1. Use medium grind coffee. While you can use any grind, medium gives the best results. Coarse grind requires longer steeping time with the resultant loss of heat.
2. Use boiling water. When boiling water is added to ground coffee, the temperature instantly drops below the maximum recommended contact temperature of 205 deg.
3. With a fixed grind and water temperature, the only other variables are the water/coffee ratio, and steeping time. Using the SCAA brewing chart, the optimum ratio is about 9 ounces of boiling water for ½ ounce of ground coffee. This will give 8 ounces of coffee in your cup, 1-ounce water being retained in the grounds. From the SCAA brewing chart, we see that, as steeping time is increased, the coffee will go from weak, to optimum, to strong and bitter. To start, try 3 minutes steeping before pulling the plug. After pulling the plug, it takes about 30 seconds for the coffee to drain through the grounds and into your cup. To experiment, change only one variable at a time, such as varying the steeping time while keeping the water/coffee ratio constant.
4. Any paper 8-12 cup basket filter, bleached or unbleached is OK, as chlorine no longer used for bleaching. Try different brands to see which one works best for you. Melitta is OK.
5. For hotter coffee, you can preheat the brewer and your coffee cup with boiling water. To reduce heat loss during brewing, you can cut 2 ½” off the top of an old sock, and slip it around the brewer. Also, you can cut a notch in a 6” deli cap and use it for a lid.
6. Lost the plug? No problem. Just brew the coffee in your coffee cup, and then pour it into the Cowboy Joe. Or, use espresso grind without the plug. Brew time will be just about right.
7. Here is a method to weigh coffee if you don't have a scale: You have available at home an exact enough set of weights: penny = 2.50 grams, nickel = 5.00 grams, dime = 2.27 grams, quarter = 5.67 grams. Get a thin wood strip - a ruler will do, but longer is better. The strip shown below is 18” long, 7/8” wide, and 1/4” thick. Mark the exact middle of the strip, and mark an "X" one inch from each end. Put a pencil on a table, and place the strip on the pencil exactly at the mid point of the strip. It will then be like a seesaw, but probably will not balance perfectly. Place a small plastic cup, with its center over the "X" at one end. Naturally, that end will go down, as there is nothing to counterbalance it. Place a small item, such as an eraser, on the other side of the strip, to exactly counter balance the empty cup. The picture below shows the procedure at this stage. Place three nickels on the "X" at the other end. Carefully add ground coffee to the cup till the strip balances. You will then have 15 grams or 0.53 ounces in the plastic cup. This is a good starting point. Using different combinations of coins, almost any weight is possible. Remember, one ounce = 28.4 grams. For example: 2 nickels and a penny weighs 12.5 grams = 0.44 ounces. Once you go through this procedure, you can calibrate your coffee scoop, so with a given grind and roast, you don’t have to do the weighing again. Of course a scale is easier, if you have one. Use the coins to check its accuracy.
Cowboy Joe® Coffee Brewer Instructions:
1. Clean the brewer thoroughly.
2. Insert the plug firmly into the drain hole, and twist the handle. You will feel the plug gripping the tapered drain hole. Push the handle of the plug over so that it touches the top rim of the brewer.
3. Place a paper 8-12 cup basket filter in the brewer.
4. Set brewer on top of your coffee cup. The top of the cup should fit between the rings on bottom of the brewer. Larger cups may be ok, but smaller cups will be unstable.
5. Add your usual amount of regular grind coffee. The suggested amount is 1⁄2 ounce ground coffee per 9 ounces boiling water.
6. Add boiling water to about 3/8” below top edge of brewer. About 9 ounces of boiling water will give you 8 ounces of coffee in your cup. Be careful to pour the boiling water into the center of the brewer, so that the filter will not be disturbed.
7. Stir thoroughly, so that all the grounds are in contact with the water.
8. After 3-4 minutes, firmly grip the handle of the brewer, twist the plug, and remove it. The coffee will then drain into your cup. After it has drained from the grounds, using the handle, tilt the brewer slightly toward the drain hole to drain the last drops of coffee remaining in the bottom of the brewer.
9. Dispose of the filter and grounds, or use for compost.
10. You can clean the brewer in the top rack of a dishwasher.