How To Make Coffee on The Santa Fe Trail in 1843

Description: The Santa Fe Trail Lives On! During the Bicentennial Symposium Living History Encampment at Bents Old Fort Reenactors Show SECO News How To Make Coffee in 1843.

Published: 09/28/2021
Byline: Hart

How To Make Coffee on The Santa Fe Trail in 1843

The Santa Fe Trail Association Bent's Fort Chapter Hosted the Trail's Bicentennial Symposium, celebrating 200 years of commerce, trade and cultural connections on the Santa Fe Trail. A Living History Encampment with sixty reenactors occupied Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site from September 22-26, 2021. 

Coffee has been popular among travelers for hundreds of years. Preparation of the caffeinated drink has evolved with society. It required a different method of preparation on the Santa Fe Trail during it's peak. As American Settlers, Traders, and Travelers left from St. Louis Missouri they knew they'd need some comforts of home on the trail. Coffee moved west along America's road of commerce. It was actively traded and used to build cultural connections along the Santa Fe Trail.

How To Make Coffee on The Santa Fe Trail

Raw, unroasted coffee beans would have been purchased in Missouri and brought over 800 miles down the Santa Fe Trail. They would be a valuable commodity for trade along the trail. The coffee would keep longer unroasted and be less likely to mold in a raw state.

How to Make Coffee on the Santa Fe Trail SECO News

These aren't the beans you'd find roasting on the scene of an old west film. Besides hauling your coffee beans hundreds of miles by wagon or mule, the first part of preparing coffee in 1843 is actually roasting the coffee beans. So, you could say the process would start with making a fire pit, starting a fire, and heating a well seasoned pan.

How to make coffee on the Santa Fe Trail SECO News

Beans don't burn on the grill, but they sure will in the pan on a campfire, so they are well tended while they roast. After roasting, the Coffee Beans would be ground up and put in a pot of boiling water. This method of boiling would also ensure that the water made to use the coffee, most likely from the river, was clean enough to drink.

If they were lucky they would add a pinch of salt or even some sugar from their supplies to their coffee, which would undoubtedly be on the stout side.

It took a lot of work to make a cup of coffee on the Santa Fe Trail in 1843. Life was much more difficult then, but comforts on the road like coffee were something to sing about.

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