display | more...
I have no coffee maker yet I long for one. Instant coffee it just not good enough, despite it’s claim of a “new improved flavor”, meaning the instant is a poor second and they know it.

Yearning for brewed stuff I settle for “cowboy coffee”. The routine is this:

Assuming you are making this in a kitchen, take a pot and add some water (I make it about two cups). Add some coffee grounds. Not much, not a little, you’ll figure out your own magic combination eventually. Maybe three tablespoons to start off with. I add a pinch of salt to take away some of the bitterness. Bring the mixture to a boil, but watch it very carefully. If you boil it too much it will be bitter and strong, and if that is your bag fine, but most folks would be put off by the sludge factor.

Now, you can wait for the grounds to settle to the bottom and carefully pour it into your cup. Or, you can skim the coffee from the top with a big spoon. Or, you can pour it through a filter.

If you are camping (or a really destitute cowboy), you could boil this up in a tin can on your camp fire then strain it through your shirt and drink it out of your hat.

Cowboy coffee is a form of black art, and getting a good cup of coffee involves any number of chants, prayers, and even a dead chicken, or two.

That is to say, the most obvious feature of Cowboy Coffee is that it is made without a filter. There is no physical barrier between the coffee grounds and your coffee cup. The grounds are boiled while free-floating in the water.

The trick then becomes how to get the coffee away from the grounds. Here is where the black magic comes into play. Sometimes, if you say the right words, you get get the grounds to settle out on their own. You can skim off the top, and carefully avoid pouring off the bottom, and you will get a decent cup, with only a small puddle of grounds in the bottom of the mug.

Some people claim that you throw a raw egg into the mix. The egg binds the grounds as it cooks. I have even heard of using objects like rocks or pebbles to somehow scare the grounds out of suspension.

As I said, it is a black art. On the other hand, most campfire-style coffee pots have a sieve on the spout, which makes some of this moot.

Update - When I was talking about the eggs, I was thinking about an old recipe for coffee that I had seen a magazine once. I found the reference, in a 1971 advertising insert titled "Chuckwagon Cooking from Marlboro Country"

Campfire Coffee -- a dask of salt
   to make it mellow, an egg to make
   it clear.
Heat 2 qts. cold water in large pot.
Mix 1 cup ground coffee with 8 
tsps. egg* and 8 tsps. cold water;
add a dash of salt. Stir in coffee
mixture when the water boils.  Return 
to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat and pour in 1/4 cup
cold water; let stand 10 min.
Makes 8 mugs.
*Prepare egg by beating white and
yolk together; store in refrigerator.

"Cowboy Coffee" is the euphemism my family uses for the drink we make for young children who wish to drink some coffee just like the adults. Children are often pleased with the idea of drinking not just coffee, but cowboy coffee, and do not question the obviously different ingredients.

A child's "Cowboy Coffee" contains mostly just warm milk, generous amounts of table sugar, and just enough brewed coffee to give the drink a light coffee color.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.