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.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 4ounces piloncillo (or use a scant 1/2 cup dark brown sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon molasses)
- 2small cinnamon sticks, preferably Mexican cinnamon
- 2whole cloves
- 1star anise (optional)
- ½cup freshly ground (medium-grind) dark roast coffee
- 2(3-inch-long) orange peels (optional)
- Spirit of your choice (rum, bourbon or rye whiskeys, cognac or amaro), optional
Step 1In 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.
Step 2Add 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.