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cowboy coffee

Making Cowboy Coffee on a Campfire

Cowboy Coffee is delicious, but you need to me meticulous to get the right ratios and to prevent it from becoming sludge. Below we’ll describe how to make it on a fire, but similar guidelines apply when working on a stove:
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • Kettle
  • Firewood
  • Stand for kettle
  • Hand Gloves


  • Coffee grounds
  • Water
  • Sugar Optional
  • Cream Optional


  • Heat it up: Both firewood and coal campfires produce enough heat. Make a fire and when you have some coals, place a grill over them.
  • Get a pot and water: Add water to a tinpot or camping kettle and place it on the grill.
  • Removing it the fire: When the water boils, remove the pot from the fire. Note that you don’t put coffee grounds in the water beforehand. You need to let the water cool down first or else the extreme heat may ruin the taste. The ideal temperature for the next step is when the water reaches 200°F.
  • Add your grounds: Measure two tablespoons of coffee for every 8oz of water. Add the grounds to the kettle and stir for about 15 seconds. You can also add broken eggshells at this stage.
  • Back on the grill: Now the brew can go back onto the grill but only for a short simmer.
  • Take if off again: When the brew is boiling again you can remove it from the fire. A smart idea is to dig a hole in the ground and place the kettle or pot inside. This will prevent it from cooling down too quickly.
  • Wait: Don’t drink the brew immediately because it will taste gritty. You need to wait for the grounds to sink to the bottom. Usually, a waiting period of two to five minutes is enough.
  • Pour your brew: Precision workmanship is important when you pour because you don’t want the grounds to rise up in the brew again. Pour slowly and carefully without making jerking movements like picking the kettle up too quickly.
  • Don’t let it sit: Your kettle may keep the brew hot for quite a while, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll enjoy another cup a few hours later. The brew will change in taste over time as the grounds become over-extracted. This results in bitter coffee. Rather pour it into another container making sure the grinds stay at the bottom of the pot or kettle.


Most people drink Cowboy Coffee in the original way it was intended: black. But you can add sugar and cream to taste if you prefer.
Keyword campfire coffee, cowboy coffee