Whether they’re out on the open road or camping way off-grid, most overlanders find comfort in a good cup of coffee. But being away from modern conveniences doesn’t mean relying on sachets of the instant stuff. With a bag of high-quality beans, a simple kettle, clean water and a camp burner, any overlander can get their caffeine jolt by adapting the tried-and-true method of cowboy coffee.
So named for its roots as a humble beverage enjoyed around the campfire on long cattle drives, cowboy coffee still packs a welcome punch to this day. With the easy availability of exceptional coffee beans and precise hand grinders, many city-dwelling overlanders have put a high-end spin on cowboy coffee even when well off the beaten path or hours from the nearest coffeeshop.
Provided you use the best, freshest beans you can find, this virtually foolproof recipe will produce a rich, full cup.
- Add filtered water to your pot (we used a traditional Spanish enamelled kettle with a removable steeping basket from Madrid’s Réal Fabrica, but anything from a simple pot to an old-fashioned percolator works just as well).
- Using a camp burner or — if you’re looking for the real Cowboy Coffee experience — an open fire, bring the pot to a boil, then remove from the heat source and let rest for 30 seconds. (This should get the water temperature to the ideal brewing temperature of 200°F/93°C.)
- Add 2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee (we used a Colombian single-origin from Astro Café Roasters in A Coruña, Spain) for every 8 ounces / 227 grams of water and stir well. For best results, grind beans just before brewing.
- Let the coffee brew for two minutes, stir, and wait another two minutes.
- After the full four-minute brew, slowly pour some cold water into the spout of the kettle to help the grounds settle.
- Slowly pour the coffee to minimize grounds in your cup.
- Relax and enjoy your time in the great outdoors.