Cafe de Olla - Mexican Spiced Coffee

September in Mexico is a Month of National celebrations and the most important one of them is Independence Day, which is celebrated the night of September 15th.

Let's celebrate this month by taking a look at a very traditional and savory Mexican way to prepare coffee: Cafe de Olla. Its literal translation is "Coffee from the Pot", this is due to the traditional recipe where coffee was prepared on a clay pot.

This preparation is very famous, not only for its flavor but also for its characteristic aroma that makes Mexicans feel at home. It is so popular that Nestle created an instant coffee version

If you enjoy Turkish or Greek coffee, you will like this recipe since the result is a lightly spiced, hot, sweet coffee beverage.


There are no exact records on when was the first time it was prepared but it is believed it was around the time of the Mexican Revolution (1910 - 1921). The women of the Revolution (also known as Adelitas) used to prepared this aromatic beverage to the soldiers to keep them warm and to give them comfort and strength.

The clay mug

You might have seen the traditional clay mugs used to drink it, and although it is not a must to have one to enjoy a Cafe de Olla, it certainly adds pleasure to the experience and makes it more authentic. If you have read my blog before, you know that I believe that "the cup is as important as the Coffee." You can probably find these mugs at your local Mexican Supermarket, but just in case, here is an option available at Amazon( Click on the picture to follow the link):


  • 6 Cups of water
  • 1/3 Cup of Piloncillo (Brown Sugar Cane)
  • 2 sticks of Cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons of dark coarse ground coffee (think on the same coarse ground as for French Press, see picture at the end of the post)
  • 1 whole clove (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest (optional) 

You will need:
  • 1 medium pot (clay if you have one)
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 1 wire-mesh-strainer
  • 1 clay mug

Preparation (15 minutes)

  1. In a medium pot add the the water, piloncillo, cinnamon, clove and orange zest
  2. Bring the water to boil on high heat while stirring the content for the piloncillo to dissolve.
  3. Once it is boiling reduce to medium heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes
  4. Add the ground coffee, stir the content and let it simmer for another 5 minutes (without letting it boil)
  5. Strain the coffee into your clay (preferable) mug
  6. Enjoy!
Let me know if you try it or if you have another way to prepare it.

How coarse should the grounds be?