How to Make Cowboy Coffee While Camping

Enjoy any old western film and you are likely to see a weathered looking camp boss going over plans with some cowhands huddled around a wagon.

As the discussion finishes up, the boss looks off into the sunrise, takes a last swig of his tin cup, and, in one swing of the arm, clears the last staying drops of his morning treat; coffee.

If you are among the millions of Americans that start their day with a steaming cup of liquid paradise, you may have wondered at some point how these old trail cowboys used to make coffee on the path. Coffee was in reality a staple of the cowboy diet plan, along with a staple at almost all outdoorsman camps of hunters, mountain guys, and trappers in the past.

The coffee the old timers drank has actually earned the label “cowboy coffee” and finding out ways to make cowboy coffee has to do with as basic as it gets.

When I say cowboy coffee, what comes to mind though? A campfire? A blue and also white-speckled kettle? A harsh, sludgy cup of joe? Whatever you consider cowboy coffee, it most likely isn’t really favorable among coffee specialist. Yet nonetheless cowboy coffee has a great deal of fans.

image showing cowboy coffee after it has been finished made

Cowboy coffee isn’t truly a camping recipe, it’s more of a technique of making coffee that was popular with cowboys on the trail. It is essentially boiling coffee grounds over a campfire. In time, cowboy coffee has actually become mainstream with campers in the wilderness to the point where the name “camp coffee” refers to “cowboy coffee”.

Like most country recipes, born in the wild away from the internet, there are a ton of different “best methods.”

If you can recall arguments between your mother and aunt over how much sugar should go in the key lime pie, then you have an idea of how difficult it can be to find the right cowboy coffee recipe.

Despite this confusion, there are two recipes that stick out from the rest. Instead of just one, I am going to show you these two recipes and let you decide for yourself which is right for you.

Eggshell Method


  1. 4 Cups of Cold Water to Boil
  2. 1/2 Cup of Coffee Grounds
  3. Egg Shell


  1. Bring some water to a boil over the camp fire
  2. Mix your favorite coffee ground with the eggshells
  3. Toss the mixture into the pot
  4. Stir gently
  5. After 5 more minutes you can begin pouring your coffee

Stirring Method

Ingredients for Cowboy Coffee

  1. 8 Cups of Cold Water to Boil
  2. 1/2 Cup of Coffee Grounds
  3. Salt/Sugar optional

Here’s how to make the perfect Cowboy Coffee

  1. Bring some water to a boil over the camp fire
  2. Remove the pot lid and allow it to cool for 30 seconds
  3. Add 2 tps of your favorite coffee ground for every 8 ounces of water.
  4. Give it a gently stir
  5. Let it cool for 2 more minutes
  6.  Stir again then let it sit for another 2 minutes
  7. The coffee is now complete and you can begin pouring out your coffee