3 Unique Drinks: Mazagran, Cafe de Olla, and Einspanner

Beyond the typical menu items for cafes In Portugal, Mexico, and Austria There are many places to find these three classic drinks on the menu. We examine the background behind each of them.



Photos of Tanya Nanetti unless otherwise noted

We all know the basics of the coffee order as well as terms such as espresso, cappuccino, and latte. If you go to a cafe located in Portugal, Mexico, or Austria as well as the traditional drinks, you could discover local specialties available that you’ve not had before, such as the Mazagran, Cafe de Olla and Einspanner. These distinctive drinks are worth a try when you can and read about their stories and recipes.

Mazagran is a popular coffee drink that was invented in France which is now very popular in Portugal.

Mazagran, Portugal

Before the current trend of mixing coffee and citrus fruits There was Mazagran one of the very first iced coffees created. The exact background of its creation is lost to the time but there is an intriguing legend.

In the French assault on Algeria during the 1830s the small, outnumbered French regiment was captured by Algerians who held them captive in a fortress besieged by the Algerians in Mazagran which is a small town on the Algerian coast.

While being imprisoned in the outpost there was a shortage of resources and there appeared to be no effective method to beat the heat. Cutting coffee with brandy like normal was not possible. The soldiers came up with a different solution mixing coffee with lemon juice and cold water to drink a refreshing drink. This is how the Mazagran was born.

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When the Treaty of Tafna was signed in 1837, French soldiers returned to their homes, carrying the Mazagran Iced Coffee with them. For nearly a century, it was the norm to sip it at all fashionable Parisian cafes.

Then Mazagran was almost gone from French cafes, and then, somewhat unexpectedly, began appearing at Portuguese pastelerias (pastry shops) and cafes, using a recipe similar to the original.

Mazagran Recipe

For your personal Mazagran drink, fill a glass up with ice, then top it with your preferred coffee (long espresso or filter coffee is fine, typically with sugar added). Include the juice of freshly squeezed lemons and garnish the drink with a lemon wedge. If it’s late in day Add the rum!

Traditional Mexican clay pot referred to as an olla is what is what gives Cafe de Olla its name.

Cafe de Olla, Mexico

In the early 20th century in the Mexican Revolution, many women were involved in the battle on the front. They were referred to as Adelitas (from Adela Velarde Perez, nurse from Ciudad Juarez who treated injured soldiers) They were assigned an important and difficult job during the war. They carried soldiers’ baggage and cared for camps, and, most importantly, made sure that food supplies were properly organized.

To aid soldiers in fighting for long and exhausting days, the Adelitas developed the recipe, which included sugar, coffee and spices, which were mixed in a massive clay pot (the Olla that is what gave the coffee its name). The drink provided soldiers with the energy boost they needed, with a healing touch due to the mix of herbs, spices, and spice.

Cafe de Olla is easy to find in modern Mexico from small eateries along the road to cafes and local diners and is often cooked by Mexican families at home during Christmas festivities and during wintertime.

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Cafe de Olla Recipe

The current recipe is typically made using a small pot four cups of water, a half cinnamon stick and 3 12 oz. of dark brown sugar (many recommend the use of piloncillo which is a dark sugar with a flavor like Molasses).

At a low temperature cook until the sugar has dissolved Add four tablespoons of ground coffee switch off the flame, and stir. When you are done you can close the pot, and let it infuse for at minimum 5 minutes, then strain and serve.

Image alt=”An Einspanner served in a class on a counter.” class=”wp-image-52395″ height=”550″ sizes=”(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px” src=”https://how-to-brew.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/3-unique-drinks-mazagran-cafe-de-olla-and-einspanner-2.jpg” srcset=”https://how-to-brew.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/3-unique-drinks-mazagran-cafe-de-olla-and-einspanner-2.jpg 550w, https://how-to-brew.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/3-unique-drinks-mazagran-cafe-de-olla-and-einspanner-14.jpg 300w, https://how-to-brew.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/3-unique-drinks-mazagran-cafe-de-olla-and-einspanner-15.jpg 150w, https://www.baristamagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Einspanner-Photo-by-Seungwon-Lee.jpg 640w” width=”550″/>
Einspanner of the past, with its usual rich layer of whipped cream the top. Image taken by Seungwon Lee of Unsplash.

Einspanner, Austria

Absolutely different is the source of the Einspanner the delicious coffee drink produced in Vienna, Austria: Its name is derived from the traditional image of the coachman from one horse-drawn carriage.

In the past, Einspanners were similar to modern taxis and sat in cold Viennese alleyways waiting for customers in need of transportation. Austrian winters are cold and long, so the coachmen required something to keep warm. This is the way the legend says that Einspanner was born with a hot cup of coffee that was served with a thick layer whip cream (which would protect the coffee from cold so that it stayed warm) served in a glass with handles so that the coaches could hold it with ease, without the risk of spilling and also being able to grasp the reins in their other hand.

The cold whipped cream that was on the top of the Einspanner also served an additional, clever use when a customer suddenly arrived, the coachman was able to quickly drink the drink by pouring the hot coffee over the cold cream that was on top.

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Einspanner Recipe

To recreate the Einspanner at home, make an espresso that is hot and strong (a double espresso or a short concentrate filter can be used) in a glass, then serve it with cream whipped.

To help form the cream layer that sits on the top of the coffee slowly let the cream slide onto the side of a spoon placed just above the espresso just as you would do with the traditional Irish Coffee. To add sweetness, sprinkle it with a small amount of cocoa powder, and drink it without stirring to relish the contrast between cold and sweet, versus bitter and hot coffee. A total delight.

About the Author

Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a barista for specialty coffee who is a traveler, as well as a dreamer. When she’s not working behind the machine (or exploring a hidden area of the globe) she’s creating content for Coffee Insurrection which is a website dedicated to specialty coffees that she’s created with her boyfriend.

This article was first published at Barista Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to baristas and coffee professionals.

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