“Assume Nothing!” A mantra for The Crown as we worked towards opening our doors in March of 2019, the phrase became a Menu section, encouraging our visitors to drop their preconceptions and be open to new, and delicious experiences. And now it’s the title of a recipe series, for you to recreate at home. Here’s to a year of assuming nothing!
Mocha de Olla
A twist on traditional sweet and spiced flavors of Café de Olla, using our delicious small-batch Cru Chocolate ganache.
- 20 grams of Cru Chocolate (we use a custom blend, but this Drinking Chocolate will work great!)
- 20 grams of Café de Olla Syrup
- 1 Shot of Espresso
- Steamed Milk
Set a 12oz cup on top of a scale and tare. Add 20 grams of Cru Chocolate ganache and 20 grams of café de olla syrup. Pull a 30-40 mL espresso shot (depending on the dial and the coffee you’re using) directly over the chocolate and syrup and pour. With a spoon, mix these ingredients together well. Prepare your milk and steam. Pour one quarter of your milk and stir to incorporate. Then top with the rest of your milk and your best latte art.
Café de Olla Syrup
- 1 cone of piloncillo (~230g)
- ~270g cane sugar (to equal 500g of sugar total)
- 1 L water
- 15 cinnamon sticks
- 3 rounded tbsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Peel of half an orange
(can be doubled to yield 2L)
Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves to a saucepan and toast on medium for 10 minutes. Add the water and sugar. Bring to a low boil and simmer for one hour. Turn off the burner, and add the orange peel. Steep for 10 minutes and then strain out spices. Watch out — the orange will get too intense if left in the hot syrup for too long!
Combine one part Cru Chocolate with one part hot water, and blend it well using an immersion blender.
Imagining how to serve café de olla in our bar, our Tasting Room Director Sandra Loofbourow decided to experiment with blending the traditional flavors of café de olla with our delicious small-batch roasted Cru Chocolate, and the amazing coffees we get to serve in our espresso menu. The result is this wonderful beverage that can please even the most exacting chocolate and coffee lover.
To create this beverage, we essentially start the recipe for our regular mocha, using an espresso shot, chocolate ganache, and steamed milk, but decrease the amount of chocolate and combine it with café de olla flavors, which we have infused into a thick, spiced syrup.
The reason why our Mocha de Olla is so delicious resides in its ingredients. To get a better understanding of the flavor profile and cultural significance of these two beverages, let’s start with a brief explanation of each of them.
Café de Olla
Café de olla is a spiced coffee drink that has been served in Mexico since the Mexican Revolution in 1910. During that time Las Soldaderas (the women who fought in the revolution) and the Adelitas (a generic way to name all women who participate in the war, primarily maintaining the camp and supplies) still followed the Mesoamerican tradition of spicing beverages. From these recipes came café de olla, which was meant to warm and energize the soldiers before the battle. To make it, they used a clay pot (olla) to toast cinnamon and cloves, before adding water with piloncillo (unrefined sugar) and orange peel. The coffee was added just before water started to boil. After a couple of minutes the blend may be strained and is usually served hot.
In our lab, we have infused café de olla flavors into a syrup by toasting cinnamon sticks and cloves, then adding cane sugar, piloncillo, water, and orange peels, and then boiling for approximately one hour. It’s then strained, cooled, and bottled.
Chocolate is native to America and plays a huge part of Mesoamerica’s rich tradition from the Olmecs, the Aztecs, and the Mayans — cultures that combine cacao with corn and spices to create beverages that remain to this day in Mexico and Central America.
The chocolate blend we use at the Crown is one that Karla McNeil-Rueda, owner of Cru Chocolate, created expressly for our tasting room. It’s worth mentioning the work that Karla has done to build Cru Chocolate, which includes partnering with producers in origin to roast and create incredibly tasty chocolate, as well as spreading knowledge to teach outsiders about this industry. If you want to know more about it, follow Cru Chocolate!