Cafe de Olla


Over winter recess, my family and I went to Mexico! No, not just over the border to TJ. No, not to some touristy location like Puerto Vallarta — although we did fly into PV. We visited my family in an itty bitty pueblo called Xalisco, in the state of Nayarit. It’s far from touristy and located at the bottom of the Sangangüey volcano. Trippy!


I haven’t been to this town in about 12 years! I was a little kid but I still have quite vivid memory of my visits here. They used to be annual, but the trips became too expensive and honestly, the area got a little dangerous too. As we took walks with my grandma she would casually say something like, *in Spanish* “Ah, this is where our friend got taken by the narco traficantes for ransom. They brought her back though…”


To explore all the exciting things we did, like visit a supposed “bottomless lake” filling a volcanic crater, would take up an entire other blog post.

santa maria del oro

What I do want to talk about is coffee! Now, at this point, I own an amazing acaia scale, a chemex, a V60, an awesome gooseneck kettle, etc, etc. I’ve been diving headfirst into the realm of craft coffee here in San Diego and in Sacramento but then I come to Mexico and discover something wonderful: Cafe de Olla!

Every morning I looked forward to this stuff. My grandmother quite literally just dumped coffee grinds into the bottom of a kettle, filled it with water, threw in a cinnamon stick, and boiled that ish! Once the water was done boiling, the grounds with sink to the bottom and we could all pour ourselves a cup of this magical stuff. She must have used some special beans — in fact, I know she walked down the street to a local guy that had his own coffee bean farm. I’m sure the taste had to do with that as well.

Well the last two days before our plane would take off back to the States, my dad, sister and I stayed in Puerto Vallarta, just to be close to the airport. One morning we went to this little diner and was served Cafe de Olla. It tasted… life-changing! The difference between this cup and my grandma’s coffee was one additional ingredient: Piloncillo! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a form of cooked sugar that is bought in the shape of a hard cone. The result, is magical.

Now we have bid adieu to my entire Mexican family — and even left my mom there for a few additional weeks — but my sister and I are not ready to give this stuff up just yet. So, we’ve been attempting to make it from home. The first two mornings were a bit of a fail, but not far off. This morning, as I type this blog, I am sipping on a cup of cafe de olla that is pretty darn near close to the magical stuff I had in Mexico.


Check out this vine, please haha:




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