How to Make Cowboy Coffee: Video and More

Mmmmmm, coffee. In this new video, I explain how to make cowboy coffee, a powerfully delicious cup of caffeination brewed using only coffee grounds and a pot of boiling water. At the end, I've added several more details that didn't make the final editing cut.

Pouring off Cowboy Coffee In the video, I show my recommended way for getting cowboy coffee out of the pot, by skimming the top with a small cup or other scooper. However, you can also simply pour out the grounds-free coffee by slowly and gently tipping the pot. As the coffee level gets lower, pour a thin slow stream that allows you to see when grounds first appear.

The Risk of Boil Over
After adding the grounds to the pot of hot water, the usual recommendation is to return it very briefly to a boil on the stove. All the bubbling churns the water and grounds together for maximum mixing of the two key ingredients. But this is not an essential step--vigorously stirring the grounds and water with a spoon or stick does the trick almost as well.

If you do let it boil, keep a watchful eye on it. It will rapidly bubble up and boil over the sides of the pot, making a real mess. In my experiments during the filming process, this happened within 30 seconds of the coffee/water mix returning to a boil. It happened equally quickly regardless of whether I stirred the coffee grounds (breaking the surface tension) before returning the pot to the stove, or just poured the grounds in and let them sit on the surface.

The Bandana Filter This does work, but it works very slowly. No matter how long you let cowboy coffee sit, the smallest micro-grounds never really settle. When they're strained through the bandana, they rapidly clog up the fabric's pores and slow the process to a crawl. Unless you've got a lot of time--and even more patience--I recommend you skip this step and instead savor for maximum flavor.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.