Category Archives: Coffee of the week

Espresso Coco Loco

Temperatures are rising in Europe. On Monday, a usual roasting day for me, it was 31C outside! Not the nicest weather to roast coffee but once finished I pampered myself with my own version of Espresso Coco Loco. This is a quick and simple yet delicious recipe to refresh yourself. “Coco Loco” which means crazy coconut in Spanish is a traditional cocktail in the Caribbean. It is usually prepared with rum, coconut milk and ice. Some versions also add pineapple or lime juice, tequila or vodka. It is not strange that coconut milk and rum are the base for many cocktails (as Pina colada) because they go alone very well. Coconut milk gives a creamy texture to the drink while the rum provides the necessary boost.

Espresso Coco Loco

How to prepare Espresso Coco Loco

We need a double espresso, sugar, coconut milk, rum, ice cubes and a blender.

For the coffee prefer fruity or naturally processed coffees which combined with the creamy coconut milk will bring out a flavour that reminds of a milk shake with Caribbean flavours. I chose the Cariamanga Natural coffee from Engrano. This is a 100% Arabica, varietal tipica, dried processed with hints of cacao and nuts.

Brew a double espresso and pour it into the blender cup.

Double espresso

Mix it with some sugar. Then add two spoons of coconut milk, a small glass of rum (30 ml) and ice.

Two tablespoons of coconut milk
Add some rum

Blend it all together and then …. enjoy!


Ice Coffee

For the first time in many years we enjoyed a real summer in the Netherlands: sunny, dry, warm… for more than two days in a row. Since June the temperature raised and except for a few chilly days in August this was a warm summer.
But warm days are enjoyable when you are on holidays, not working. This summer, in our roasting room the temperature kept going up during roasting to as much as 38C. So how did we survive? With coffee of course!!

I like cold coffee as much as warm coffee, as long as it’s based on espressos. So here is a list of my favourite summer caffeine fixes.

Ice Espresso
Quick and simple, chill an espresso by adding ice cubes. I normally don’t add sugar to my espressos but when I am going to drink it iced, I do. I first brew my double espresso (60 ml) and then dissolve a little bit of sugar, usually 1/8 of a teaspoon and max 1/4 of a teaspoon. The sugar will provide a contrasting flavour.
Finally I pour the warm drink over ice cubes and voil√°.

Ice Espresso, simple and refreshing

Portuguese style
For a fresh twist go Portuguese and prepare a Mazagran. First brew your espresso with a strong full flavour coffee with less acidity as our Manabi Natural. Dissolve some sugar in the warm drink. Then place ice cubes in a glass, 3 or 4, and add a wedge of lemon. Pour the warm drink into the glass, let it chill for a moment before enjoying it.

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of sugar for a double espresso

Ice Latte
I like my ice latte to taste as coffee so I brew a double espresso (60 ml) for it. Again, I dissolve a small amount of sugar (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) in the espresso. I pour the warm drink in a blender. Then I add about the same amount of milk as espresso or slightly more, 60 to 80 ml. Top it with ice cubes, as many as you want. Blend and serve.
A variation of this drink is a shaken version, putting the ingredients into a cocktail shaker instead of a blender.
Another variation that we like is replacing the normal cow milk with almond milk for a different flavour that does not overpower the coffee taste. We sometimes also use chocolate milk instead of normal milk but then I do not dissolve sugar in the espresso since I find commercial brands of chocolate milk sweet enough.

Everything in the blender
Ice Latte!

This week we welcome autumn but as the temperatures are still on the warm side, we will still chill our espressos for a while, enjoy!

Cafe Bombon

In my continuing list of guilty pleasures this one is on my top 10. Cafe Bombon is originally from Valencia, Spain but it has gained huge popularity in Latin America and from my own experience it can at least be found in any coffee place in Ecuador.

It is simple to prepare: pour condensed milk into a transparent espresso glass and then brew your espresso on top. The transparent glass is just because it is fun to see the 2 layers: creamy and heavy in the bottom and black and thin on top.

Café Bombon

Mix the milk and the espresso gently with a small spoon and then enjoy the voluptuous texture and silky sweet flavour of this beverage. Some recipes say that the ratio between milk and coffee should be 1 to 1, thus the same amount of condensed milk as espresso, but it is up to you on how sweet or milky you want your drink.

This preparation may sound similar to Ca Phe Sua Nong, also known as Vietnamese coffee, but the extraction method is different. For Vietnamese coffee one pours 120 ml of coffee extracted with a Phin or filter pour-over method, and then add 2 tablespoons of condensed milk. This results in a creamy and sweet drink, yet less strong on the coffee.

Some interesting variations of Cafe Bombon include adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract for an extra flavour, or during summer, to pour the Cafe Bombon in the blender with added ices cubes and blend for a fresh yet sweet drink. The cold version of Vietnamese coffee, called Ca Phe Sua Da, is prepared by adding ice cubes to the warm version. No blender is used.

I like to replace the condensed milk with another Latin American wonder: dulce de leche. This gives a more decadent version: thicker, sweeter, deeper and almost-dessert beverage. Known as dulce de leche in Argentina, manjar in Ecuador and Chile, arequipe in Colombia this delight is a confection prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk.

