How to Make Campfire Coffee




About: it's kinda odd because i grew up thinking that i was pretty extraordinary, however aside from a little craziness I'm actually a very normal guy. this is a good thing, i think...

This story begins, your in your apartment/house/campsite, and for whatever reason you don't have a coffee maker. maybe your house sitting for the strangest people on earth, maybe it's too cold or snowy to go get one, but for Pete's sake you need a fix! but all you have are three things, water, coffee grounds, and a pot. but you refuse to go any further, you want coffee, not coffee grounds with a side of water! so you wait.

it feels like days have passed and whatever kept you home has not released it's grip, you look at your watch and gasp in horror as it's only been an hour. You just can't stand it anymore, so you come to a compromise, "I want coffee, I can stand a few floating grounds but I don't want coffee mud!" so your scour the internet on ways to do this. you remember your friend once telling you about this great site called "" you search the site and low and behold you found it, the technique for getting most of the grounds out of your coffee! hooray!

so let's get started.

Step 1: Gathering Your Supplies

This requires a few things: water coldest possible, coffee grounds, and a pot, glasses or coffee mugs are optional but they make this way easier.

You can use a campfire, but that would require the great out doors which i seem to be lacking so we'll use a stove for this one.

Step 2: Boiling the Water.

Okay, now we need to boil the water, I don't know about you but I know my brother would have a hard time with this step so I'll walk you through the paces, just to make sure you get them.

First, you take the pot, and set it down on the burner, this one's electric so you don't have to worry about making sure it's lit.

Next you take the water and pour it in the pot, real simple, don't worry about spillage you can clean it up later.

Then you turn this little knob thingy with the runes all around it to the right, this will turn the burner on.

Wait for it to boil and then move on to the next step. don't forget to turn the runic knob back to it's original position.

Step 3: Making the Coffee

Here's the hardest part of this instructable, and you can go about it two ways, when the water boils in the pot you want to turn it off. Now once it stops bubbling you can go about this two ways.

one: you could pour the water into a waiting cup filled with about a spoonful of coffee grounds.
two: you could just wait for it to stop bubbling and pour the coffee grounds right into the pot of water.

Wallah, the coffee is made and anybody who drinks regularly is cringing because we've all been in this scenario, you have coffee mud, coffee with the grounds, quite possibly the worst thing you could ever find swimming in your mouth.

what to do.

Step 4: Seperating the Coffee.

This is the easy part, separating most of the coffee grounds from the coffee. in a perfect world the result of this step would be one hundred percent separation of coffee and grounds leading to a rich cup of Joe. Aint gonna happen!

First off there will be foam on top of the newly brewed ruin coffee, this will hold on to some coffee grounds, unless you want to spend a few minutes taking those out it's normally best just to ignore it, grit your teeth and bear with it.

Disclaimer aside all that you have to do now is pour the cold water into the coffee.

That's it.

If you take a close look you can see all the little buggers sinking down to the bottom leaving nice drinkable coffee for you to pour out into your favorite coffee mug.

don't pour it all out or you'll be ruining the point of this whole ordeal.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Now that you have a nice cup of Joe in your hands please sit down to a nice story.

I learned about this from my father, he learned this at a christian youth conference in a small town in upstate new york called Paduca i believe (pa-duke-ah) while my sister was sleeping sound, him and a few other fathers were at a local campground, well, camping.

Now my dad drinks coffee every day, he has a coffee thermos that he brings with him to work, he hauls propane, so he wakes up to coffee and he goes to sleep to coffee, not so much anymore but that's a different story. so it's the wee hours of the day, probably about 3, 4, or 5 o'clock depending on when you ask him this story, and he wants coffee.

So using the remnants of a nice fire, a pot, a filter, and a coffee mug he's trying to make some sketchy coffee, And he's failing. Miserably. Suddenly, because if you've ever been to upstate new york you know this is possible, somebody walks out of the woods, and asks him "is that coffee I smell?".

Normally it'd be time for a 'class A' freak out, but he calmly replies "yeah, but you know," he says that a lot "i just can't seem to get the coffee out of the coffee grounds." so this guy, who he doesn't even know, hadn't seen him at the rally, says "tell you what, if you pour me a cup I'll teach you a neat trick to do this." he says this as he whips out his own coffee mug, in upstate newyork everyone has one. So the coffee grounds are in the pot, with the water, and my dad's laughing because he knows it's a lost cause.

The stranger then pours into the pot some cold water, to my dad's amazement all the coffee grounds sunk to the bottom, allowing him to simply pour out his and the strangers cup of coffee. the stranger then leaves and says "good coffee" disappearing into the woods.

so my dad drinks his coffee then grabs his flashlight and goes looking for the guy. he searches the entire campground from east to west until the sun comes up and does not see this man ever again. to this day he's convinced he's seen an angel.

by the way this works for tea also!



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    12 Discussions


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    well when my dad learned this process he was percolator-less and he really needed some coffee.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    in our 5 years of Civil War/War Between the States Reenacting, we learned to make cowboy coffee...take a coffee pot, no wasn't authentic to the period, put lots of coffee grounds in the bottom of the pot (about 1 cup for strong coffee) in a 10 cup pot. Let this come to a boil, having started with cold water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Let coffee sit for 5 minutes before pouring. Pour slowly so to leave the grounds in the bottom of the pot. Flavor as you like...

    We make cowboy cappuccino at home by adding ice cream at the bottom of the cup & pour hot strong coffee over it making foam for a delicious treat!


    For "real" campfire coffee, the Boy Scout way- you need eggshells! Put them in the pot when boiling, makes grounds stay at bottom. (For "real" - non-filtered campfire coffee...


    7 years ago on Introduction

    To make the grounds sink to the bottom and improve the overall flavor (this part might be psychological) put some crushed eggshells into the pot. That's how they did it in the ye olden times.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I know this great coffee scientist in Reno who took me under his wing and taught me how to use a French Press using his his great roast and ground coffee blending the best beans from growers over the world to make exceptional cup of Joe. In return I engineered his automation electronic controls. Now I need less equipment when we go land sailing. Carl's coffee tastes better then the aroma which is dlvine.

    Thanks, Alex...

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    a french press, isn't that like a piston type deal that has a filter on the bottom? pushing the piston makes the coffee go straight to the cup? i'll have to look that up, thankyou alex.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    is it true you can vary the strength by how hard you press? or does this have to do with how bitter or smooth it is.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    this is funny cus when my mother worked as the cook at the birch creek ranch and the hole in the wall, down in the owyhee river canyon in ogregon, when they were still in operation, shed make coffee like this when they were driving cattle from one ranch to the other. i never got to have any cus, lol, i wasnt even thought of yet. but ive heard how its done and its exactly like you said here....but ive always heard of it as "cowboy" or "trail" coffee


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I wasn't 100% sure I understood the two-step process of hot water + grounds, and then pouring cold water again until I read your story. (Great story, btw!)

    For another coffee story... my cousin and his father had gone on a Boy Scout trip that lasted over a week, and they re-used the same grounds day after day during that trip. Tradition said they wouldn't part with the grounds until they'd become bleached and pale. (yeech)

    I think I'd like your coffee better. :)

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    it actually was great coffee, i don't think I've come to the point where i'd drink bleachy coffee, but maybe if i was stranded somewhere, thanks for the comment!