it on a grate before putting it over the fire.

Step 2 – Dig a tiny hole in the ground close to you

Do this step while still waiting for the water to boil. This should be where you will be putting the kettle or pot to retain its warmth after brewing.

Step 3 – Add the eggshells into the coffee grounds

Make sure to break them up first, though, before sprinkling them into the coffee grounds. Mix them lightly to ensure that the shells do not just sit on top. The eggshells have coagulative albumin residue, which aids in holding the coffee grounds together. This specific property can help in preventing them from getting into your cup.

Step 4 – Add the eggshell and coffee ground mixture into the pot or kettle

Do this once the water boils. Avoid stirring, though. It would be better to allow the coffee grounds to sit for a while then wait for the liquid to boil again.

Step 5 – Steep

After the water starts boiling again, take the pot or kettle out of the source of heat. Set this aside. Wait for around five minutes to let the grounds steep for a while. You know that you are successful if you notice the coffee grounds sinking down to the bottom of the kettle or pot. Once done, you can enjoy your cup of cowboy coffee.

Clean-Sock Method

How to Brew Cowboy Coffee - Clean-Sock Method

For the clean-sock method of brewing cowboy coffee, you will need around three-fourths to one cup of ground coffee, a heat-resistant kettle, one coffee sock, a source of heat, and four cups of water. You may also use a standard yet clean sock or muslin bag as a substitute for the coffee sock.

Brewing coffee through the clean-sock method involves these steps:

Step 1 – Boil water

Just like the eggshell method, it is also important to prepare a shallow hole while waiting for the water to boil so you can use it for retaining the heat of coffee later.

Step 2 – Prepare coffee

Prepare the coffee bag and coffee grounds. What you should do is to put the coffee grounds in the bag or sock.

Step 3 – Add coffee to the boiling water

Toss the coffee bag or sock into the pot of boiling water. Wait for a few more minutes for the water to boil again.

Step 4 – Take it out of the heat

After it boils for the second time, take it out of the heat. Steep for five minutes, then pours into cups so you and your companions can start enjoying it.

Stirring Recipe

You can also prepare your cowboy coffee with the help of a stirring recipe. Here, you will need a heat-resistant kettle, around four cups of water, one-half cup of cold water, three-fourths to one cup ground coffee, and a reliable source of heat. Here’s how you can prepare cowboy coffee through this method:

Step 1 – Boil water

Just pour the four cups of water into the kettle and wait for it to boil.

Step 2 – Take the kettle out of the source of heat

After boiling, you need to take the kettle out of the heat source to let the water cool down. You can set it aside for half a minute to one minute, allowing it to cool down a bit. It should be around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the perfect temperature when brewing most coffee.

Step 3 – Stir coffee

After letting the water cool down, stir the coffee in hot water for around fifteen seconds. You should then allow it to sit for a while, around two minutes, in the hole you made a while ago. Stir the mixture again afterward.

Step 4 – Wait

Set aside for two more minutes. Once you complete the second stir, allow the coffee to sit for two more minutes. It should be enough to let the coffee steep and brew, ensuring that all the flavorful oils inside the coffee beans come out.

Step 5 – Enjoy the coffee

After steeping, you can pour this drink into cups so you can start to enjoy it.


Cowboy Coffee Recipe

Do you really want to start enjoying cowboy coffee and making it a part of your daily life? Then you can enjoy a drink that’s quite similar to Vietnamese coffee in terms of taste and strength.

Note that Vietnamese coffee is strong and sweet at the same time, which is what you will most likely get from this basic cowboy coffee recipe. Just like when you enjoy the original Ethiopian coffee quality, you will also fall in love with the overall quality and taste of this cowboy coffee. You will need two tablespoons of ground coffee for every 240 ml or 8 ounces of water. This can make a cup of cowboy coffee.

Step 1 – Preparation

Pour as much water as you need into the pot with the rule of 2 tbsps, per 240-ml water taken into consideration. Let the water boil. After that, turn off the heat, then allow the water to settle for half a minute.

Step 2 – Add coffee

Add the coffee directly to boiled water. Stir well, then allow to sit for around five minutes. This should be the brewing time.

