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.

We have a unique [opportunity] to maintain and create [new] relationships with people.
– Eric Olson,
Starbucks store manager

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.

Making Café de Olla

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.

Café de Olla

Serves 4

Learn about the Starbucks manager who brought traditional Mexican coffee Café de Olla to Santa Ana, California. See how to make it yourself at home. Ingredients
  • 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)
  • If needed, substitute 1 cup of packed brown or raw sugar for piloncillo.
Directions In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the water, cinnamon and piloncillo. Stir to combine everything and dissolve the sugar and let it steep for 5 minutes. Add coffee and stir. Remove from heat and steep for 4 minutes, then pour through a fine mesh strainer or paper filter into cups and serve.
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