Cafe de Olla: Unplugged Coffee, Mexican Style
Café de Olla
1 quart water
8 tablespoons of very coarsely ground coffee
1 piloncillo cone or 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 2-inch stick of cinnamon
1 strip of orange zest
1 clove (optional)
Clay pot (interior glazed and lead free)
A hammer (seriously)
Fine mesh strainer
Piloncillo is an unrefined cane sugar cone, varying from light brown to a dark right mahogany shade. Its flavor is richer than that of brown sugar, with a slight caramel and nutty taste. The only way to get a purer form of cane sugar is to suck it out of the cane yourself.
Minerva Orduno Rincon Piloncillo with the designated piloncillo hammer.
Get a firm grip on that hammer and bash that piloncillo into pieces because you only need about a quarter of it (50 grams or so), or skip the hammering fun and use brown sugar. Place the water, piloncillo or brown sugar, broken up cinnamon stick and clove in the pot and turn the heat to low. Gradually bring the heat up to bring the water to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. The clay pot may make a whistling noise; this is okay, it's just happy to make your coffee. When the spice infusion has come to a boil, add the ground coffee and orange zest, stir, and remove from heat. Allow to rest for three to five minutes, strain and serve.
As proprietor of Muñeca Mexicana handcrafted food, Minerva Orduno Rincon makes everything from mole poblano to goat milk caramel to spiced (not spicy) cocoa. Find her at a farmers market near you.