Growing up in rural Mexico, it was normal to see in my grandma’s kitchen a pot of coffee sitting on the stove, that was permanently hot and always available. Café de Olla is a traditional Mexican coffee drink, made in a earthen clay pot (olla), which gives it that smokey flavor, and it is mainly consumed in cold climates and rural areas. Often enjoyed with pan dulce (Mexican pastries) or tamales. This recipe is traditional from the Southern Mexican State of Oaxaca.


  • 2 liters water
  • 200 gr. piloncillo (unrefined brown sugar in a cone shape)
  • 1/2 cup ground coffee (not instant coffee)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 2 whole black peppers
  • 1/2 tablet Mexican chocolate


Place the water in a clay pot, along with piloncillo, cinnamon, cloves, anise, and peppers and turn the heat to high. As soon as it starts boiling, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the ground coffee and chocolate, and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn the heater off and let it steep for 5 more minutes. Pour through a strainer to serve. If you prefer to drink it with alcohol, you can add a coffee liqueur-like Kahlúa to taste. Serve hot and garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or an orange slice.