The Comfort of Café de Olla
It's a long windy road from Oaxaca City to the Sierra Madre mountains. If you can stomach the curves and bumps along the way, you might be lucky enough to be welcomed with a hot cup of café de olla. Now it's difficult to even remember when I enjoyed my first cup of spiced Mexican coffee, but I quickly realized coffee is more often served this way than not in México. There is something particularly nurturing and deeply satisfying about this style of coffee.
Today, it's much easier to find lattes and cappuccinos throughout México, but in my early days of traveling there, I discovered that coffee is not usually enjoyed with milk or cream as I might have been accustomed to growing up in California. Instead, it is often brewed with canela (cinnamon) and sweetened with piloncillo (a raw sugar cane product). Star anise, cloves or even orange peel might also be added while brewing.
Café de Olla actually has historical roots dating back to the Mexican Revolution. Women, who played a very important role in supporting the soldiers during battle, would make coffee in large clay pots and often added roasted cacao for an added boost. The drink was meant to sustain the soldiers while they endured long and difficult days of fighting. The earthen clay pots would give it a distinctive flavor and it is traditionally made this way to this day.
Whenever I enjoy a cup of café de olla at home or at a local cafe, I can close my eyes while sipping it and imagine myself back in a quaint cabin high up in the Sierra Madre mountains or having breakfast near a tree lined zócalo.
Transport yourself to México with our Café de Olla Kit featuring Proyecto Diaz coffee from Oaxaca, México.