Mexican Coffee: Cafe de la Olla Recipe History & Dangers

cafe de la olla

3 minute read – 15 minute recipe

Ingredients Needed:

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1.5 oz of Piloncillo or 2/4 of a cone
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of ground Mexican coffee

Easy to follow directions:

Step 1: Combine the water, cinnamon, piloncillo and clove (optional) in a pot set on high heat.

Step 2: Bring to boil, while stirring, make sure that the piloncillo has completely diluted in the water. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. At this point you can carefully taste the broth for desired sweetness and may add more piloncillo if needed. Continue to heat until completely diluted.

Step 3: Remove from heat and add the granulated coffee. This will prevent the coffee from having a burnt taste and will maintain the rich coffee flavor. It is best to use Mexican granulated coffee to try and keep the authentic flavor. Cover the pot and allow to steep for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Strain the coffee with a fine mesh strainer, for better results insert a coffee filter in the mesh strainer. Serve and enjoy.  Serving size: 3 to 4

Note: You can also enjoy this rich coffee brew ice cold. Simply allow enough time for the coffee to cool after it has been strained then add ice, store in the refrigerator.

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What is Cafe de la Olla?

“Cafe de la Olla” translates to coffee from the pot and is a traditional Mexican coffee recipe that has been used for its delicious and aromatic smell and taste. Originally served as a rich and flavorful coffee, it is  must to have for any coffee enthusiast. Cafe de la Olla is best enjoyed in the mornings along with traditional Mexican sweet bread known as “pan dulce”.

Brief History

cafe de la olla mexico map

Mexico has a rich history for coffee bean plantations in the southern states of Veracruz, Chiapas and Oaxaca. This delicious brew gained popularity during the Mexican revolution. It was given to Mexican soldiers early morning as a pick me upper for the long day ahead. Ever since, it has been prepared using different variations of the recipe including using spirits, chocolate and even serving it as a cold brew.  Cafe de la Olla is prepared with a clay pot and a wooden spoon, which gives it a very authentic flavor.

Possible Dangers of Cafe de la Olla

cafe de la olla warning label

The traditional way to prepare cafe de la Olla calls for using a clay pot and wooden spoon to help the original flavor. When using clay pots be sure that they are safe for cooking. Often imported clay pots can contain glaze on the inside or have paint that may contain lead or chemicals that may cause reproductive harm. Look for warning tags or labels if purchased in the U.S. It is really not recommended to purchase clay pots for cooking outside of the U.S. as they might not require having warning labels. To be safe just avoid clay pots and use your own traditional cooking pots.

Where to purchase the Ingredients

cafe de la olla ingredients

Depending on the region you reside, there might not be a direct access to some of the ingredients needed. The easiest find will be the ground roast coffee, just make sure the bag has a one way valve to ensure freshness. For the other ingredients, check the international section of your supermarket. Another option is to purchase the ingredients online, but you always have the option to substitute the ingredients.


  • Piloncillo: Pure brown sugar or even regular sugar
  • Mexican ground coffee: Instant coffee
  • Clay pot & wooden spoon: Cooking pot and metal / plastic cooking spoon

Cafe de la Olla Nutritional Information

Serving size: 4 servings Calories: 78kcal  Carbohydrates: 19g  Sodium: 11mg Sugar: 19g

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Cafe de la Olla mean in English?

Cafe de la Olla, or Cafe de Olla means coffee from the pot. It is a Mexican coffee recipe.

What is Piloncillo?

Simple unrefined sugar, it is used in Latin cuisine often sold in the shape of sticks or long cones.

Is Cafe de la Olla bad for you?

The coffee itself or ingredients are not bad. The traditional way of preparation calls for clay pots to be used. These can contain lead or other toxic chemicals that can be dangerous.

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