Start your day and indulge at night with a full-immersion “cowboy coffee.” The beautify of this recipe is the ability to stretch the pot of coffee twice as long as most other brew methods. When you have served it all, pour new water on the saturated grounds and keep it going - less strong the second go-around, but just as delicious.
This is a great recipe for fall and winter, and for big groups. For couples and smaller parties, just half the original recipe, or for larger parties, double or triple. Grinds your ingredients at home, make sure to have a knife handy to split the vanilla bean, and this morning cup won’t disappoint.
Found in latitudes among northern forests, one can find on birch trees the chaga mushroom, Inonotus obliquus. Although it’s a fungus, and doesn’t seem to make sense in coffee, the medicinal mushroom - when dried and steeped as a tea - has a sweet, earthy flavor. It’s subtle, and often tasteless to many people, but worth more than its weight in health benefits. Consider its adaptogenic properties (ability to adapt to stress) and know that a little goes a long way.
Attribute the nibs to a “cacao ceremony” I once attended, wherein a man in the town of Guatemala’s lakeside San Marcos provided a group of people cups of chocolate-cayenne water and let the stimulant take its course. We learned that there is no caffeine in cacao, but rather theobromine (much like caffeine’s sister alkaloid chemical). It is more mild on the nervous system than caffeine, and dilates blood vessels acting as a heart stimulant. In this recipe, we’re taking advantage of the health benefits and bitter cocoa flavor these nibs have to offer.
8 tbsp. coffee (grind fine for pourover or drip, approximately 100g)
2 tbsp. partially shelled cacao nibs (grind coarse with coffee, approximately 60g)
2 tbsp. chaga mushroom (grind coarse)
1 split vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick (roughly 2-3 inches)
Maple syrup or raw honey to taste (optional)
Boil water in separate kettle. While water is boiling, prepare the coffee. In an 8-cup kettle, pour in the coffee and chaga grounds, cacao nibs, vanilla bean halves, and cinnamon stick (break roughly in hands). When water comes to a boil, pour into kettle - filling about halfway up (approximately 3 cups). Steep for two minutes and stir. Pour in the rest of the boiling water, filling the kettle to the bottom of the spout (total water 6 cups). Stir and let steep for 5 minutes. Quickly splash the coffee with cold water to drop the grinds and serve immediately. If sweetener is desired, add maple syrup or raw honey to taste - but the spices and cacao provide a naturally sweet flavor palette on their own. Pours (slowly) 4-6 cups of coffee. Good until the second-to-last-drop!
Chris Battaglia is a passionate canoer, explorer, artist, chef, and GSI Outdoors ambassador. He spent six weeks paddling from St. Louis to New Orleans on an expedition filled with cooking, stay tuned for more of Chris' recipes from his adventures. For more camp cookery exploration recipes, and good times, follow Chris on instagram at @chris___battaglia and online at villagevitals.com