Cool autumn morning
Hot citrusy elixir
Café de olla
A traditional Mexican beverage, café de olla (coffee from the pot) was first humbly served in clay mugs (jarritos) at events (such as funerals) and carnivals (before Lent, Day of the Dead, etc.), but has gradually become a well known delight, even in posh locations all over the world.
Coffee from the Pot – Café de olla
Ingredients (serves two)
3 cups water
4 tbsp dark roast coffee, coarse grind (see note)
¼ cone piloncillo or ¼ cup muscovado, Sucanat™ or dark demerara (see update, at the end of the post)
1 stick cinnamon (preferably Mexican, but any cinnamon will work)
2 cloves (Syzygium aromaticum), or to taste
¼ orange, rind only
Note: Commercial coarse grind coffee, used for percolators, is a good choice for this recipe. I have the more common drip coffee maker, which uses medium grind coffee; fortuitously, I also have a coffee grinder, so I took four tablespoons of dark roast beans and pulsed eight times. The photo below shows a medium grind for drip coffee makers (left), next to my very coarse grind (right):
If using a commercial grind, wrap the coffee in a coffee maker filter and tie it with kitchen string, for easy removal later on (see update at the end.)
For this recipe, I decided to use dark demerara as sweetener, which dissolves faster than the more traditional piloncillo (for more on this, go to my previous post). I chose Mexican cinnamon and two cloves; then, I realized I had run out of regular oranges, but I had some tangerines, so I used the rind from one half:
Some people say it is not “de olla” unless you use a clay pot, but I do not own one, so I used a regular stainless-steel pot. On the stove, I brought the water to a boil, then lowered the heat. I added the sugar and let it simmer, stirring gently until it was all dissolved. I added the rest of the ingredients and continued simmering for three minutes. At that point, I removed the pot from the heat and let it rest, covered, for another five minutes. I strained through a fine mesh into two jarritos (photo at the top of the post). I bought them in Toronto just recently, at a Latin American grocery store just around the corner from my in-laws; I claimed to have just “discovered” it, although one of my daughters said she had told me about that store several times in the past (aging is no fun.) Any thick ceramic mugs can be just as cozy; I have some which were part of a wedding gift:
At least these mugs have aged graciously!
Have a Great Weekend!
Writer and writing tutor Esther Chilton offers a weekly challenge on her blog, and on September 20, she wrote: “This week’s challenge is to write a story, limerick or poem on the subject of: Favourite foods.” How could I resist Esther’s challenge with that topic? I write stories about my food experiences and recipes all the time, so I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and try a poem. A limerick sounded too complicated for a beginner such as myself, so I decided to try a traditional 5-7-5 Haiku (at the top of the post) about one of my favourite beverages, especially when temperatures start to fall.
Update: My husband tried a sip, and thought it was too sweet for his taste. He drinks his coffee black, so I would say, if you usually drink your coffee with sugar, this recipe should be fine, but of course the amount of piloncillo (or other sugar) may be adjusted, just do not eliminate completely, because sugar cane is definitely part of the characteristic flavour of café de olla. Sunday September 23, follow up: I prepared another batch, using medium-grind commercial coffee in a pouch, as described above, using a coffee filter and kitchen string:
I followed the rest of the recipe as before, except I reduced the sugar to just 1 tbsp. My husband liked it much better, and I thought it is a nice option, because people may add some raw sugar or demerara to their individual serving, but as my husband said, “you can always add more sugar, but you cannot un-sweeten your cup.”