Cowboy Coffee at the Calgary Stampede
Perfect for camping, trail riding and off-the-grid adventuring, cowboy coffee is a tradition as old as the Wild West itself. All that’s needed is a pot, pan or tin can, a stovetop or open fire, fresh water and ground coffee. And in the spirit of industrious Canadian pioneers, the best cowboy coffee is of course made using your favourite Van Houtte blend.
Given that this month marks the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede – a.k.a. the home of Canada’s cowboys and girls, it came as quite a surprise to find not one single vendor on the sprawling Stampede grounds selling the age-old treat. Mini donuts, hot beef sundaes and deep-fried cheesecake, yes, cowboy coffee – nowhere to be seen.
After a little research, some field testing and an excellent caffeine buzz, I’ve taken it upon myself to teach you how to brew your own cowboy coffee. Because making a cup requires only the most basic equipment, it is very portable and very simple, and can essentially be made anywhere you can boil water.
The first step is to get your hands on a pot. An authentic tin can was the preferred tool for the cowboys on the range, but in this case, any pot or sauce pan will do.
Next, you’ll want to ensure you’re brewing a coffee with maximum flavour. This is the easy part, since you always have some ground Van Houtte coffee in your kitchen, perfectly paired to your taste after identifying your Coffee Profile , right?
Using a rough ratio of 2 cups water to ½ cup coffee, bring your water to a boil, and slowly add your fresh grounds, stirring gently until the water returns to a boil. Once it does, remove the mixture from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes to allow the grounds to settle. All that’s left to do from there is serve, sip and savour.
In my thorough research on the topic, I’ve also learned that some cowboys choose to throw in an orange peel or cinnamon stick for some added flavour. Consider this a perfect excuse to buy a bag of mini-donuts at the Stampede, especially if they’re well coated in sugar and cinnamon. Dunk ‘em in your cowboy coffee and enjoy!