Full of warm spices like cloves and star anise, this Mexican Café de Olla recipe tastes just like cozy mornings. With subtle hints of orange and piloncillo, this comforting cinnamon Mexican coffee will wrap you up like a blanket and help you start the day on the right note.
Homemade Cinnamon Mexican Coffee
If you’re literally looking to spice up your mornings, you’ve got to try this cinnamon Mexican coffee! Simmered with warm spices like star anise, cloves, and cardamom, every sip of this authentic café de olla recipe will feel like a hug in a mug.
A bit of orange peel and a touch of hibiscus add incredible dimension to the flavors in this coffee drink, which is sweetened with piloncillo. Café de olla is traditionally served warm but you can also drink on the rocks for a modern twist. Don’t add any milk or cream, though. To really let the aromas shine you want to enjoy it black!
What is Cafe de Olla?
Café de Olla, or Cinnamon Mexican Coffee, is a traditional spiced morning coffee. Typical spices include cinnamon, cloves, and star anise— but the exact combination varies by region and household.
It’s usually served black over breakfast in rural areas, where coffee-making isn’t quite as “instant” yet. Since it requires a bit of extra effort, it’s considered a specialty drink.
What Does Cafe de Olla Mean?
Café de olla translates to “pot-made coffee” or “coffee made in a pot.” The “pot” refers to a specific kind of clay pot, an Olla De Barro, that the coffee is made in. It gives the drink its signature flavor. Without this pot, you can’t call it café de olla in Mexico.
Time to use up all the whole spices in your pantry for this Mexican cinnamon coffee! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
- Water – Don’t substitute it for milk.
- Orange Peel
- Cinnamon Stick – You can find these in the spice aisle as well as the latin/ethnic aisle in most grocery stores.
- Whole Clove – Don’t use ground cloves.
- Star Anise Pod – Don’t use ground star anise.
- Cardamom Pod – Don’t use ground cardamom.
- Piloncillo – Although it won’t quite be café de olla, similar sweeteners include coconut sugar, dark brown sugar, and raw honey.
- Dried Hibiscus Flowers – It adds a nice floral note and a bit of tartness. Feel free to leave these out.
- Instant coffee – Use your favorite kind!
How to Make Cafe de Olla
It’s definitely not a microwave-and-go type of drink, but this Mexican cinnamon coffee is worth the extra minutes of effort and standing over the stove. Either way, it’s not that much harder than making an infusion.
- Boil the water. Add the water to a pot or kettle. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer.
- Add the peel. Throw the orange peel into the water and stir it around for 1 minute. You can even press the peel against the walls of the pot with a wooden spoon to try and release more flavor. Add the cinnamon stick.
- Add the piloncillo. Place the whole clove, star anise, cardamom, and piloncillo in the pot. Stir well until the piloncillo fully dissolves.
- Add the coffee. Add the hibiscus and coffee. Mix to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
Tips for Success
If you’re going to try one of these tips, choose the clay pot one. It makes the best Mexican cinnamon coffee, especially when left to rest in it for a full day before serving.
- Reduce the heat. If you don’t gradually reduce the heat, your coffee will eventually overflow and make a big mess.
- Add a stirrer. For extra cinnamon-y flavor, place a cinnamon stick in each cup and use it as a stirrer.
- Let it rest. Making this cafe de olla and letting it rest for a full day before serving will give it a chance to concentrate its flavor.
- Add ice. Once fully cooled, serve it over ice for a cafe de olla on the rocks. It’s not very conventional but is still very yummy.
- Use a clay pot and mugs. Part of the flavor comes from a traditional Olla De Barro (earthen clay pot). If you can find one or already have one, use it. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also serve it in traditional Jarritos (clay mugs). While not as traditional, these are the clay mugs I used in these photos.
Serving Suggestions for Cinnamon Mexican Coffee
You can enjoy cinnamon Mexican coffee over breakfast along with conchas, Mantecadas, Cemitas or some other form of traditional sweet bread. For the main dish, it goes great with all-things Mexican like my Chilaquiles Verdes, Chorizo and Eggs, Huevos Rancheros, Tortilla Española or Migas.
However, since it’s coffee you can also pair it with my Stove Top Scrambled Eggs, Chocolate Chip Croissant French Toast Bake, or Best Fluffy Pancakes for a more Mexican-American type of breakfast.
Can Café de Olla Be Prepared in Advance?
Yes! You can prepare this cinnamon Mexican coffee up to 3 days in advance. Once fully cooled, transfer it to a large airtight jar or container and refrigerate it. Don’t leave it out at room temperature.
Reheat it in the microwave for up to a minute or until warm. You can also reheat it in a small pot over medium heat for 4-6 minutes.
More Mexican Drink Recipes
- Frozen Margarita Recipe
- Easy Watermelon Margaritas
- Carajillo (Mexican Coffee Cocktail)
- Mexican Candy Shot (Paleta Shot)
- Frozen Mango Margarita
- The Best Mojito Recipe
- Mangonada Drink
Café de Olla Recipe (Cinnamon Mexican Coffee)
Full of warm spices and piloncillo, this Mexican cinnamon coffee is an homage to Mexican flavors and the perfect morning drink.
- 5 cups water
- 1 small orange peel
- 1/2 large cinnamon stick
- 1 whole clove
- 1/2 star anise pod
- 1 cardamom pod
- 5 tablespoons piloncillo, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 1/2-3 tablespoons instant coffee, depending on how strong you like it.
- Add the water to a pot or kettle. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer.
- Throw the orange peel into the water and stir it around for 1 minute. Add the cinnamon stick.
- Place the whole clove, star anise, cardamom, and piloncillo in the pot. Stir well until the piloncillo is fully dissolved.
- Add the hibiscus and coffee. Mix to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Clay Pot: Part of the flavor comes from a traditional Olla De Barro (earthen clay pot). If you can find one or already have one, use it.
Clay Mugs: If you want to go the extra mile, you can also serve it in traditional Jarritos (clay mugs). While not as traditional, these are the clay mugs I used in these photos.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 4Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
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