Posted in Kafevend Blog

You might expect to go to Mexico and be met with tequila at every turn, but there's plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives with coffee, chocolate and tea on the drinks menu too. Coffee is grown in many regions of Mexico, but the finest grade is 'Altura', which means high grown. The state of Chiapas in the Sierra Madre Mountains, with its optimum climactic conditions, is where the very best is produced. The high grown coffees of Chiapas are renowned for their good acidity and deep milk chocolate tones.

The best Mexican coffee is invariably reserved for export and Mexicans themselves are far more likely to drink instant. However,when Mexicans do decide to brew a pot of coffee a popular addition is cinnamon, which creates a distinctive flavour and helps to lower acidity into the bargain.

The name for this cinnamon coffee is café de olla which translates as coffee of the pot. Water, piloncillo (a raw, brown Mexican sugar), cinnamon sticks and freshly ground coffee are combined in a large pot and brought to the boil, then occasionally stirred while simmering. The brew is then strained through a sieve and can be served with warm milk or cream.

Tea has traditionally played a more medicinal than thirst quenching role in Mexican culture, with various tisanes or herbal brews being drunk to alleviate minor ailments or simply to promote good health. Indigenous herbs have been brewed for centuries to this end.

With Mesoamerica being the cradle of the cocoa bean, you'd expect hot chocolate to play a part in the national culture and you'd be right. Mexicans make champurrado, which is a chocolate atole made with corn flour, Mexican chocolate, piloncillo (that Mexican sugar again), water/milk and cinnamon. It combines to create a thick chocolatey drink which is often served up at breakfast with churros, as in Spain.

by Kafevend

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