How to Make Spiced Mexican Coffee, the Surfer Way

May 5, 2016 12:54 pm Last Updated: May 5, 2016 1:39 pm
Most everyone needs a dose of caffeine to get going on early mornings—surfers included. To summon the energy to hit the first waves at dawn, Johannes Riffelmacher and Thomas Kosikowski, who surfed and cooked their way across Central and South America, didn’t really need too much.
Their method? Dig out the previous night’s coals (you did have a campfire on the beach, right?) to heat up some water, and throw in some fragrant spices with the coffee grounds to wake up the nose as well as the taste buds. Everything else will follow.
Cafe de Olla. (Thomas Kosikowski & Johannes Riffelmacher)
Cafe de Olla. (Thomas Kosikowski & Johannes Riffelmacher)

Café de Olla (Spiced Mexican Coffee)


What could be better than a hot, spiced Mexican coffee at dawn just before the day’s first surf session? We highly recommend it. We quickly added this ritual to our standard surf trip repertoire. Even if you’re in the middle of nowhere, heat water on the coals left from the previous night’s campfire and pour it through a bandanna or a piece of cloth instead of a filter. This coffee will give you the perfect start to your day. We know from experience.

Number Serves



  • 1/4 cup (50 g) brown cane sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • Peel from 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) coarsely ground coffee


In a pot, combine the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange peel, and 4 cups (1 liter) water, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coffee and bring it to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and let the coffee brew for 5 minutes. Pour the coffee through a fine strainer (or a bandanna or piece of cloth). Drink, wax your board, and surf.

(Recipe from “Salt & Silver” by Johannes Riffelmacher and Thomas Kosikowski, Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Andrews McMeel Publishing © 2016. All rights reserved. Images excerpted from “Salt & Silver: Travel, Surf, Cook” by Thomas Kosikowski and Johannes Riffelmacher. Used with permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing