Happy National Coffee Day!

September 29 has been widely celebrated as National Coffee Day in the United States.

The celebrations as we know them are owed in large part to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans, LA. The Museum began hosting an event for the Day, starting in the mid-2000’s. The event has been celebrated at similar times in other countries for several decades.

National Coffee Day should not be confused with International Coffee Day, which is celebrated on October 1 each year and is organized and promoted by the International Coffee Organization.

We don’t discriminate ’round these parts, we bust out the fine coffee mugs on both days.

The thing about coffee – why we love it so much

When it comes to coffee, many of us have a love-love relationship with it. steaming pot of coffee Meaning, even when it’s bad, it is still kind of good.  Of course we may prefer a good brew and blend but if all that is available is day-old mystery blend that’s been reheated from the campfire…well…

So what is it about coffee that we find so pleasing?  And when does it happen?  I can’t recall meeting any cowpoke  who adores coffee prior to around the age of 15.  There has been quite a bit of research done to ascertain exactly what the obsession is surrounding this brown liquid.

When most people are introduced to coffee, many often pleasant memories are produced.  The smell of coffee in the morning, during meals, as grandma chats with her friends playing cards.  The memory is different for everyone, but the concept is the same.  Distinct aromas accompanied with good feelings pave the way for the future coffee drinker cattle wrangler.

Often, when coffee is first actually consumed, it is loaded with cream and sugar to soften the bitterness flavor that comes from roasting the beans.  Even the most meticulous roast carries these bitter undertones.  As babies, we are biologically programmed to like ‘sweet’ flavors, in order to crave our mother’s milk.  Soon after, we begin to admire ‘salty’ flavors, as more foods are introduced into our diets (and beef jerky is a staple, afterall).  ‘Sour’ and ‘bitter’ are more of an acquired programming that takes place as our palates become more adventurous.  

A large part of drinking coffee isn’t only about the flavor, but how the olfactory system works in conjunction with taste buds.  As warm steam rises through the sinuses with each sip, a pleasurable response is produced in association with the smell.  

Regardless of why you drink coffee – be it for the flavor, the smell, or the caffeinated boost, know you are not alone in the coffee pleasure zone.  We tip our hats to you, coffee lover.

The Problem with Cowboy Rumchata

Every once in awhile, a cowboy is known to have a little nip in their coffee.  Of course, a straight shot of rum is one way to go, but if you feel like something with a little less venom than a rattlesnake bite, creamy Rumchata is a good option.

Your next question may be, “How exactly do I make Cowboy Rumchata with the supplies that I have in my chuck wagon?”  Well, there are options.  We have tried them out for you.  The good news is, that it can be done with some more-or-less ‘usual’ kitchen suspects.  However; a trip to the local General Store may be in order if you have a hankering for something more modern.

The first round included some key ingredients, that seemed to carry some essential qualities through the rest of the trials (more on that later).  These ingredients are:  

  • cinnamon sticks
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • vanilla extract
  • rice milk
  • white rum

cowboy rumchataThis version was created by heating one cup of rice milk in a saucepan on the stove along with one cinnamon stick.  The milk was brought just to a boil, and removed the heat.  We then added ⅓ of a cup sweetened condensed milk, and one teaspoon of vanilla.  Stir well.  Once the mixture has cooled a bit, add rum to taste.  1/2 of a cup seemed to be our sweet spot in giving a kick and not overpowering the other flavors, but more or less could be in order depending on the day.

melty sugarThe second version we decided to try some things that are a bit less hoity toity, and usually on hand.  Same process with a saucepan, only we used one cup of whole milk, and added ⅛ teaspoon of brown sugar.  Once the brown sugar dissolved, we added a teaspoon of vanilla and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon.  These ingredients were easy and on hand, however, even a small bit of rum overtook the entire flavor.  When added to coffee, this may be a good option if you choose to not add any rum at all in order for it to keep the smallest amount of flavor, but even so was very thin bodied.

sweet milky goodnessFor version three, we used 1 cup of whole milk on heat, and added ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk.  When warm and blended we added 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 3 dashes of cinnamon and ½ cup of rum.  Our thought was that the sweet milk would add the body that the previous version was lacking.  The mixture itself was more thick, however the cinnamon became a bit lumpy.  We were hopeful, for when added to coffee, the cinnamon did dissipate.  One sip and we were still hopeful.  For about 5 seconds.  While delightful and creamy at the start, the rum kick came on strong at the finish.  Maybe ok for another day, like if the knot in your lasso keeps falling out or you lose your cowboy hat in a strong wind gust, and you feel the need for some self inflicted punishment.  But not today.

no.Version four we determined was going to carry the flavor through to the end.  We went back to using the rice milk thinking that there may be some sort of binding agent for the sweetness achieved through the rice.  So, we heated one cup of rice milk and added ⅛ teaspoon of brown sugar for the sweetness.  When dissolved, we added 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 3 dashes of cinnamon.  The result?  A weird separated mixture of clear liquids and shades of brown.  We added rum and poured it in our coffee anyway, because we are not scared of anything.  It’s very safe to say those cups of coffee were not finished.  We do not recommend this method.  At all.

yummTake five.  Cowboy Rumchata Rodeo gold-big-ass-belt-buckle winner.  Start by heating ½ cup whole milk and ½ cup heavy cream along with 2 cinnamon sticks.  Just upon boil, move that shit from heat and add ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk, ahdn½ teaspoon vanilla.  When blened and cooooled, just put ¼ rum with ¾ of the stuff, adn it’s sooooo good.  if you think you can headle it topr wiiht whipped kreem and nutmeg.  Ohmygodyouguys.  You need to have this stuffed in yer cowboy coffee and poured inyour cofee hole rightnow.  

