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Coffee and other beverages


Campfire coffee

Perhaps one of the most abused item around a campfire is coffee,  Some of it that has been offered to me is really bad.  Good coffee is not that hard, although in this era where almost everyone uses a drip machine at home, it takes some learning.  For campfire use, one sees both the percolator pot and the ones most commonly called a boiler. 

Now some do like perked coffee, if you don’t that’s fine, but  most like drip coffee better and it is not hard to make coffee as good as a drip machine in a so called boiler, I do it all the time and I get a lot of praise for my coffee.

The first item to making good coffee is to start with good ground coffee.  I’ll do a topic in the future on coffee and it’s beans with the common types in The Old West, but for now we’ll just assume you have a favorite bean and know where to get it.

This coffee needs to be ground fairly coarse, if you don’t have an old type hand cranked grinder, just grind it where you buy it using their grinder set coarse.

I have a cast iron one and here is my helper Rick grinding coffee, this was in the morning before the tourists showed up, so pardon the bag, although it was common to buy it bulk in a plain paper bag.

One can also grind it in a cloth using the back of an axe, hammer or other such thing, lots was done with a gun butt.

When you are ready, fill the pot with clean water, put it on the fire and boil the water,

Often I use a trivet and a dutch oven that’s already going for this:

When the water has boiled, remove it from the fire, let the water cool slightly below boiling and add the coffee.  By not letting the coffee boil, less tannic acid is released to make the coffee bitter.  That is the secret to drip machines and taste, the water is slightly below boiling.

After the coffee has steeped for about 10 minutes, tap the side of the pot to settle the grounds and pour; you’ll get very few grounds in the pot. 

To keep the coffee warm, keep it near the fire, but do not let it get hot enough to boil. 

If one wants, buy some cheap un-bleached muslin, wash it, cut it into squares and tie your coffee up in that with cotton string and use as a tea bag.  One must leave room of course for the coffee to expand.  This method is often seen in cookbooks from the period.

Either method will keep you from having to toss in salt, fish skins, eggs or any of the many strange methods I’ve heard of to settle the grounds, none which would improve the taste of the coffee.

Turkish Coffee

As many know, I love espressos,  the problem is, they ain’t correct in the 19th Century,  so when I want a good strong cup, I go to an older form, commonly called Turkish Coffee although it is popular all through the Middle East and southern Europe.  In fact this is one of the oldest ways to serve coffee. 

To make this, one needs and ibrik (Know by other names in languages other than Turkish.)  a teaspoon  and demitasse cups.  Also one will need coffee ground as fine as flour, I prefer a real dark roast, but any roast is fine, also some sugar, I prefer brown sugar and if desired cardamom.

The ibrk looks like this and is most often made out of copper with a tin lining:


The one I have is a 12 oz, this is important to know, because it needs filled to the neck, so mine will make 3-4 cups.

Add one to two heaping teaspoons of sugar for each 3-4 ozs,  fill just to the neck with clean cold water, add  1-2 heaping teaspoons of the powdered coffee for each cup and a pinch or two of  ground cardamom  if desired., do not stir

Put the ibrik on a heat source and slowly bring it up to a boil, it will foam as it boils.  Remove from heat for a couple minutes, bring to a foamy boil again, remove from heat and do the same a third time.  During the brewing, never stir it.

Pour with foam into demitasse cups and serve.  One does not want to stir in the cup either,what you do is just drink down to the sludge.

From Mogorilla:
Turks have a saying
"Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love" 


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