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Café de Olla Recipe

Read time: 2 mins
Café de Olla Recipe
Christopher C. May 05, 2021

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Today marks the 159th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, where the Mexican army fought back interventionist France for control of the town of Puebla de Zaragoza. This battle served as a landmark victory for Mexico and is still celebrated in the city today.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we're making café de olla, a Mexican coffee beverage traditionally brewed and served in clay or enamel pots. A little more involved than your morning cup, café de olla is sweet, spiced, and worth the time, so let's get to it!

Café de Olla

Makes: 4 cups | Total Time: 10 mins.


  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup brown sugar (or 2 oz. piloncillo for a more authentic flavor)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp. ground cinnamon)
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 27g Organic Dark Mexican coffee, ground medium-coarse (that's 4 tablespoons or 1 o.z by weight - as in all things, adjust to your taste)


  1. Boil water, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and the anise pod in a medium saucepan, stirring until the brown sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat, add coffee, and stir until there are no clumps.
  3. Cover for 6 - 8 minutes, depending on your strength preference.
  4. Pour through a sieve, permanent filter, or paper filter, and enjoy!
  5. Transfer leftovers to a sealable bottle and serve over ice for coffee that keeps on giving.

With all the chai spices that go into it, you'd think the brew would taste way more like its ingredients than its name, which literally translates to “pot coffee” (i.e., coffee brewed in an olla, or unglazed ceramic pot). But the final cup is pleasantly sweet with hints of molasses and dark chocolate, rounded out by bright pops of clove, all underscored by smooth, warming cinnamon and anise.

Even if you're not a fan of anise, we think you'll like café de olla. The anise gives a slight, licorice-like zing that doesn't overwhelm the drink. Taylor, one of our customer service reps, said café de olla reminded him of spiced cider. Chai-loving web dev C.J., who's usually the first to volunteer to taste our recipes, loved it. Marketing wizard John said he could've done without the anise, but liked it nonetheless.

Café de olla is a longstanding family staple in Mexico, served to soothe, bring people together, and make memories over. Sadly, some of the spotlight has been taken away from traditional recipes like café de olla. The Edward coffee orders of the world are all well and *chokes a little bit* good, but the recipes of yesteryear are just as important.

This Cinco de Mayo, take the time to pay homage to Mexican heritage by making a café de olla. Make it with friends and family (via Zoom if necessary). Better yet, teach them how to do it, and enjoy the experience together again and again. Just as the city of Puebla honors Ignacio Zaragoza and the brave men who fought back in 1862, honor history with Mexican spiced coffee. It's the least we can do to keep the past alive and well.

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