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Cowboy Coffee – Save Time, Space, Water, and Money

Easy cowboy coffee –


Delicious coffee doesn’t need to be complicated.  Try cowboy coffee to save time, space, water and money.

Cowboys drink a lot of good coffee, and their chuck wagon isn’t set up like a Starbucks.  It doesn’t have to be!

Photo by Edward Eyer

You don’t need bulky machines that take up a ton of space, and fancy gadgets that take gallons of water to clean.

As I discussed in Save RV Counter Space, Steve and I switched to an old-fashioned stovetop percolator when we moved into our RV.

The stovetop percolator saves counter space, and it doesn’t need electricity.  Two big wins for a tiny RV kitchen.

But all the perking pieces inside the coffee pot sure took a lot of time and water to wash each day!

So we discovered something even simpler–traditional cowboy coffee.

Coffee so easy, you can even make it in a plain old pot over a camp fire.  It’s faster than perked and drip coffee, too.

Cowboy coffee has a smooth, rich flavor, and it uses less coffee to get the same strength as other methods.

Cleaning up after making cowboy coffee saves water, too.  Water is a precious commodity where you don’t have a water hook-up!

Cleaning the pot after cowboy coffee is quick and easy.  Just scoop out any remaining grounds, swirl some water, toss it out, wipe out the pot with a paper towel, then rinse again.  That’s it.


Getting ready –


Measure cold water into your pot.  Anything that can boil water is fine, as long as you can pour from it.


Just don’t boil water in cast iron! Cast iron doesn’t like it.  Boiling water will flake off its seasoning.

I will discuss cast iron in my upcoming series, Cast Iron 101.  Despite its weight, cast iron actually works well with the nomad lifestyle.  Stay tuned!

And now back to cowboy coffee.

We use our stovetop percolator pot, shown above, with all the inside pieces removed.

You can use store-bought water if you prefer.  But it’s fine to use campground water for cowboy coffee, since it goes through a hard boil.

We scoop about 2/3 of the amount of coffee we measured for percolated and drip coffee.  Experiment and see what works for you.  But you can definitely use less.  So cowboy coffee is a money saver, too!


How to make cowboy coffee –


Start heating the water on high heat, and add the coffee on top. Don’t cover the pot until it’s off the heat.

Keep an eye on the pot while it’s heating!  You don’t want it to boil over.

When the water and coffee come to a boil, turn the heat down to low.  It will still keep boiling, but it won’t boil over.

Boil the coffee for three minutes.  Don’t worry about it becoming bitter.  The boiling actually cuts the acidity, and the coffee has a good smooth flavor.

After boiling on low for three minutes, take the coffee off the heat.  Swirl it a little to get the grounds that crept up the sides during the boil.

Let it sit for one minute.  After the minute is up, pour some cold water on top, and let it sit for another minute.

I use about a half cup of cold water for a small pot, or a little more.  For a larger pot, I add about a cup.

If you use a coffee pot with a spout, pour some of the cold water down the spout, to wash down any loose grounds that may have boiled up.

Now just let it sit for a minute.  Don’t stir!  The cold water pushes the loose grounds to the bottom of the pot.

And don’t worry, this won’t make your coffee cold.  All that boiling has made it plenty hot!

After the coffee has been sitting with the cold water for one minute, you can put on the lid and enjoy your coffee!

The first couple cups usually pour out with no more grounds than you would find in percolated coffee.

The remaining cups will bring up more grounds, so use a small strainer to catch them as you pour.  I got one at the dollar store that sits right on the rim of the cup.

That’s it!  Once the coffee comes to a boil, it’s just five minutes until it’s ready to drink.


Photo by Bianca Gasparoto


Click here to read my article Save RV Counter Space.



Feature Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

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