Café De Olla
One of my favorite breakfast drinks is Mexican spiced coffee. This drink is traditionally made in a large clay pot where you simmer warm spices like true cinnamon, cloves and star anise with coffee. It’s name translates to ”pot coffee” because the clay pot adds an earthy flavor to the drink and only gets better with each batch made. Traditionally, a raw cane sugar cone, piloncillo, is melted down, adding sweetness and caramel notes, similar to brown sugar. Once the water is sweetened and aromatic, my grandma would add a sinful amount of instant coffee and pour us a mug along with pan dulce (Sweet Mexican Bread). I grew up drinking the instant stuff for convenience but you can try both options in the recipe below.
- 4 cup water
- 1/2 cup piloncillo or packed dark brown sugar
- 2 true cinnamon
- 2 clove, whole
- 2 star anise
- 4 tablespoons instant coffee
- True Cinnamon Stick
- Star Anise
- Milk to taste
- In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add the 4 cups of water, piloncillo, true cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. Piloncillo traditionally comes in a solid cone shape, but is easy to shave off using a serrated knife. Stir spices and bring to slow boil. Simmer on low for 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and the spices are fragrant. Remove from heat and add the instant coffee. Strain out the spices and serve hot. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and add milk, if desired. The leftovers make for a tasty iced coffee, as well.
This recipe can be made with 3/4 of a cup of ground coffee. Make the recipe above and, once the spices and piloncillo have simmered for 5 minutes, turn off the pot and add the coffee grounds. Stir the grounds in, letting the coffee sit for 1 minute, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Avoid letting the coffee grounds sit in the pot for too long or it will get bitter.
This beverage is also known as Café Mexicano and every family has their own version. I’m pretty loyal to the combination of true cinnamon, cloves and star anise. The trio makes the coffee floral, warm and sweet, after every sip you’ll taste the best out of the malty coffee.
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