Cowboy Coffee thoughts

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On my last trip to Maine, I only brought a Literbug Stove (twig stove) and my little stainless steel 3 cup pot with two aluminium bowls nested inside with a cut down fork, spoon and a pot clamp also inside.

I boiled unfiltered lake water, about 2 1/2 cups over the twig stove in the morning and at lunch and dumped in some coffee grounds, I did it by eye, no measurements. I let the water boil for a few seconds with the grounds in and then removed it from the heat, covered it to keep it hot and ate my cold cereal.

That stuff was damn good! The grounds settled to the bottom and I enjoy every last bit of coffee without any black spots between my teeth all day. I even shared a cup with some fellow trippers and they liked it....It was cold in the morning and maybe that made it taste better, but I did enjoy my "cowboy coffee" this trip and I plan on it from now on.

BTW, I tried removing the pot from the heat and dumping the coffee in, it didn't work. It has to boil for a few seconds I guess.
 
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I think it will taste even better if you have the coffee a little under boiling (about 170 F).. perhaps let it cool a little
 
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I think that short boil does something to settle the coffee grounds to the bottom after resting 5 mins., but I will try your idea and see what happens. I probably should measure the amount of coffee going in to see what tests best but on cold wet mornings I get impatient for my coffee, anything will do:(
 
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Robin, Something you might try is to get a little coffee ground to just about dust consistency and use that. That's what I've settled on for my coffee, camping and here at home. I find it will make up into coffee very readily and the "grounds" settle in the bottom of the pot or cup and can be avoided easily. You need to be not too greedy for the very last drop!
I agree with Yellow Canoe, most times when my coffee was bitter was when I burnt the coffee grounds with too much heat, my grind being so fine is quick to take on the water and give up to coffee.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Can you all help me with this. I've heard of cowboy coffee, but have never tried it. Do you need coarse grind coffee? Do you add the grounds when the water comes to a boil, or let it cool off a bit? I've read (somewhere) that a trick is to add a touch of cold water (?) to help the grounds sink. Is that just malarkey? Making coffee this way sure sounds quick and easy. I love coffee really strong, this might be the ticket!
Thanks
Brad
 
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Brad, You might want to check out "cowboy" coffee on wikipedia, they've got a pretty good write up.

What I do is boil the water, remove from heat, spoon in the right amount of very finely ground coffee, stir same into the water. It might take two or three minutes to give up floating and sink down. If it's handy I'll replace the pot on heat just under boiling, (usually I'm doing other things as well as making coffee.) If I can keep the heat down is seems that a short or long time in the pot doesn't matter much, I will give it a stir or two just to be sure that all the coffee had a chance to go to the water.
I did try a coarse grind just to see how that would work, to me it seemed that it took longer for the coffee to become soaked and be willing to sink. Also I got the occasional bit between my teeth, mattered less than a flea's fart.
With my fine grind the coffee will appear not clear brown water but more cloudy. But along with that I get all the rich coffee taste. If or perhaps when you get into the "sludge" at the bottom it will be a very fine gritty consistency. Reminds me of those cheap chocolate bars that were found in the old c-rats.
When I pack to go camping I pack the ground coffee down well, being fine it packs closely and there is no wasted space.
Really, after all the dusts settles it's kind of like making soup; pretty hard to screw it up.
Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Thanks OldieM, using a finer ground does make sense I guess. I’ll try it at home this weekend. I’ve been experimenting with my recent purchase of a percolator. It’s been hit and miss. Cowboy coffee could lighten my gadget load for canoe trips, as I could leave behind my French press or percolator. I used to love watching old westerns, where the cook kept a pot of coffee on the simmer over a fire day and night. I also imagined how good the simmering pot of stew (or beans or whatever) would be over the fire, next to the chuck wagon. Creative simplicity. I like it.
Take care,
Brad
 
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As far as the coffee I can use, I'm pretty much stuck with whats on sale at the grocery store where my wife shops, and after years on the road where my choice of coffee stops had more to do with ample parking and not taste, I have gotten used to all sorts of different blends and taste's, (except flavored, can't even stand the smell), so getting used to my trial and error's of Cowboy Coffee is pretty easy.
But again, I had better luck with the grounds sinking if I threw them in while the water was boiling and then quickly removed the pot, covered it and waited the longest coldest 5 minutes I can remember.
 
