Food: Cafe de Olla

When I was living in Mexico City, there was this type of coffee that I absolutely loved. A far cry from the coffee I started drinking out in Seattle, served by baristas who can serve up a mean cup of joe in 0.2 seconds.

If the coffee in Seattle was the luxury coupé, the coffee in Mexico was the well-known secret prototype that no one thought twice about.

Pronounced “cah-fey de o-yah”, it is normally brewed with a stick of cinnamon, spices and undistilled cane sugar called “piloncillo”, which normally comes in a cone-shaped presentation. The cinnamon in Mexico is what is considered true cinnamon, as opposed to the spicy cinnamon that Americans are used to.

The coffee is normally served in small clay mugs and it almost always brings a tear to my eye when I think of the homey-sweet goodness that can come in such a lovely little package.


6 cups of water

6 tbsp of ground coffee

2 cloves

2 sticks of cinnamon

1 piece of orange peel

1 cone of piloncillo

milk or cream to taste (optional)

Boil water on high. Add the piloncillo, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel (without the inner white part). Stir with spoon until piloncillo has dissolved. Reduce to low heat and add coffee. Stir constantly.

Let the coffee heat for 5 minutes.

Strain coffee and serve.


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