Mexican coffee

Mexican Coffee – Everything You Need To Know

Mexican coffee is a traditional beverage that is brewed with cinnamon and piloncillo, a type of unrefined sugar. Also called Café de Olla, this drink is typically brewed in a clay pot (olla) and is a popular treat during the holidays, often served with pan dulce or sweet bread.

If you’re in for an adventurous coffee treat, skip your visit to the coffee shop and make yourself a Mexican coffee! The flavors present in this beverage, which range from saccharin to spices, reflect the country’s culinary culture. Not only rich and delicious, but this drink is also a feast for the eyes, often served in traditional clay mugs that add a touch of rustic charm. In this article, we’ll delve into the history and preparation of Café de Olla and explore the cultural significance of this beloved drink.

What Is Mexican Coffee?

In Mexico, coffee is the second most consumed beverage, next to water. No wonder why Mexican coffee drinkers have the most delicious coffee recipes. After all, these people are known for their adventurous culinary prowess. Most Mexican coffee drinkers love to experiment with their coffee, mixing them with sugar cane, spices–and sometimes even liquor when making a Mexican coffee cocktail.

The most popular Mexican coffee known to the world is the Café de Olla. This is a type of coffee beverage brewed with different spices such as cinnamon, orange peel, and cloves. Making this coffee does not require fancy brewing equipment or espresso machines as it’s brewed in a clay pot called olla. This is how the drink got its name–Café de Olla means “coffee from the pot”.

What Is Mexican Coffee Made of?

There are three main components in making Mexican Coffee or Café de Olla. These ingredients are native to the country–coffee, cinnamon, and piloncillo, a type of unrefined sugar.

Mexican coffee beans are often regarded as gourmet coffees. They are high-quality, wet-processed beans grown mainly in the highlands of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Coatepec. Just like most Latin American coffees, they are known for their soft body, bright acidity, and nutty and chocolatey flavor characteristics. In making the traditional Café de Olla, Mexican beans are the most ideal to use.

Cinnamon is one of the most used spices in Mexican cuisine. Because of its floral aroma, it’s a common addition to many savory dishes and sweet desserts. In fact, it’s also an integral component of Mexican hot chocolate and even Mexican coffee.

Piloncillo is a type of unrefined sugar made from evaporating sugarcane juice and hardened to form small cones. In other parts of South America, it’s referred to as rapadura or panela. Not only is this ingredient used in sweetening coffee beverages, but it is also staple in Mexican cooking.

History Of Mexican Coffee

The History Of Mexican Coffee

The origins of Mexican coffee or Café de Olla are unclear, but it is believed that already existed during the colonial era. The addition of cinnamon and piloncillo in coffee can be traced way back to pre-Columbian times, but the specific preparation of this drink is a more recent development.

Who invented Mexican coffee?

It was said that revolutionary Mexican women were the inventors of the famous Mexican coffee. During the Mexican Revolution in 1910, they would prepare batches of spiced and sweet coffee drinks that would help their soldiers keep warm and alert throughout the night.

Where is Mexican coffee from?

As the name already says, Mexican coffee, or Café de Olla is a traditional drink first discovered in Mexico. Up to this day, the preparation of this coffee beverage has become a huge part of Mexican culinary culture. In fact, many households hold unique recipes that they pass down from generation to generation.

How Much Caffeine Is In Mexican Coffee?

The caffeine content one can get from a regular-sized (8 oz) Mexican coffee is approximately 95 milligrams. This is roughly the same amount found in a same-sized drip coffee you buy at your favorite coffee shop. It also has slightly more caffeine than a shot of espresso. Nevertheless, adjustments in recipes and the type of coffee are also important factors that will determine the caffeine content of a certain beverage.

How Many Calories Are In Mexican Coffee?

A typical 8-ounce serving of Café de Olla contains around 80 calories, depending on the amount of piloncillo used in the recipe. In addition, you may get more calories if you opt to try different versions of Mexican coffee–adding chocolate syrup and whipped cream to create a sweet coffee dessert or Kahlua to make a warm coffee cocktail.

Mexican Coffee Recipe

How To Make Mexican Coffee

For the coffee lovers out there, you don’t have to visit a coffee shop to try this drink! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make Mexican coffee or Café de Olla.

  • Boil the water: pour four cups of water into a clay pot and bring to a boil.
  • Dissolve the piloncillo: add the piloncillo sugar into the pot. Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Add your coffee and spices: put your coarse coffee and ground cinnamon into the mix. You can also add other spices like cloves and orange peel.
  • Steep for a few minutes: turn off the heat right away and let the ingredients steep for about ten minutes.
  • Filter the beverage: take a mesh or cheesecloth and filter out the coffee grounds and spices. Transfer the liquid coffee to a larger container.
  • Serve and enjoy: pour yourself a cup of delicious Mexican coffee!

There is no standard recipe for Mexican coffee, so continue experimenting with the flavors you want. You can even make a coffee cocktail by adding a little bit of alcohol or an iced blended version of this beverage with some whipped cream on top!

Mexican Coffee

Print Pin
Prep Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 Mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • 1 Pitcher or jug
  • 1 Serving cup


  • 4 cups of water
  • 2-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee
  • 5 ounces of piloncillo or brown sugar
  • orange peel


  • In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  • Put 5 ounces of piloncillo sugar and constantly stir for about seven minutes or until it dissolves. If you cannot find piloncillo, you can use brown sugar instead.
  • Add the coarse coffee grounds, cinnamon sticks, and orange peel to the mix.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the ingredients to steep for about ten minutes.
  • Use the mesh or cheesecloth to filter the coarse coffee ground and spices. Transfer the coffee to a heatproof pitcher or jug.
  • Pour the beverage into small cups and garnish each with some ground cinnamon and orange peel.
  • Serve hot, and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Mexican coffee different?

Unlike your usual favorites, Mexican coffee is combined with piloncillo sugar and some spices and is brewed in a clay pot.

Why is Mexican coffee sweet?

Mexican coffee has piloncillo, a type of unrefined sugar derived from sugarcane juice.

Is Mexican coffee strong?

Mexican coffee may seem a little sweeter than a drip coffee or an espresso shot, but it still has that intense kick of coffee flavor and an average amount of caffeine.

Does Mexican coffee have more caffeine?

An 8 oz Mexican coffee and drip coffee of the same size has about the same amount of caffeine. However, Mexican coffee has more caffeine than most drinks made in espresso machines.

What is Mexican coffee like?

Because of the piloncillo and cinnamon, Mexican coffee will have a floral aroma, toasty sweetness, and a hint of spice.

What is Mexican flaming coffee?

The Mexican flaming coffee is a famous coffee cocktail featuring the same ingredients as Café de Olla but with whipped cream and rum. The drink is then lit on fire to give smoky and caramelized nuances to the drink.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to visit a Mexican coffee shop to try this drink yourself–make yourself a Café de Olla and enjoy its unique characteristics. Above all, it’s always nice to experience a traditional treat and get a perspective of a country’s culture through its food and drinks. We’re all lucky that this sweet and spiced drink was passed down to generations because also we get to enjoy it firsthand.

Main image credit > Merve Nur Türker from Pexels