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I carry a little screen with a handle for pouring the coffee. It is especially useful for when I reheat the coffee and the grounds have moved around again. Some of my tripping partners put a little dried egg in a bowl with the grounds and add enough water to moisten. Now you have Swedish coffee and the egg also clots all the grounds.
 
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Yellow canoe is correct, if the water is not boiling the coffee does taste better. So, assuming I have taken water straight from the bank I boil it to a good rolling boil, then let it cool a bit, not to long, then ad my grounds. After a few minutes, I add cool water from my already filtered Nalgene bottle to settle the grounds. The coffee really is excellent. I also use a strainer like Marten to ensure I get every drop of that black gold with out having grits in my teeth.

Robin mentioned " waiting the longest 5 minutes of your life" for the coffee to steep. Well, I could not agree more. That is why I have settled for ( gasp ) instant coffee now. I use Nescafé Clasico. I find it is the closest to real coffe taste of any instant I have ever tried ... I heat water to boil, put the grounds in my cup, add water and I have coffee. This is a sacrifice I have grown to accept, it is faster with less clean up as I have no grounds to deal with.

Bob.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Since the stated topic is "thoughts" about cowboy coffee, here is the thought that springs to my naive mind as one who doesn't drink coffee: The only reason cowboys made cowboy coffee is because no one had yet invented coffee bags or instant coffee.
 
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Robin, in regards to that five minute wait, if you have used a fine grind I would sample a little after a few minutes. The screen would be helpful as the grounds are still floating.
 
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thoughts.. I am not about to carry a coffee pot. I used to. Those little glass plugs kept escaping. Folgers has now got a rival to Starbucks VIA and its a lot cheaper. For an upcoming 19 day trip I was faced with 38 dollars of VIA..cut that in half with Folgers. Its not instant per se..no lousy taste.
 
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Does no-one use a French Press? I have a plastic one, makes about three good cups of coffee, very fast, and very tasty. The link is not the same model as mine, but similar. Mine was about 20 bucks, has lasted ten years.
http://www.bonton.com/shop/brands/b...-plastic-french-press-coffeemaker_548192.html

Interesting to read to read the differing strategies.
Since our canoe is already 80lbs I figured a Frieling press wouldn't make much difference. It's an insulated SS tank that I will take when camping out of a vehicle and now the canoe: http://frieling.com/products/coffee-and-tea-essentials/

It's often the case that I brew it cowboy style though. Boil water, remove from heat, add grounds, cover, wait. Beans ground prior in a 100+ yr old grinder that creates a nice aggregate. Coffee is pretty much the only food item I'll make a fuss about and we're lucky enough to have 2 great roasters close by, I will not run on dunkin. I carry my Peak 1 or Optimus 111, pots and a supply of coffee grounds in my truck, there is a lot of bad coffee out there, I find it best to be prepared:)
 
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I use my GSI 12 cup perc for more than 2 people. For solo or tandem I use my GSI 10 cup. I really like my coffee and have done the Coleman drip, French press, bodum, tea ball, mugmate (MSR), and cowboy style, but keep going back to the perculator for anything less than 15-20 people. I generally use a mix of Tim Hortons coarse, and Maxwell house all purpose grind. If you want it mild perc it for 5 minutes, if you want it strong perc it for 10. I keep my grounds right inside the pot when I'm tripping so it's not wasted space, and there's no chance of the bag splitting.
I must be doing something right because I usually get the first cup and when I go back for a second it's all gone! :(
 
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I'll run FROM Dunkin" aagh. Can we move on to coffee reviews?

http://mainemorning.org/

Gene have you tried this?

I have not seen that outfit, good stuff? Linked are my go to guy/girls, know them both. Dave at Bucklyn is a man obsessed with roasting and brewing perfect coffee, M&M as the 44 N women are known roast a variety of great beans in a slightly more balanced fashion. I'm currently running on a 75/25 mix of blood/44N Sumatra
http://bucklyncoffee.com/
http://44northcoffee.com/
 
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