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A hankering for ground-free coffee. PHOTO: RICK MATTHEWS/HELIPRESS.COM


[ Food ]


Cowboy Coffee T


BREW A GREAT POT WITHOUT EXTRA GEAR


hough rarely heralded for their cuisine, cowboys made one very impor- tant contribution to campfire cooking. There’s no better end to a hard day


of travelling—by horse or canoe—than with freshly brewed cowboy coffee. Of course, cowboys didn’t have fancy percolators or yuppie French press-


es, not even the ones with partners. All they needed for a strong brew was some water, some coffee and a pot. Not only does cowboy coffee free you from packing extra gear, it can also taste durn good. But you have to brew it right. Here’s how.


• Add medium ground coffee to cold water. Coarse grinds will work too, but don’t use fine grinds. The pot should be tall rather than squat.


• Use about one tablespoon of grinds per cup of water (cowboys weren’t conversant with the metric system). Add an extra spoonful if you’re making more than four cups.


• Gently bring to a rolling boil (if the brew boils violently the grounds will stick to the sides of the pot, and end up in your coffee). Reduce heat or move the pot so it simmers.


• After five minutes of simmering, remove from heat and add one table- spoon of cold water (the colder the better). The cold water makes the coffee grounds sink. You can also hit the side of the pot with a spoon, but this doesn’t work as well.


• A more exciting (read dangerous) technique is to tie a short rope to the bale of the pot and whirl the pot of boiling coffee like a windmill. If whirled smoothly, the centrifugal force will keep the coffee in the pot, even without a lid. Make sure the bale is securely attached and that your partners are out of the way. Finally, weigh the relative pros and cons of coffee with a few grounds in it versus second-degree burns.


• After a few dozen rotations, the grounds will have settled to the bot- tom, and you’ll need a cup of tea to settle your nerves. » MAX FINKELSTEIN


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