Mexican Coffee (Café de Olla)
La Posada de Chencho
is a small family-run inn situated on a tree-lined street in a working class
neighborhood in Oaxaca. The genial Senor Chencho is usually to be found in
his office next to the sturdy, metal-clad front door, ready to explain why
fireworks were exploding at dawn or to order a taxi for the Guelaguetza, the
city’s celebrated regional dance festival.
The posada serves the
most delicious breakfasts in the comedor off the flower-filled patio.
They are always accompanied by pots of aromatic café de olla, which
is brewed with canela, or Ceylon cinnamon in an earthenware
pot. When we make it at home, we use smooth, chocolaty Oaxaca Pluma coffee
beans from La Trinidad coop.
Makes 1 quart
piloncillo or brown sugar (see note)
1 piece Ceylon cinnamon, 1-inch long
5 tablespoons finely ground coffee (see note)
In a medium
earthenware pot or saucepan, heat 1 quart of water. Add the sugar and
cinnamon. Just before the water starts to boil, add the coffee, stir
well and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the coffee through a fine sieve and
serve in earthenware mugs.
1. Café de olla is traditionally made with
piloncillo, raw brown sugar sold in hard cones. Piloncillo
may be found in Hispanic markets or in the international section of your
grocery store, or it can be ordered from
The cones are so
hard that they are almost impossible to cut. To measure 1/4 cup, soften
the piloncillo by wrapping it in a damp cloth and placing it in a
small paper bag in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. It will still be
hard, but using a heavy chef’s knife, you can shave off enough sugar for
the coffee. Or take the easy way out and use ordinary brown sugar.
2. Oaxaca Pluma coffee beans may be ordered from
3 Cups, 431 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516. Telephone:
to Spice Kitchen]