Iced Mexican Coffee with Café De Olla

My biggest challenge when it comes to coffee is keeping it as a weekends-only or special occasion treat.  I feel so much better without caffeine but man do I love coffee.  The smell, the taste, the buzz.  But I’m pretty particular about what I drink- I blame it on my summer jobs as a barista long before people used the word barista.

This Mexican coffee, or café de olla, definitely passes my coffee snob taste test- and with flying colors.  I  had my doubts about coffee spiked with cinnamon, cloves and star anise… but it works.  It’s great with just a bit of cream, but if you’d like to get all fancy pants (and boozy), chocolate syrup and coffee liquor are other fine additions.

As an aside, have any of you tried Trung Nguyen Coffee before?  It’s really really great Vietnamese Coffee.  So much better than Starbucks.  Their inexpensive blends are excellent; their higher priced Legendee is awesome.  They sell online but it’s also available through Amazon if any of you want to give it a shot.  If you have an Asian Grocery nearby or live near a city with a Chinatown you might also be able to find it there.  One Vietnamese coffee with Trung Nguyen and you’ll never ever go back to the Cafe du Monde brand.


Iced Mexican Coffee

Yield: 1 Mexican Iced Coffee. 4 servings cafe de olla


Iced Mexican Coffee:

* 1 Tablespoon chocolate syrup (I always make it from scratch using this recipe)
* ice cubes
* 1 shot coffee liqueur
* 1/2 cup cold café de olla (recipe below)
* 1 Tablespoon heavy cream or half-and-half
* pinch cinnamon

Café De Olla:
* 5 cups water
* 4 large cinnamon sticks
* 6 whole cloves
* 4 star anise
* 1/4 cup white sugar, unrefined if you can find it ( I use Zulka Mexican Cane Sugar)
* 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
* 3/4 cup ground dark roast coffee beans, regular or decaf


To make the Mexican iced coffee drizzle some chocolate syrup on the bottom of a glass. Add ice cubes, the shot of coffee liquor and café de olla. If you'd like to create a floating layer or cream, carefully pour the cream over the back of a spoon on top of the drink (otherwise just go nuts and pour on top to mix it all together). Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.

To Make the Cafe de Olla combine the water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and white and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil and the reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the ground coffee. Stir and cover; let steep for 5 minutes.

Pour through a sieve lined with a coffee filter, or just do as I did and use your coffee maker... pour directly over your lined coffee grinds basket (obviously you want to make sure that your coffee pot is below). Serve hot or bring to room temperature and the refrigerate.

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10 Responses to “Iced Mexican Coffee with Café De Olla”

  1. #
    chinmayie @ love food eat — July 19, 2011 at 5:11 am

    OMG! This looks so good!
    We have tea with different spices in India but never tried it with coffee! Sounds Fancy!!


  2. #
    Missy — July 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

    holy moly that is both pretty and mouthwatering delicious looking. The only way to drink coffee is to be a snob about it, because the difference is incredible – two totally different beverages. haha I dont know how my mom wakes up to Foldgers.
    I'm like you – trying to keep my coffee addiction to special occasion status. I cant drink it in the morning because it kills an empty stomach, so that leaves no time really during the rest of the day. But when I do get the occasion, I LOVE an afternoon coffee break with friends to talk stories and write or draw. I also love the Vietnamese brand Trung, luckily it's available all over los angeles.

    Thank you for this great recipe – can't wait to try it out!!


  3. #
    CATE — July 20, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I'm with you Missy… as much as I love coffee if I get one that's not very good I end up pouring it down the drain. I just can't bring myself to drink bad coffee :)

    Glad to hear Trung Nguyen is available in LA. I've heard they've considered opening cafes in the US… I'd be curious to see how they'd do here against places like Starbucks.


  4. #
    4 — July 21, 2011 at 2:35 am

    Oh, I must make a virgin version of this!! YUM! I just made some chocolate syrup that would be perfect for this. Thanks for posting this recipe!


  5. #
    Reese@SeasonwithSpice — July 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    We had so much masala coffee when Mark was perfecting his masala coffee ice-cream. Now you just convinced us to try this elegant version with liquor…

    Trung Nguyen Coffee is fantastic! Good to know it is available online in the US. They have a cozy cafe at Singapore Changi Airport. It is usually my pit stop whenever I have some lull time. Much better than Starbucks for sure:)


  6. #
    CATE — July 22, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Mmmm… masala coffee ice cream sounds amazing. I never bother making normal coffee ice cream (because really, just buying Haagen-Dazs is so much easier and it's still prety great), but I'm sure the extra spices would make it worth the trouble.

    Thanks for the heads up- I know exactly where I'm going be should I ever have a layover in Singapore :) I've been a big fan of Trung Nguyen for several years now… I keep expecting for them to make it big in the US. They certainly have a good enough product and we Americans do love our coffee.


  7. #
    Reese@SeasonwithSpice — July 25, 2011 at 5:56 am

    True Cate. It can be troublesome to make ice cream if we don't enjoy the process. Unfortunately, the ice cream in SEA are mostly made out of palm oil. We were shocked when we read the label. Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry's is way to expensive here. That's when we started making ice cream at home.

    ps: We can't wait to make your iced mexican coffee at home.


  8. #
    Aurelia — July 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Your pictures look beautiful and I am kind of sorry for you that you can't drink coffee that often. Looks really delicious!


  9. #
    Leslie — April 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I just started sipping on this Mexican iced coffee, as I write this comment! I made it with all the exact ingredients, including the Trung Nguyen coffee and Zulka sugar (both on Amazon), and the spices (all on Amazon too). It all works together beautifully. This is delicious, and going to be hard to just drink one! I am so happy to have come across your recipe, and your blog too. Thank you so much! I am headed back to kitchen to make my second one:)


    • Cate — April 20th, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

      So glad you liked it Leslie! And yes, it’s definitely hard to stop at just one :)


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