Café de Olla (Cinnamon Mexican Coffee)

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
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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!

Two cups and a pot filled with Café de Olla (Cinnamon Mexican Coffee).

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.

A bowl of water and various ingredients arranged on a marble countertop.

Recipe Ingredients

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!
Mexican olla de barro with a ladle inside for serving.

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.
A pot of water with cinnamon, dried hibiscus flowers, cardamom, star anise, cloves and orange peel to create Cinnamon Mexican Coffee.
  • 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.
Two clay mugs full of Café de Olla with cinnamon sticks.

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

A clay mug filled with Café de Olla with a cinnamon stick.
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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. 
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 4kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Sodium: 13mg, Fiber: 1g

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Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.