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How to Brew the Perfect Pot of Campfire (Cowboy) Coffee

One of the best parts of camping is waking up with a freshly brewed cup of campfire coffee in your hand as you gaze out over your surroundings. Want to make a cup as good as the one you make at home? The secret to brewing a great pot of traditional campfire, or Cowboy, coffee is to bring the water to a good rolling boil before adding your coffee grounds, and then to sprinkle cold water in the pot after steeping so the grounds to sink to the bottom. It works! 

Makes one pot. 


  • Large pot or kettle
  • 2 Tbsps. finely ground coffee per 8 oz. of water
  • Water 


  1. Fill pot or kettle with water, calculating 8 ounces for every cup of coffee you want to make.
  2. Set the pot over the campfire and bring the water to a rolling boil.
  3. Remove pot from heat and allow water to sit for 30 seconds to a minute so the temperature reduces slight and is more ideal for steeping.
  4. Add two tablespoons of finely ground coffee for each 8 ounces of water in the pot.
  5. Stir the grounds into the water and let sit (still off the fire) for two minutes.
  6. Stir again and let it sit for another two minutes. 
  7. Sprinkle an additional 3 to 4 Tbsps. of cold water on the hot coffee. This helps any coffee grounds still floating on the top to settle to the bottom of the pot. 
  8. Carefully pour coffee into mugs, making sure the grounds remain near the bottom of the pot.


Brewing campfire coffee in a percolator or stovetop espresso coffee pot is another popular way of making an aromatic outdoor Cup of Joe if you have one at camp. To brew, add 1 to 2 Tbsps. of coarsely ground coffee for each 6 ounces of water in the pot. Place vessel over the fire. Remove from fire once you hear the percolating sound slow down and the coffee is a rich brown color. The longer you leave on the fire, the stronger the coffee.  

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

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