Colombian Coffee Memories

Quad Shot Brownie CupcakesI have tried coffee in many parts of the world and in many parts of Peru. I certainly have a fondness for Colombian coffee. It was the first South American country I traveled to as part of a Christian Missions Team in 1993.

When I visited again with another team in 2000, I was thrilled to visit “the coffee country” once again. Our project that year included work on a somewhat-abandoned home that the hosts wanted to use as a center for kids and the elderly. When we arrived, we were shuttled off to a hotel because they had (gasp!) found a bat inside of the place.

The next morning, they took us and all of our things out to the fenced in abandoned-home. Did they get rid of the bat you ask? Here’s the funny thing, they figured there were so many, they would never get rid of them all so they figured we could just stay alongside the bats. (Ack!) We spent the week doing projects and intermittently killed bats of all sizes. We actually kind of hunted them for the first few days thinking we could rid them ourselves. No such luck!

Oh, and there was no running water on the premises either. So we were living in a bat infested abandoned home with no running water, what seems like a zillion mosquitoes and heat that rivaled India! Mind you, I know it sounds horrible but truthfully all of us had a great time, we accomplished several projects and went home satisfied that we had served the missionaries in Colombia to the best of our abilities.

So back to my indulgence…because we were living with luxurious accommodations and room service was at our every beckoned call…oh, that was in my dreams!…

There were a few working electrical outlets in the house we stayed at. Or now that I think back, maybe there was just one running from the ceiling with an extension cord hanging down partway to the floor in the doorway of the room the guys slept in (did I mention we were on mattresses on the floor?). Every morning, I would get up before the rest and have some time to read the Bible while drinking a cup of coffee.

I would connect the coffee pot to the hanging extension cord and place it on one of the benches to brew my morning cup. My dear friend, one of the hosts, was kind enough to lend me her coffee pot for this purpose and also provided me with a cup to drink from each morning. Not a mug, a plastic cup. I have no recollection why I borrowed the plastic cup instead of the mug…maybe the memory was too painful I blocked it out?

Once the coffee was ready, I would pour it in the plastic cup, my fingertips burning to the touch. At the time, I was obsessed with flavored creamers. But, in Colombia, all I could do was sprinkle a little sugar into the brew since we had no refrigeration and no way to take my cinnamon vanilla creamer down with us!

My morning coffee ritual helps me to start off my day, even now. But, thankfully the coffee pot connected to the hanging cord with the hot plastic mug experience has been put behind me. Now, I faithfully use my French press and enjoy memories of Colombian coffee with treats like this.

Quad Shot Brownie Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 12

Source: Inspired by Glenn's Recipes


  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of instant espresso or coffee powder
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of Colombia's Crema de Cafe (substitute Kahlua)
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of instant espresso or coffee powder
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of Colombia's Crema de Cafe (substitute Kahlua)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Heat water and espresso powder in a saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve. Add sugar and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to boil. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup chocolate chips until smooth. Cool slightly. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in flour mixture and spoon into lined cupcake tins.
  3. Bake at 350F for 20 to 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely.
  4. FROSTING: Heat cream and espresso powder in small saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve espresso. Add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, stir in powdered sugar. Chill until frosting is of spreading consistency. Spread onto cupcakes.

Quad Shot Brownie Cupcakes are for Laurie at Quirky Cupcake (well in the end they are actually for her husband’s birthday…today…Feliz Cumpleaños!) for January’s Cupcake Hero!

Gretchen Noelle

My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country. Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.

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7 Responses

  1. eatme_delicious says:

    Oooo these look so good! I love the last shot where you can see the inside of the cupcake. It looks so dense and moist!!

  2. ley says:

    Wow, these look great! The icing job is so pretty, too…I love the swirlyness! lol. YUM.

  3. Karen says:

    Yum Yum! I love the name of these cupcakes.

  4. How To Eat A Cupcake says:

    I love the photos! Nice 🙂

  5. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Eatmedelicious – these were incredibly tasty! Thanks so much!Ley – Thanks! I did intentionally swirl.Karen – Ha! Thanks! How To Eat – Thanks!

  6. Tempered Woman says:

    Oh my gosh~ those look sinfully good! Love the candle too, very sweet. I could seriously down a half dozen of these without thinking about it. They seem like the perfect coffee accompaniement! (is that a word? oh well…) Great job!

  7. Mary says:

    What a great story! And I could totally eat the entire batch of those cupcakes! They look so dark and rich and delicious.

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