Mexican Café de Olla

Starbucks manager brings Mexican coffee tradition to Santa Ana

Eric Olson’s first taste of Café de Olla was on a rooftop in Michoacán, deep in the heart of Mexico. He was on his honeymoon with his wife Marta, and their friends were preparing the Mexican coffee recipe in a traditional earthen clay pot over a fire. The experience left such an impression on him, the Starbucks manager was inspired to bring Café de Olla to his Starbucks® store in Santa Ana, California to share the traditional recipe with his community.

Today, Eric offers free Café de Olla tasting events at his store where he shows visitors how to make the deliciously sweet, cinnamon-infused coffee at home. As he says, his goal is simple: "To take my family’s traditions, Starbucks customer [relationships], and create a place we all meet in the middle."

The events have been a hit with people of all ages. Both with locals of Mexican heritage, who get a welcome taste of home, and with a whole new generation of coffee-curious visitors eager to experience new cultures. Bringing together these different parts of the community over coffee is one of the things Eric loves the most.

If you’re in Santa Ana, stop by Starbucks at Fourth and Broadway to enjoy one of Eric’s events. And take advantage of the recipe card below for his tips on making this remarkable coffee at home.

To experience the taste of Café de Olla, take the time to get authentic ingredients from your local Mexican specialty grocer. But if they aren’t available, you can improvise and still enjoy an incredible brew.

Serves 4

  • ½ cup coffee, medium grind (Eric recommends Starbucks® Caffé Verona®)
  • 3 ¼ cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3-4 small cones of piloncillo (Mexican sugar)
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