Café de Olla

Café de Olla

Made in batches and served hot, sweet and scented with cinnamon and other spices, Café de Olla is traditionally brewed in an olla de barro, a tall clay pot. When making Café de Olla, choose quality, dark roast coffee and, if possible, grind it fresh. Second, seek out piloncillo — unprocessed, unrefined cane sugar named after the shape of the mold that is traditionally used to make it — for a richer, deeper, more caramelized flavor. If you don’t have access to piloncillo, use dark brown sugar and add a half to a full teaspoon of molasses. Lastly, take care to never allow the liquid to come to a boil, which can burn the coffee and make the final drink acidic. Serve as is, or set a bottle of tequila, rum, whiskey, cognac or amaro on the table and let drinkers add their chosen spirit to taste. If you have extra Café de Olla, store it in a covered container in the refrigerator and reheat or serve iced.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 6 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a small olla de barro or medium pot, add the piloncillo, 6 cups water, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise, if using. Set over medium heat and bring to a very low simmer, stirring frequently, until the piloncillo is completely dissolved. Do not let the liquid come to a boil. Continue to cook over medium-low for 5 more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the coffee grounds and orange peels, if using. Cover and let sit for 6 to 8 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or coffee filter into a large, heatproof carafe or another pot.
  2. Step 2

    Add 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of the spirit of your choice, if using, to a 6-ounce heatproof mug or glass, and top with 4 to 5 ounces Café de Olla; serve hot.