Café De Olla: Traditional Mexican Coffee Recipe

Cafe De Olla Traditional Mexican Coffee Recipe picture

Authentic café de olla is coffee like you’ve never experienced. While many restaurants in the U.S. might serve coffee with a bit of cinnamon and pass it off as café de olla, the taste of real authentic traditional Mexican coffee will give you a fresh perspective on how coffee can be enjoyed.

So what do you need to make a real cup of authentic café de olla? Here are the ingredients and instructions to make a real traditional Mexican coffee that will dazzle and delight your palette.


– ½ cup of whole coffee beans
– 3 ¼ cups of water
– 4 cones of piloncillo (an unrefined brown sugar created from sugar cane, likely found at your local Mexican grocer)
– ¼ teaspoon anise seeds (optional, present in some recipes and gives the coffee a slight liquorice flavor)
– 3 sticks of cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon of unsulphured molasses (optional, but it gives the coffee a nice texture)

Traditionally, café de olla – as the name suggests – is prepared and served in an olla, which is an earthenware cup glazed on the inside, and usually painted with beautiful Mexican folk art on the outside. However, you can just as easily prepare it using a French press and a saucepan for heating. While you won’t get that authentic Mexican feel, it’s actually more convenient and less messy. You can also just use a saucepan and fine-grain cheesecloth for filtering if you don’t have a French press handy.


– Bring water to a rolling boil in a saucepan/olla.
– Add the cinnamon sticks, piloncillo, and molasses/anise seeds (if applicable) to the boiling water. Boil for 2-3 minutes and reduce to medium heat.
– Stir until the piloncillo is completely dissolved. You should be able to smell the cinnamon.
– Remove from heat and let the cinnamon steep for 4-5 minutes.
– While you’re waiting, grind the coffee beans – a medium coarseness is ideal.
– Take out the cinnamon sticks and leave them aside for now.
– Pour the hot mixture into your French press (if applicable).
– Pour coffee grounds into the mixture and push the press down in order to wet the grounds.
– Pull up and allow the grounds to steep for approximately 5 minutes. If you don’t have a French press, add the coffee to the saucepan/olla and let it steep.
– Pour into a coffee cup and serve – re-add a cinnamon stick for additional flavor/style if desired.
– If you’re not using a French press, use the cheesecloth to filter out the grounds as you pour into the cup.

And Voila! You have enough authentic café de olla for 4 small servings.

This traditional Mexican coffee recipe is traditionally served black, although some like to enjoy their café de olla with a little frothed milk on the side. Enjoy!

About The Author

Nat is an avid cook and world traveler. Nat also co-owns the online coffee store

Photographer: Lorenia


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