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Café Horchata

The second brutal heat wave of summer demanded an adequate response: horchata. Made with a little espresso to beat the heat, this beverage made for a refreshing lunch & ice-cream substitute. A little shaved dark chocolate never hurt, either.

Horchata as we know it owes its origins to Africa; they brought a version of this beverage to southern Spain in the Middle Ages (horchata de chufa) for “cooling” off during hot weather. And what’s interesting is that its roots date back centuries in the region.

Horchata is equally delicious in all forms, and in my opinion nothing beats a well made Mexican horchata.

In Valencia Spain, it’s made with tiger nuts, and in Mexico it’s made using rice milk.

Since I didn't have tiger nuts -- which by the way aren't actually nuts, but tubers-- I used almonds. It resulted in a frothy beverage that's vegan, dairy-free, protein-packed and delicious.


Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cups ice, divided into two serving glasses and beverage shaker

  • Blender

  • Cocktail Shaker

  • 4 oz coffee, brewed strong

  • 2 cups Marcona almonds or similar

  • 7 cups filtered water

  • Nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer and large spoon for pressing

  • Brown sugar or agave, to taste

  • Cinnamon

  • Sea salt

  • Pinch red chile, like New Mexican red chile or similar

  • Dark chocolate shavings, to garnish


Almond Cream

Step 1: Soak

In a large bowl, soak 2 cups of almonds in some filtered water overnight. Then, drain and rinse.

Step 2: Blend

Blend 7 cups of filtered water and 2 cups of soaked almonds, and purée 30 seconds to 1 minute until frothy and milky.

Step 3: Strain

Using a nut milk bag or fine mesh sieve, drain all the almond pulp (save it for use afterwards!) and squeeze out all the cream into a bowl. Pour into a jar or pitcher, and refrigerate to chill.

You will have quite a bit of almond cream leftover that you can use for cereal, in coffee and as a dairy replacement.

After you've made the almond cream...

In a cocktail shaker, add the following, agitate until frothy, & strain into a serving glass:

  • 1.5 cups almond cream

  • 1/2 cup ice

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 oz. Mexican coffee

  • pinch of chile powder

  • pinch of sea salt

  • agave or brown sugar (or piloncillo), to taste

Garnish with dark chocolate shavings and cinnamon, and enjoy!

This makes one serving.


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