Cowboy Coffee: How it Began

How was the west won?  Chances are, it began early one morning – with a cup of coffee…Cowboy Coffee.

In order to understand cowboy coffee, one must go back to the 10th century and the legend of the goat herder who decided to boil coffee beans after he saw his goats get excited after eating some beans of the plant.  A tradition to cross all of the oceans was born.
Cowboy after coffee
Fast forward to the golden age of the cowboy, roughly 1866 – 1886.  At this time cattle herds ran on the prairie of the American West, and flourished.  The price of beef was high in the North and low in the West, creating the need to move large herds of cattle many miles.  Queue the American Cowboy.

The way of the west was rough and tumble, and every man for himself.  The law was simply another obstacle to avoid or deal with, and nature was often an unforgiving and fickle beast.  Cowboys would set out for weeks on end to drive cattle, and would deal with a huge range of difficulties, obstructions, and dangers on the American plains.

One of the many traditions of the cowboy was a hot cup of coffee.  On longer drives, a cook may even be along with a chuck wagon in tow to provide simple and rustic meals for this tough breed.  However, many a cowboy would fend for himself, including the ever important cup of Joe.

A metal can or kettle would be placed over a hot campfire and filled with water from a clean running stream.  “Just a bit too many” coffee grounds would be dumped directly into the water and allowed to boil “just a bit too long” in order to achieve the perfect steaming cup of caffeinated goodness.

Fueled up and ready to ride, the American Cowboy was ready to face his day, whatever it would bring.  While today’s Urban Cowboy faces different challenges, one thing is the same…the day begins with a great cup of Cowboy Coffee.