Author Notes: When staying in Mexico a year ago our breakfast buffet included a big urn of what was labeled “Mexican Coffee". After ignoring if for a day, thinking it was just regular brewed coffee, I noticed a plaque near it that explained the origin of this drink and its ingredients. According to the plaque, this drink was made by women during the revolution to strengthen and support the soldiers, and was made by what they had on hand: cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, oranges, piloncillo (dark, unrefined Mexican sugar) almonds, and vanilla. There was also a little bit of Tequila. When I came home after that trip I tried making my own version of this coffee (without the Tequila) to have for a festive breakfast. I like to use a Mexican chocolate (the kind often sold in round disks) that have some ground almonds and cinnamon in them already. I use one I mail order from “Seasons of My Heart” website but have also the Chocolate Mexicano made by Taza chocolates that is sold at my local food coop. You can also add a thick dollop of whipped cream for an extra rich touch. You can refrigerate leftovers to serve on ice. Served in demitasse cups this makes a lovely dessert (and a touch of Tequila is then allowed). —JoanG
Serves: 4-8 depending on cup size
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 23 min
tablespoons good coffee beans, coursely ground (Latin American beans work great, I used Costa Rican)
cups cold filtered water
whole cinnamon sticks, Mexican preferred
ounces piloncillo or unrefined dark brown sugar
rind of an orange
ounces Mexican chocolate or semisweet chocolat
teaspoon vanilla (preferably, Mexican)
splash Optional: heavy cream
- Coarsely grind the coffee beans (about 10 seconds) and place in a large French press pot. Boil the water and pour over the coffee. Let sit about 3 minutes.
- Place in a large saucepan: cinnamon stickes, orange peel, chocolate, piloncillo
- Pour the coffee into the saucepan and heat gently, stirring from time to time, about 10-15 minutes. The sugar and chocolate will be melted..
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Remove cinnamon and orange peel and pour into cups. Top with cream if desired.