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Cowboy coffee. That's what you are looking at here, with a MyNorth logo formed into the surface, of course.
Why is this important? Because cowboy coffee is your ticket to completely bonafide excellent java out on the trail. This photo was taken deep in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, miles from any road, and a few minutes later, we shared barista-grade flavor from our thermal cups.
So here's how it works. All you do is heat up a pot of water to just below boiling -- look for the little bubbles in the bottom of the pot. Then turn off the heat and spoon in one big tablespoon of ground coffee per cup -- just drop it onto the top of the water. In this batch, we put in 12 tablespoons.
After the coffee is all in, take your spoon in hand and push the grounds into the water (they tend to pile on top of the water and float there in clumps if you don't push them under). After a few minutes, maybe 5 or so, take the spoon again and very gently push the thin layer of grounds that's floating on top of the water to below the surface. (Note: you don't push them far under, just (gently) barely below the surface. That is what you are looking at in this photo--the MyNorth logo is where I pushed the dark grounds under the surface of the water. I continued after the photo was taken, pushing all the grounds under until I saw no grounds floating there and instead was looking at a full pot of that beautiful mocha-brown foamy goodness. The gentle pushing under of the grounds sounds tedious, but it goes fast.
Then, gently again, pour the coffee into cups.
It works, which shouldn't be a surprise, since cowboys mastered this a long time ago, but it seems surprising to us (well, to me anyway) in the 21st century, since we often have so much gear associated with our coffee making.
Anyway, there ya go. Make some cowboy coffee. It is so worth the little bit of effort sipping a rich and tasty gourmet brew on a chill morning in the great outdoors.
(Keep it all north by choosing coffee roasted up this way. Deep Blue Coffee Company and Higher Grounds are both outstanding and available in the MyNorth store shopmynorth.com.)
—Jeff Smith is editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine