Café De Olla (Mexican clay pot coffee)

Café de Olla, that sweet, steaming and aromatic Mexican drink that brings friends and family together around a table. Hot and delicious, perfect to warm up our bellies and hands when you hold the jarrito where it is served.

Two clay mugs with steamy café de olla.

What is Cafe de Olla?

The café de olla owes its name to the utensil where it is prepared, that is, in a clay pot (olla de barro, in spanish). The traditional recipe calls for only ground coffee, cinnamon and piloncillo but nowadays is also made with extra ingredients to enrich the flavour.

This hot drink was born with the arrival of coffee in Mexico, back in the 18th century, and today it has some variants where other spices are added such as star anise, whole cloves, orange peel, and chocolate among others.

A touch of Mexico

The smell of cafe de olla, for us Mexicans, recalls of Christmas as a family, posadas, Candelaria Day, everyday’s breakfast, mid-afternoon snacks (merienda) and even funerals.

We serve this clay pot coffee in the mornings, freshly made, for breakfast with our family; but actually café de olla is always there, sitting on the stove at home, ready for anyone who wants to enjoy it at any time of the day.

A closeup on café de olla.

Ingredients and Substitutes

  • COFFEE: The best options would be Mexican coffee from some of the States where is produced, such as Veracruz, Oaxaca, Tabasco, etc. But actually any ground coffee should just works fine, even instant coffee!
  • SWEETENER: Traditionally, café de olla is sweetened with piloncillo, but sometimes is just not possible to find it everywhere. So, you could replace it with molasses or brown sugar, even though the first option is by far better.
  • SPICES: Cinnamon is something it shouldn’t be missed in café de olla, that’s the only ingredient I recommend not replacing it. You can use any type if you can’t find Mexican cinnamon, even ground cinnamon! From there, as our recipe calls some optionals, you could also add star anise, whole cloves or also orange peel.
  • EXTRAS: If you want to take your café de olla to the next level add some cacao powder to the mix, it’s truly delicious! Want more? add a splash of Kahlua and…¡Arriba, arriba!

Step By Step Recipe

Place the water on a pot, you can use any kid of pot you have at home, just make sure is big enough to hold about 8 cups of water.

Add the piloncillo (or molasses), the cinnamon, anise star and the whole cloves. Stir.

Adding water, piloncillo and spices to the pot. Then, stirring to dissolve piloncillo.

Bring the water to a boil and then let it simmer for about 5 minutes while stirring to allow the piloncillo to dissolve and the spices to release their aroma.

Add the coffee and stir well. Cover the pot and immediately turn off the stove. Let the café de olla steep from 5 to 10 minutes, depends how strong you’d like it.

Adding ground coffee, then covering the pot.

Pour through a strainer to serve into mugs. Or you can also serve it later.

Straining the café de olla into mugs.

Recipe Notes

  • Turn the leftovers into iced coffee. Place them into a jar and store in the fridge to serve with ice whenever you want.
  • I really don’t recommend adding milk or cream to Cafe de Olla, believe me, it kinda ruins the taste and aroma.
  • Add cacao powder to the mug, give it a good mix and enjoy! You’re welcome.
  • To easily cut the piloncillo, pop it into the microwave for a few seconds, this will soften it and making it easy so cut.

How to enjoy

Café de olla goes perfect with any Mexican breakfast, tamales, or pan dulce. Those below are our favorite recipes to serve alongside with this hot drink.

Watch How To Make This Recipe

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Café de Olla Recipe

Make an authentic delicious and aromatic Café de Olla (Mexican clay pot coffee) and warm up your souls and bellies!
PREP 5 minutes
COOK 10 minutes
TOTAL 15 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 10
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 8 Tbs ground coffee
  • 5 ½ oz piloncillo (or molasses, to taste)
  • 8 ¼ cups water
  • 2 small sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 anise star
  • 2 whole cloves

Instructions

  • Place the water on a pot, you can use any kid of pot you have available, just make sure is big enough to hold about 8 cups of water.
  • Add the piloncillo (or molasses), the cinnamon, anise star and the whole cloves. Stir.
  • Bring the water to a boil and then let it simmer for about 5 minutes while stirring to allow the piloncillo to dissolve and the spices to release their aroma.
  • Add the coffee and stir well. Cover the pot and immediately turn off the stove.
  • Let everything to infuse from 5 to 10 minutes, depends how strong you’d like your coffee.
  • Pour through a strainer to serve into mugs.

NOTES

  • Turn the leftovers into iced coffee. Place them into a jar and store in the fridge to serve with ice whenever you want.
  • I really don’t recommend adding milk or cream to Café de Olla, believe me, it kinda ruins the taste and aroma.
  • Add cacao powder to the mug, give it a good mix and enjoy! You’re welcome.
  • To easily cut the piloncillo, pop it into the microwave for a few seconds, this will soften it and making it easy so cut.
Nutrition
Calories: 58kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    What a lovely post and recipe for café de olla. I am nostalgic now, so I’ll go to make some :)

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