March 24, 2015

Cowboy-Style Coffee, Then and Now

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Nowadays, I can't go without coffee. If Doc tells me to give it up, I don't know what I'm going to do. Maybe go back to drinking tea. I used to drink tea, and was a reluctant convert to coffee because of convenience and socializing at various jobs. Never did give up coffee all the way, though.

Back in the days when cowboy drovers were moving cattle from Texas to Kansas (just after the Civil War until the mid-1880s, mainly), the chuck wagon cook needed coffee to help keep the crew moving and happy — or closer to it, in that dangerous, dirty work. The Arbuckle brothers came up with a new way of processing and sealing the coffee, and it was an instant hit in the West. Since there weren't no stove handy most of the time, cowboys had their methods to make it, and it's still popular for people who are camping and so on. Good thing cowboys like to eat eggs... Here's a recipe from Camping With Gus, and more recipe information from American Cowboy. Don't forget that pinch of salt.

I never did get around to having it that way.

A co-worker clued me in on a bargain at a place called "Ollie's Bargain Outlet", and I saw a brand I never heard of: Rio Grande Roasters, with the cowboy logo. I had a laugh at that. The write-up on the packaging was entertaining, too:
Rio Grande Roasters™ started with an attitude. A “roll up your sleeves, get the job done” passion and determination for creating coffee that honors the rugged independence of the American West. Sturdy brews that help you tackle whatever lies ahead, and consistent quality that never lets you down. Our 100% Arabica beans are freshly roasted in small batches with a bold Southwestern flair. From sunrise to sundown, a cup of Rio Grande Roasters™ coffee makes a great partner.
I got some small packages to try out, and I don't even have one of those newfangled coffee-making machines. They cost around $80 USD, so it may be a long spell before I get one, too. But they have the machines in the break room at the workplace, so I picked up a couple of small packages of the Rio Grande Roasters. 

The coffee was pretty good, so I took a chance on this monster:

Mesa Sunrise coffee from Rio Grande Roasters (made by the Trilliant company). Got myself an 80-pack on sale.

Yep, that's an 80-cup package. Since I spend over 40 hours a week at the workplace, and occasional overtime (some owlhoots lied and said that I get my greenbacks from my creation science ministry), I figued, "Why not?" They cost me 31 cents a serving, and I have ten months before the "use by" date on the package. Yes, my gamble paid off, I like the taste of the "Mesa Sunrise" coffe.

Betcha the Cartwrights woulda love to see the modern conveniences.

The makers of the coffee will probably never know about this article and indirect endorsement, but I had fun writing it and doing something completely different.


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