For Back of the Yards Coffee’s co-owner Jesse Iniguez, café de olla — Mexico’s sweet, cinnamon-and-citrus-peel-spiked solution for keeping guests caffeinated at large gatherings — calls up warm memories. “Every time I catch the smell of canela (Mexican cinnamon) permeating the room, it reminds me of my grandmother,” he says. But making the coffee in massive batches per tradition isn’t practical for an everyday fix, so Iniguez had an idea: stirring Mexican-cinnamon-infused simple syrup into an overnight cold brew made from citrus-scented beans (like the shop’s 47th Street Blend) for a cool café de olla that retains the spirit of his abuelita’s.

Jesse Iniguez’s Café de Olla Cold Brew

Makes:1 serving
Active time:10 minutes
Total time:13 hours
Special equipment:16 oz. Mason jar with lid, paper coffee filter, fine-mesh strainer

1 cup Freshly roasted coffee beans, ground very coarsely
1 Canela stick (available at Cermak Produce), crumbled
1 cup Brown sugar
  Dairy or alternative milk, optional
  Orange peel, for garnish

1. Place ground coffee in a Mason jar and top with 1 cup cold water. Stir well to ensure all coffee is hydrated. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours (or up to 18 hours for a stronger brew).

2. While coffee brews, combine canela and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add sugar, stirring to dissolve fully. Strain syrup into a measuring jug or bowl and set aside.

3. Place a coffee filter in a mesh strainer set over a pitcher. Carefully tip the contents of the cold brew jar into the filter. Allow liquid to run slowly through the grounds until dripping stops and around ¾ cup of coffee has accumulated, 30 to 45 minutes. Discard spent grounds.

4. Clean the jar and fill it with ice. Pour in filtered cold brew and dilute to preferred strength with additional cold water. (Iniguez recommends adding at least ¼ cup.) Stir in ¼ cup simple syrup, followed by a splash of milk if desired. (Remaining syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.) Garnish with an orange peel.