The owner of La Orxateria has a deep love of horchata, and he’s betting Austinites will want it, too.
But that’s not all Manuel Flores’ shop sells. La Orxateria, which opened recently on Guadalupe Street, also offers other Mexican staples like agua fresca, paletas and — in these colder months — hot drinks like Rosemary Apple Cider and Mexican Hot Chocolate.
Flores opened the store after months selling his products at farmer’s markets around town, where he ran a paleta stand called Mom & Pops All-Natural Frozen Pops. He began selling horchata at the farmer’s markets in April, he said, but it was finally time to add a storefront to his family’s commercial kitchen to sell the horchata, agua fresca and frozen popsicles year-round.
“The agua frescas are something we had always dabbled in, and horchata is a bit of an obsession of mine. I wanted to bring it to Austin the traditional Spanish way,” he said.
Horchata is a milky-looking Mexican beverage brought over from Spain and commonly made with rice, cinnamon and sugar. But Flores wanted to return to the recipe of the Spaniards, who made horchata not with rice but with a little-known ingredient called the chufa nut. Americans know it as the tiger nut, he said. Tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts at all but tubers (underground root-like bulbs).
And they’re actually very healthy for you — one of the most nutritionally balanced things you can eat and high in vitamins and nutrients, he said.
Best of all, Flores doesn’t just have traditional horchata. He mixes the drink for fun variations, with items like Mangoxata and Cafexata on the menu. (There’s also one made the Mexican way, for you stalwarts out there.)
“We make small batches of the horchata here and then we serve it the traditional way or add it to cold-brew coffee or to chai, a chai tea we make here,” he said. “We are adding it to all sorts of different drinks and smoothies to make all these dairy-free concoctions.”
Visitors to La Orxateria can also order agua fresca flavors like cucumber lime mint, pineapple ginger and tamarindo, another traditional Mexican drink made from tamarind. The shop carries many of Mom & Pops’ usual flavors, usually about 20 of them available at a time, he said.
At 5460 Guadalupe St., near Lamar Boulevard, La Orxateria is located in a business park that Flores said gets “a lot of foot traffic, and we think this place will just take off.”
It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information, visit laorxateria.com.