Cowboy Coffee: An American Tradition

When we think of brewing coffee at home (which we think about all the time), we imagine the usual process we’re accustomed to—grinding the beans, putting the grounds in the filter, pouring in the water, and pressing the brew button. Today more than ever it is easier to make coffee at home, but modern brew methods are very new in terms of coffee’s history.

All coffee brewing is essentially the process of turning coffee beans into a beverage. While we are accustomed to our respective methods and preferences, there are varied methods one may use to create a great cup of coffee.

One such method is known as “cowboy coffee”, and while the name may inspire visions of adventurers on the wild frontier living in buckskin tents, the method is used by people all over the world. Cowboy coffee is created by heating course grounds in a pot with water and then pouring the coffee into a cup after the grounds have settled. Cowboy coffee is essentially French press coffee without a filter.

Cowboy coffee serves a variety of purposes and situations, from backwoods camping to trying something new with friends. It can be tempting to think of cowboy coffee as a last-resort type of method, but if done well, the results are surprisingly gourmet. Cowboy coffee is bold and flavorful.

Cowboy coffee has a long and storied history in America, from cowboys on the trail, to campers in the wild, to friends in a living room. While it certainly isn’t the most common way to brew coffee, it is nonetheless a celebrated part of coffee’s history. If you haven’t already, give it a try sometime—you’ll be surprised by the results!