You'd think that my most memorable Mexican coffee experience would be from one of my visits to Mexico. But, no! It's from Kensington Market, here in Toronto. Joe and I were having brunch at a lovely Mexican spot in Kensington Market a while back and the cinnamon-spice-sweet cafe de olla was a delicious change from my usual basic black coffee.

Lowrider - our current seasonal coffee is from Mexico. And it inspired me to figure out how to make cafe de olla at home. The original recipes were WAY too sweet for me and I've reduced the sugar by half compared to traditional recipes.

Sparkplug Coffee's Cafe De Olla

Makes: 2 servings     Takes: 15 minutes


  • 3 cups / 700 ml water
  • 3 TBSP / 75 ml packed brown sugar
  • 2" / 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 40 g coarse ground coffee (about 6 TBSP or 80ml) - ideally a darker roast Mexican bean

OPTIONAL ingredients:

  • 1 or 2 cloves
  • a few anise seeds
  • 1 TBSP / 25 ml molasses
  • peel of 1 orange


  1. Combine water, sugar, cinnamon stick and any or all of the optional ingredients in a pot.
  2. Heat on high, bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in coffee, cover and leave it to brew for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain into cups.
  5. Enjoy!


  • This is most delicious with a darker roast coffee - we recommend the Sparkplug Coffee Globetrotter once the Lowrider is out of season.
  • If you don't have a fine mesh strainer, you can line a regular strainer with a paper towel or coffee filter.
  • In Mexico, this is often just ladled out without straining, leaving the grinds and spices at the bottom of the pot.


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