Dulce de leche: sweet, soft, thick madness

As with the traditional Cafe Bombon, put some dulce de leche in a glass and then brew an espresso on top, then stir and enjoy. In case the “Dulce de leche” version is too sweet or heavy I add a bit of orange zest to add some freshness and acidity. It is already more a dessert than a coffee any way.

Cafe Dulce de Leche
Stirred not shaken

Cafe de olla: A Mexican tradition

Next week, on Monday 2nd November, Mexico celebrates the Day of Dead (Dia de muertos): a combination of prehispanic traditions in Mexico and the Catholic influence as the Catholic Church celebrates All Saint’s Day on November 1st and All Soul’s Day on November 2. But only in Mexico these celebrations became a festivity, a moment not only to remember those who have died but evem more to celebrate their life, legacy and memories. By celebrating with them, they remain with us!
Life and death are important symbols in Mexican culture.

The day of the death used to be a prehispanic celebration that, when the Spanish conquered what is now Mexico, was moved from summer to November 2nd. On this day we honour death: we show her that we are thankful and not afraid of her. Yet we show her in the most playful way that we rather stay away for her for as long as possible. The celebrations begin weeks in advance when families create a shrine at home, decorated in colorful paper, orange flowers called Cempazuchitl that flower around this time of the year, sugar skulls, pictures of the dead family members and their favourite food, drinks and possessions. On the day itself the cemeteries get these colorful decorations too and families go there with the Mariachi to play music next to the tombs. It is a party!

During this whole celebration time we eat a special sweet bread called “Pan de muerto” (bread of dead) that is decorated with little bread bones. And what better companion for sweet bread than warm coffee? So for the occasion we prepare one of Mexican finest traditions: Cafe de olla (coffee of the pot). It is called in this way because it is prepared in a big clay pot as a drink for the whole family. I will give you the recipe of my family, but reduced to make only 3 cups:

3 cups of water
3 tablespoons of coarse ground coffee
1 clove
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 orange peel (zest)
Small cone of “piloncillo” or about 30 gr of brown sugar (“Piloncillo” in Mexico, panela in other Latin American countries is unrefined whole cane sugar).

Let’s spice it up!

To prepare the Cafe de olla, first put the water, sugar, clove, cinamon and orange peel in the pot at high heat until boiling point, then lower to medium heat before adding the coarse ground coffee. Let it in the heat for around 5 mins. Then, sieve it through a fine cloth for the spices and the coffee to be retained. Serve the coffee in a traditional clay pot.
I choose a Mexican coffee for Cafe de olla, of course. I prefere to use a mild coffee to complement the flavour of clove and cinnamon, such as the Coatepec coffee from my store. This is a balanced coffee and rich in aroma. The added orange peel will give a fresh note to the beverage as well as a smooth sweetness.

Rich in aroma, smooth in flavour coarse ground Coatepec coffee

The smell of the spices combine with the coffee immediately reminds me of home!

Cafe de olla


It’s October and as the temperature in the Netherlands drops (though we still have to work our way through lots of rainy days usually) I feel more and more the need of warm coffee and warm chocolate, and so the inevitable question arises: why not combine the two of them? This creates one of my ultimate guilty pleasures: a chococcino!

Chocolate, cinnamon and coffee!

It is very easy to prepare, just think of a cappuccino but instead of regular milk use chocolate milk and follow the rule-of-thumb of “thirds”:

  • Prepare a standard espresso in a larger cup, so that the shot is about one third of its volume
  • Then add a third of hot chocolate milk
  • And finish up adding a third of steamed, frothed chocolate milk.

It’s clear to me that Dutch are chocolate milk lovers, because I have a wide variety of ready-to-drink chocolate milks in the supermarket that I can choose from. Of course the usual full fat, medium skimmed and skimmed chocolate milk, but additionally there is also for instance dark chocolate milk that is more bitter and less sweet than the regular chocolate milk.

So I use a ready-to-drink chocolate milk sold here in the Netherlands: I’m happy enough with its flavour and of course simply for easiness. But if you dont have such chocolate milk at home you can also use regular milk and cocoa powder. However, I have to warn you, depending on the cocoa powder, the amounts and composition, it will be easier or more difficult to steam the milk. If I use medium skimmed milk and pure cocoa powder to decrease my guilt, then it is not so easy for me to get a nice frothed chocolate layer on top of my chococcino. I cannot really understand why, maybe the cocoa powder adds fat to the milk that makes it harder to foam, I don’t know yet. But using for instance my favourite chocolate powder from Mexico with a hint of cinnamon, I can make perfect and delicious foam. I presume it’s just a matter of trying.

When using cocoa powder, be generous

And what about the coffee? Well, for this drink, to counterbalance the strong cocoa taste I like to use naturally dried coffees with a nutty tone, such as the Cariamanga Natural from my store ( . Using a mild coffee turns this drink into just hot chocolate and that is not the intention: the coffee should remain the star.

If you want to give an extra flavour kick then add spices! With chocolate and coffee I love to add cinnamon. But a little bit of orange zest is great too, or a tiny bit of vanilla…..

An indulgence, as a warm drink or a dessert. As soon as the weather cools down I spoil myself with a warm Chococcino!