Created for Coffee Lovers.

Mexican Coffee: A Unique Way to Spice Up Your Mornings

Dave Carter

April 7, 2021

If you're looking for a new brew to add more variety to your mornings, Mexican coffee is a great way to start. In Mexico, they incorporate coffee, cinnamon, sugar right into the brewing technique, and not merely adding it to the drink after brewing. The result is a coffee drink that's sweet, spicy, and decadent at the same time, giving you a one of a kind coffee experience in a single cup.

To help you appreciate and understand Mexican caffeinated drink more, here's everything you need to know about the beverage, from its origins, its unique characteristics, to the Mexican coffee recipes you can recreate at home.

Mexican Coffee Drinks

What is Mexican Coffee Drinks

If you're wondering, what is coffee? And what makes it a much-favored drink is that it's a caffeine-packed beverage that everyone can enjoy. Many variations are emerging because of its ever-increasing popularity, with some well-known and others incredibly underrated, like the Mexican coffee.

Although Mexico isn't as well-known as other coffee-growing countries, Mexican coffees easily meet or exceed the 'gourmet coffee' standard. That's because, besides their unique brewing methods, the coffee plants varietals grown in the country and used in their brews are mostly Arabica bean variations, including Bourbon, Caturra, Mundo Novo, and Maragogype, which are all the highest quality beans you can get.

The most famous growing region in Mexico is Chiapas, where coffees are known for their light, delicate, rich taste, brisk acidity, and subtle light to robust medium body. The area boasts a perfect hot, year-round tropical climate, providing the ideal growing conditions for coffee plants, allowing local farmers to grow consistent and top-quality beans.

Another prominent growing region in the country is Veracruz, with its famous Altura Coatepec grounds known for its nutty flavor, light, body, and vibrancy. Other locations that grow quality beans in Mexico include Oaxaca and Puebla.

When it comes to coffee, Mexican growers or farmers know what they're doing, producing some of the highest quality beans, giving you brews that are light-bodied, low acidity, nutty, with subtle hints of chocolate undertones. While these characteristics vary by region and coffee varietals grown in those areas, you'll meet with the same delicious cup of joe that will leave you wanting for more.

Besides using quality beans or grounds, Mexican coffee is well-known for its unique coffee, cinnamon stick, chocolate combination. Instead of adding these ingredients after brewing, the traditional Mexican coffee recipe indicates incorporating them into the brewing technique, leaving you with a perfect mix of sweet and spiced flavors.

This method means that you'll need to brew the cinnamon right along with the grounds, instead of adding it after, giving your cup of joe a unique spicy flavor minus the gritty ground spice in the finished drink.

What is Mexican Coffee Made of?

A traditional Mexican coffee prepared following a unique brewing technique known in Mexico as Café de Olla consists of dark roasted grounds, piloncillo (sugar cane), brown sugar, and cinnamon. Although the traditional recipe calls for ground coffee, you can also use a coffee capsule, whichever is more convenient for you. Mexicans traditionally prepare it in a clay pot called 'Olla,' where they chuck in the fresh grounds, sugar cane, and cinnamon inside it, letting all the ingredients mix and boil together.

But can you make an authentic Café de Olla without piloncillo? Yes, and you can do this by replacing the unrefined sugar cane with brown sugar. If you're looking to add more 'life' to the brew, other Mexican coffee recipes include cinnamon sticks, orange peel, chocolate, or whipped cream.

Another popular variation of the caffeinated drink is the 'Mexican coffee cocktail,' which includes the traditional recipe alongside a handful of spices and tequila or any liqueur you like. At the same time, other Mexican recipes resemble the Irish coffee recipe and simply replace whiskey with tequila.

Why is Mexican Coffee So Good?

Mexican coffee is the perfect combination of sweet, bitter, and spice, making it a great breakfast drink or afternoon pick-me-up. It's like a perfect blend between hot chocolate and coffee, making it the ultimate brew for coffee lovers and casual drinkers. Besides its signature spicy and chocolatey flavors, it contains candy bar flavors and carries chocolate or nutty sweetness perfectly, no matter the roast levels. It's the ultimate versatile drink that everyone can enjoy.

Without the traditional add-ons, such as orange peel, cinnamon sticks, or chocolate, Mexican coffee provides an excellent subtle white wine taste, light body, and a pleasantly dry, acidic snap. You can create the Mexican caffeinated drink at home using a Moccamaster coffee maker, an espresso machine, or even a simple stovetop coffee pot.

What Does Mexican Coffee Taste Like?

When you find out what is a breve coffee and other coffee variations, you'll quickly find out what makes the flavor of Mexican coffee so unique. The higher quality or specialty-grade single-origin Mexican coffees resemble a refined white wine taste, alongside a dry and delicate body with gentle sweetness or fruitiness, finishing off with an acidic snap. While other Mexican coffee variations, such as ones from the high mountains of Chiapas, can rival the complexity, sweetness, and deliciousness of the best Guatemalan coffees, some of the world's finest.

