campfire coffee

Waking up in the woods after spending the previous day hiking and gallivanting through the wonders of nature is sure to leave you with a tired head and sore muscles. Such weariness demands a delicious cup of coffee, especially if you have another hike planned for the day and need a little boost finding the will to strap those boots on your aching feet.

Unfortunately, being in the woods and all, you like don’t have a Keurig or drip pot on hand. When it comes to brewing coffee in the woods, you’re going to have to it the old-fashioned way – over a wood fire. 

There are many methods and ways to brew yourself campfire coffee, although the majority of these methods require tools and machinery that most campers don’t have on hand, especially if you’re backpacking, in which case every ounce of weight in your pack must be an essential item. 

While a small French press is an option, this can be a pain if you’re making coffee for more than just yourself. Instant coffee is also an option, albeit a less-tasty, boring option.

The easiest and most exciting style of campfire coffee, known as Cowboy Coffee, requires nothing more than a small pot for water, fire, coffee, and a couple thermal cup tumblers to drink out of once finished. 

Cowboy Coffee: The Best Way to Make Campfire Coffee

Similar to a French Press, Cowboy Coffee makes use of a process called decoction. All this means is that coffee grounds are added directly into the boiling water while brewing, i.e., no filter. 

Step One: Build a Fire

A smart camper will gather enough wood the night before so they don’t have to the work in the morning while sleepy. Just make sure to bring a flashlight and watch out for animals at night!

Step Two: Purify Water

This is a crucial step. Unless you have a jug of water on you, you’ll need to purify water from a stream or river. There are a few ways you can go about this, the easiest being iodine tablets. 

Step Three: Boil Water

After you purify the water you use, simply place your pot containing the water directly onto the coals of the fire. Make sure your pot is fire-proof and won’t be damaged. A cast-iron pot works best.

Step Four: Add Coffee Grounds

Once your water reaches a boil, remove the pot from the fire and allow it to sit until the water stops boiling. After the water stops boiling, immediately add finely ground coffee to the water before it cools too much. You should add about a tablespoon for every 6 ounces of water in your pot. 

Step Five: Steep and Stir

Allow your campfire coffee grounds to steep in the pot for roughly five minutes. During the steeping process you should gently stir the grounds in intervals – stir for a minute, let it sit for two minutes, then stir for a minute, and let it sit again. 

Step Six: Add Cold Water to Separate the Grounds

After your campfire coffee has sufficiently steeped, sprinkle some cold water into the pot. This will cause the grounds to naturally sink to the bottom of the pot, avoiding overly gritty coffee.

Step Seven: Pour Finished Coffee into Thermal Cup

Once the grounds have settled to the bottom of the pot, gently pour the coffee into a thermal cup, using the stirring spoon to prevent as much grounds from escaping the pot as possible.

Step Eight: Clean up and Enjoy! 

Pro Tip: Use Eggshells to Decrease Acidity

Campfire coffee may be stronger than the coffee you drink at home. If you aren’t a fan of strong coffee and find it bitter, use the following hack to decrease the acidity.

Take a few cracked eggshells, leftover from your morning’s scrambled eggs, wash them and add them to the pot when you add your coffee ground. Keep the eggshells in the pot throughout the entire steeping process. 

Eggshells are naturally alkaline and will decrease the acidity of your campfire coffee, causing it to taste less bitter than it otherwise may have tasted.


Once you got your coffee loaded up into your temperature controlled thermal cup, it’s time to clean up your campsite and hit the ol’ dusty trail for a fun-filled day of hiking through nature’s wonders. Have fun!

August 28, 2017 by Arctica News Crew

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