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How to Make Cafe De Olla. Cinnamon Spiced Mexican Coffee!

Updated on October 21, 2008

Café de Olla (pot coffee)

End your next at-home Mexican meal with a surprise twist, a real (non alcoholic) Mexican Coffee.

A touch removed from your neighborhood barista's finicky brew, Mexican coffee is excellent with plain old drip coffee (it can even be made in advance) and arrives at the table pre sweetened and fragrant with cinnamon. It's different, it's easy, and it's good!

Mexican Coffee

  • 2 cups of water
  • The zest of 1 orange
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup pilloncillo* (or substitute 1 cup of dark brown sugar)
  • 1 big pot of strong coffee

*Pilloncillo is a minimally processed Mexican raw sugar, sold dark brown in cones. It has a unique and very sweet taste, and is worth searching out. It can be easily found in most any Mexican grocery. Dark brown sugar is a reasonable substitute.

To prepare cafe de olla...

  1. Before dinner, add the water, pilloncillo, orange zest and cinnamon to a saucepan and simmer until combined and reduced to about 1 third of its original volume. It's best to simmer slowly, as the syrupy liquid can easily boil over if left unattended even for a minute over higher heat (the aroma that will percolate through the kitchen is pleasant for a leisurely simmer down in any case). Reserve the syrup for later mixing.
  2. After dinner, prepare a pot of coffee as normal. Pour the coffee into mugs and sweeten with the spiced syrup to taste. Serve hot, without cream or sugar.

That's it. Easy-peasy, and very tasty – and a nice change of pace from the everyday cup a Joe.

Any extra syrup can be stored for ages in the fridge. Remove the cinnamon stick (or the eventual taste of cinnamon can get very strong).

This can also be made well in advance, pre mixed with coffee and left to chill in the fridge for a Mexican iced coffee. Serve in tall glass well filled with ice.

A video ode to Cafe De Olla


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      Cinnamon Vogue 5 years ago

      I hope you don't mind me pointing out that to make an authentic Cafe de Olla you need to use Mexican Cinnamon, which is really Ceylon Cinnamon. You see Ceylon Cinnamon is sweeter and less spicy. It is also very mild but has more aroma. More importantly Ceylon Cinnamon never takes center stage unlike the cheap Cassia Cinnamon. It creates a more complex flavor.

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      Katrina 6 years ago

      I just had this for the first time today in Mesilla, NM. The lady that made mine did not use the orange just the pilloncillo and the cinnamon...boy was it unforgetable. I went straight to the store for the ingredients. I'm wondering if I need to go get the orange zest too.

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      Mike Chronos 7 years ago

      Sounds delicious, bu what is the orange for?