Mexican Coffee Meatball Soup — Sopa de Albondigas

February 24, 2021Tony Maggert
Mexican coffee meatball soup

Adding espresso turns the pedestrian meatball into a rock star of earthy, robust flavor in this Mexico-inspired soup.

Winter is hanging on across much of the United States, and it’s cold outside. What better way to make you feel all warm inside than to take your palate to the southernmost part of North America? The flavor of this Mexican-inspired coffee meatball soup is as bold as your personality, and if your personality isn’t bold, it will be after you make this recipe. 

Sopa de albondigas, or meatball soup, is a hearty and simple Mexican comfort food. Coffee is not a typical ingredient, but it contributes a unique acidity that helps balance out the herbaceous flavors of the dish. Adding espresso turns the pedestrian meatball into a rock star of earthy, robust flavor that your mouth probably never expected. You don’t taste coffee, but what happens is the espresso inputs a wonderful body that will leave everyone guessing what the magic ingredient is if they don’t already know.

This recipe marries coffee’s big-time flavor with the cozy taste of chocolate and spices. The chocolate — the word comes, via Spanish, from the Aztec Nahuatl word xocolātl — lends the soup a creamy, rich sweetness. And the mint, known as yerba buena, or “good herb” in Spanish, is another key ingredient.

Before you feel like this meal is meeting you with overwhelming force, know that even though the ingredients make for a long grocery list, this Mexican coffee meatball soup is actually a really easy dish to make.

Mexican Coffee Meatball Soup
Recipe by Tony Maggert. Graphic by Kenna Milaski/Coffee or Die Magazine.

Read Next: Eat Your Coffee: Espresso Burger Bombs

Tony Maggert
Tony Maggert
Tony Maggert is a retired Army contracting officer with 23 years of service, deploying three times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. Born in Indiana, he was raised in Florida where he joined the military in 1995. He’s been writing government contracts his entire adult life. When he retired, he had a burning desire to go to culinary school and enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. He lost his leg from an accident in Afghanistan in 2011, but being an amputee in the kitchen never stops him. After 23 years, 63 different countries, and having met thousands of people, he feels that food is the one universal language. His passion is food and teaching others that you, too, can make gangster food to feed yourself, friends, and family. His motto is “Give your culinary voice some volume and start cooking.”
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