Cowboy Coffee | Cowboy Coffee in the Wild West
Cowboy Coffee in the Wild West has a certain lore to it: Images of conestoga wagon cookies brewing up a hot pot fireside, sheriffs having a second pot of coffee as they guard a wily prisoner long into the night, a farmer lingering over his cup of coffee in the Wild West before beginning his daily chores. If you want to enjoy coffee on the ranch in the Wild West without going back a couple hundred years, it's still possible.
Any camper can tell you what it's like to experience coffee in the Wild West, as pots of coffee are still made over the open fire, cookie style. The first real modern coffee in the Wild West was Folgers. It came out west with the gold prospectors in California. But it wasn't the only coffee in the Wild West for a time, there was also Arbuckles, which was destined to give Folgers a run for its money. They perfected a way to preserve beans using an egg and sugar wash so coffee in the Wild West (and on its way out west) wouldn't spoil.
But Arbuckles wasn't only innovative in preservation techniques, but advertising coffee in the Wild West as well. They used coupons and trading cards to promote their brand and the coupons could be redeemed for merchandise. If you wanted coffee in the Wild West, you had to work at it. That's because the coffee often had to be roasted first. Green beans would be roasted on an open skillet and then put into a bag and crushed, often using the handle of an axe or a wagon jack.
Then the ground beans were put in a coffee pot and placed on the fire. Once the coffee had boiled for a spell, it was time to enjoy a robust, satisfying cup of coffee in the Wild West. Coffee was a very important staple for pioneers, townspeople, ranchers and farmers alike.
It was in high demand and when on the trail, the camp cookie knew he'd better have several pots of coffee going at the same time as pioneers awoke from their wagons and looked for their morning fix of coffee in the Wild West. The trip was a hard one, and coffee was one of the few true luxuries pioneers could enjoy before traveling miles each day over the rugged terrain and unforgiving mountain passes.
Cowboy Coffee is still appreciated, though the conestoga wagons have given way to latte stands across the wide expanse of the once Wild West. Cowboy Coffee is as much a part of our history as gunfights at high noon and cowboys and gunslingers. How we prepare coffee today is much the same as the way our forefathers did it whenever they wanted a cup of coffee in the Wild West.
- Bill McClure