However, if you're thinking of using Mexican coffee as a blending ingredient, you'll be met with a medium-body, subtle sweetness, and signature earthy or spice flavor notes. Whether you see it as a blending ingredient for a different coffee recipe or as a single-origin offering, you can guarantee you're getting a delicious brew.

Mexican Coffee Recipe

Traditional Mexican Coffee Recipe

In Mexico, they usually brew their coffee with cinnamon and sugar, putting their unique twist. Instead of adding these ingredients to the drink after brewing, they incorporate it right into the brewing technique. The result is a brew that's sweet, spicy, and decadent at the same time, making it the perfect breakfast coffee drink to survive throughout the day or a treat for lazy afternoons. You can brew your favorite grounds for this recipe using an automatic coffee machine, espresso machine, or stovetop pot.

If you'd like to try drinking authentic Mexican coffee, the brew's traditional recipe include:

  • Water
  • Piloncillo, a type of unrefined sugar cane or brown sugar
  • Dark roasted medium-coarse grounds
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Orange peel

Piloncillo is unrefined sugar cane, often sold in small cones throughout Mexico. Although if you want an authentic Café de Olla or Mexican coffee, using piloncillo is the best way. However, you can also use a cup of brown sugar as a substitute.

The orange peels add a sweet or citrusy complexity to the drink, though some recipes don't include it. You can also add some personal touches to the brew, such as adding heavy cream to make it bolder, whipped cream for fun times, garnish with chocolate shavings if you have a sweet tooth, or top it off with a cinnamon stick for a spicier finish.

How to Brew Mexican Coffee

If you're looking to add more spice to your morning routines, here's how you can make authentic Mexican coffee at home.

  1. Coarsely grind the beans of your choice and brew it as usual. However, if you're using pre-made grounds, chuck it in your coffee machine or French press pot and brew your drink.
  2. Grab your cinnamon sticks, orange peel, piloncillo, and place them in a large saucepan.
  3. Pour your brewed coffee into the saucepan and heat gently, stirring the ingredients occasionally, and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes or wait until the sugar becomes melted.
  4. Once it fully melts, remove the saucepan from the heat and remove the sticks, orange peels, and pour the final brew into cups.
  5. Top the drink with whipped cream or chocolate shavings if desired.

It's a perfect breakfast, party, or lazy afternoon drink that you can try to make at home. However, it can be challenging to get the same ingredients in its traditional recipe as most Mexican grounds get exported or are only available in Mexico. However, you can find piloncillo, a key component in the drink in most Mexican grocery stores, or at the Latino section of any supermarket.

Mexican Coffee Cocktail

The Best Mexican Coffee Cocktail Recipe

Although the traditional Mexican coffee drink is alcohol-free, a fun variation called 'Mexican cocktail coffee' is available. It's an easy-to-make adult drink that you can whip up during fun events such as Cinco de Mayo or looking for a vibrant drink to enjoy. The combination of natural coffee flavor, alcohol, and sugar makes it a perfect energizing drink that you can enjoy during lazy days or hosting Mexican-themed parties.

This coffee cocktail recipe is a hot alcoholic and caffeinated beverage that everyone can enjoy.

What You'll Need:

  • Tequila
  • Coffee liqueur
  • Brown sugar
  • Hot coffee
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon (optional)


  1. Grind your favorite coffee beans and brew it following your preferred brewing method. If you're using pre-made grounds, brew it as usual.
  2. In a heat-resistant cup or mug, pour in 1/2 of gold tequila or any tequila of your choice.
  3. Pour in one ounce of Kahlua coffee liqueur or any variation of your choice and brown sugar over the tequila.
  4. Grab your freshly brewed hot coffee and pour it over the liqueur and tequila. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Top the drink with whipped cream or cinnamon as desired.

Another alcohol-version of the drink is an actual Mexican coffee cocktail, called the 'Carajillo.' Although it has many variations, a traditional Carajillo consists of espresso, sweet Spanish liqueur Licor 43, and ice.

So, after learning how to use a coffee maker and if you're looking for fun ways to make your drinks livelier, why not try these cocktail recipes and go party at home with friends or family.


Expand your coffee palate by trying to make Mexican coffee at home, adding more spice to your routines. Although it can be challenging to get your hands on authentic Mexican ingredients, you can always use substitutes to create the caffeinated beverage with ease.

Whether you're making a traditional Mexican brew or a fun cocktail, Mexican coffee has a lot to offer, and no matter what kind of coffee drink you are, there's probably a Mexican coffee variation for you. For individuals outside of Mexico, the selection's only getting better and more prominent.

We hope this article helped you expand your coffee knowledge or expertise about Mexican coffee, allowing you to see its uniqueness, flavor potential, and culture.

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