Step 3 – Stir and pour

After brewing, gently swirl the pot or stir the coffee again. You should then pour it slowly into your cup/s. To lessen the grit in this coffee even further, wait for five more minutes after the second stirring to serve the coffee.

Cowboy Coffee vs Other Brewing Methods

Compared to other coffee brewing methods, cowboy coffee is more of going back to the basics – back to the time when people had no advanced ways of brewing their coffee. This method is, therefore, a simple way of making your favorite delicious brew while creating an enticing aroma.

The fact that the entire method simply means that it does not require the use of special and costly equipment, unlike other brewing methods. It is even unnecessary to invest in a premium milk frother, which may just add up to your expenses. It also works well for campers and other people who love outdoor adventures. You can produce a smooth cup from this method.

Another thing that makes it different when compared to other methods of brewing is that it results in a kind of coffee with less acidity. Boiling coffee through this technique offers a way of getting rid of acidity and bitterness from the drink. With its low level of acidity, it will not cause an upset stomach and acid reflux.

Do’s and Don’ts When Making a Cowboy Coffee

Do’s and Don’ts When Making a Cowboy Coffee


  • Do use the proper and correct measurements of coffee and water – Stick to the rule of 2 tbsps—coffee per 240 ml of water as much as possible.
  • Do Use a pot with a lid – The lid can help prevent your coffee from excessively cooling down.
  • Do Make adjustments on the strength – If you have your own preferences, adjust your coffee’s strength together with the time required for boiling and the number of coffee grounds.


  • Don’t add the coffee before boiling the water.
  • Don’t rush the entire process – Exercise patience to ensure that the result will be just the way you want.
  • Don’t add coffee grounds without letting the boiled water cool down a bit – This will prevent the coffee from turning out to be extremely bitter.

FAQ About Cowboy Coffee

Is there a secret ingredient when making cowboy coffee?

The answer is no. You can make your desired cup of this famous coffee without adding any secret ingredient. However, some cowboys incorporate salt or eggshells into their coffee. It is because they find the salt effective in reducing the bitterness of coffee and replenishing their lost sweat.

As for the eggshells, they are said to prevent the grounds of coffee from sinking at the bottom too rapidly. Moreover, these eggshells are helpful in lowering the level of acidity in coffee. You may want to incorporate these two in your cowboy coffee if you are interested in enjoying what they can do.

How did cowboys create their coffee during the 1800s?

During the 1800s, you can’t still find the coffee-making machines and other special equipment used in brewing coffee being available and used. It is the reason why cowboys made it a point to experiment and find ways to experiment and make their own coffee during such a period.

They often brewed their coffee around a campfire using no special or expensive equipment. They just use a pot, some water, and coffee beans. Most of them followed the methods of brewing coffee indicated earlier. Done correctly, this method can produce coffee that can resemble those created from hand-ground coffee beans brewed carefully using a French press made of artisan glass or any other coffee-making machine.

What are the types of coffee consumed by cowboys?

As part of the group whose love for coffee is so strong, you can expect cowboys to also like those types of coffee that are strong and hot. They want their coffee to be black or barefooted. They do not prefer weak coffee, which is why the cowboy coffee brewing method works perfectly for them.

Why should you make cowboy coffee?

One advantage of trying to make your own cowboy coffee is that the process of transferring the drink straight from a roaring campfire’s flames to your mug is exciting. It can somewhat bring you back to the old times, which can surely make you feel good. Aside from that, the taste of cowboy coffee is impressive, provided you follow the steps correctly. Also, you do not have to invest in and use complex equipment just to brew a perfect cup of it.

When is the best time to make cowboy coffee?

The best time to make cowboy coffee is when you are camping outdoors or on any outdoor adventure that requires you and your companion to have a strong cup of it. You can also prepare it during any of those instances when you need to offer several cups of coffee all at once. It is because this method can produce large batches of coffee, allowing you to have something to serve everyone.


With your knowledge about preparing cowboy coffee, you will be able to start enjoying its benefits, especially if you are camping or out in the wilderness. Since you are already aware of how to make this drink, you no longer have to worry too much about where to get your coffee fix. The simplicity of this coffee-brewing method is also impressive, allowing you to enjoy the entire process with utmost satisfaction.

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