So do it.  Make a giant batch.  Make it yours.  Wrangle your own.

drink it up


Cowboy Coffee Is So Easy – a Caveman Can Do It

steaming pot of coffeeYou like the idea of living life without regret, and will do what it takes to do just that. You are not afraid to get your hands dirty and live without boundaries. Most importantly, you have a love for a good cup of coffee like no other. You, my friend, are a cowboy in the modern day. You want to wake up in the morning, or come home after a busy day and have a fantastic cup of coffee.

Do you wrangle cattle? Probably not. Does it matter? Nope. Cowboy coffee offers the kick you need along with the modern yet rustic lifestyle that you crave.

“But…it will be so hard to do!” Pffsht. No. Creating the perfect cup of Cowboy Coffee is actually so easy, a caveman can do it. Or modern man. Or modern woman. Or dog (if they had thumbs). You get the idea. It’s stupid simple, and will only take you a time or two to not only perfect, but to create the taste and strength that is perfect for you. Proceed accordingly:

Water. Great coffee starts with water. It doesn’t have to be great water, but the worse the water, the more coffee you will need to offset those unsavory watery-like-qualities. For the sake of this blog, we will assume that your water is average tap water. Use about 6 cups. Pour in pot. Place on stove. Turn on medium.

Coffee. After a few minutes, when the water is just over room temperature, add your ground Cowboy Coffee. Around ¼ of a cup works well for this amount of water – add more for stronger, less for weaker, but this will get you to the middle of the road.

Cowboy coffee potHeat. Leave the water and coffee on medium heat until it boils. The coffee grounds will sink to the bottom as the water warms. Once boiling, let it roll for around 5 minutes. We prefer the lid on the pot…it’s faster that way, and less water is lost to evaporation.

Serve. Pour gently into the tin cup or mug of your choice. You don’t have to be that gentle. Just don’t agitate the settled grounds into the water. Unless you like the grounds in your cup. Which is ok, too. The coffee will be a bit cloudy. This is completely normal and does not affect the overall flavor of the coffee. In fact, it has a certain richness that you will not find in filtered coffees.

That’s it. So easy. A caveman can do it.

Cowboy Coffee, Cowgirl Style

When icowgirl coffee girlst comes to coffee…or anything for that matter, why should boys have all the fun? They shouldn’t. Girls can have a piece of the java action, too. However, girls and boys are different – for reasons apart from the obvious boobs and butts.

When brewing a cup of coffee for the cowgirl in your life (I’m talking to you, cowboy – or cowgirl, we don’t judge) take some extra time and sweeten the gesture. There are a few things you can add to your Cowboy Coffee that add a little something-something for your special someone.

Cinnamon: add a sprinkle of cinnamon directly into your coffee and brew as usual. This will add a touch of sweet and let her know that everyday with her is just like Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa – no judging).

Nutmeg: Similar to cinnamon in its personality, but a bit more…nutty. The spicy sweetness of the nutmeg in coffee goes a long way, so a little dash will do ya.

-All of the extracts: Vanilla, almond, raspberry, amaretto…there is a virtual never ending list of extracts available. Depending on her taste, a few drops can add some extra flavor to her coffee. Mix them together in a freshly brewed cup for her own special blend.

Butter: Wait, what? Yes, butter. Add a hunk of butter into a steaming cup of Cowboy Coffee. The theory is that this buttery concoction will boost energy levels for the entire day.

Booze: While a shot in the cup may not be suitable for everyday (oh wait, for your cowgirl it is!), booze can be a great addition to a cup of joe. Rum, Irish liquor, schnapps, and many more can be added to your girls cup for a little kick.

Ice cream: What says love like ice cream? Nothing. Perfect for a hot summer day, turn your cowgirls cup into a dessert of creamy goodness. Any flavor will work, just brew as usual, scoop, and serve.

Maple syrup: We prefer the actual syrup, and not the processed kind, but whatever you choose, this addition gives your girl’s coffee a touch of maple sweetness. Pair it with some homemade waffles or biscuits and gravy it the morning. Don’t forget the bacon-if she doesn’t like bacon, she’s not a cowgirl and does not deserve maple syrup in her cup.

Cowgirl coffee does not need to be fancy or complicated. Just add little something extra to show her that you care. Or do it for yourself, cowgirls. You deserve it. Whatever the case, get up, make a cup of Cowboy Coffee, and get to savoring life, y’all.

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

You know it’s good when you have to chew.

The perfect cup of coffee.When it comes to the perfect cup of coffee, the school’s of thought are as varied as the number of buffalo chips on the prairie.   Some like a light roast, with mellow flavor and high acidity.  If you enjoy this type of brew, stop reading.  Now.  This is not for you.  If you like your java with a kick that gets you through to the middle of next week, you have found a safe place to land among your people.

The American west was dominated by cowboys.  Well, the livestock was, anyway.  On the plains where the cattle grazed, hardships were many, and luxuries were few (if at all).  A breed of man was initiated into what would be considered a modern day ‘rough-neck.’  Taking challenges head on (a bull by the horns, anyone?) and slowing down for nothing.  You get the idea.  These guys were tough as nails.

What do tough guys do to start their day?  First, they piss in the river and get a bucket of water (from upstream, of course).  Next, they throw a log on the smouldering fire, and fill a tin pot with the water.  They add a copious amount of coffee grounds with their hands.  The water is brought to a boil by the flames of the fire, and allowed to bubble for a few minutes.  A glorious pot of cowboy coffee has been brewed.  Cowboys would fill their cups and guzzle the brew, grounds and all.  That, is how to start the day with a perfect cup of coffee.

So we continue the tradition of the American cowboy.  Fill it, scoop it, heat it, drink it, chew it.

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.