Growing up in El Paso, Manuel Flores fell in love with horchata, the creamy rice and cinnamon agua fresca that's as ubiquitous in that city as margaritas are in Austin. But it wasn’t until he tried orxata, the Spanish version of the popular drink, that he decided his love could be translated into a business.
La Orxateria — serving an assortment of orxata de chufa drinks, plus aguas frescas and paletas from Flores’ Mom & Pops line — opened on December 20 in the Lamar Business Park at 5460 Guadalupe St. near North Loop. Unlike most horchata in the area, La Orxateria's traditional Spanish recipe uses chufa (or tigernuts), the root of a plant in the sedge family that has a natural sweetness and plenty of antioxidants.
Flores' orxata recipe is the base for several different riffs on the original, including yaupon chai, cold brew coffee, mango, and a rice and cinnamon that harkens back to Flores’ youth. The aguas frescas flavors are equally eclectic, spanning classics like tamarind, cantaloupe, and watermelon to less familiar takes like hibiscus lavender and pineapple ginger. And for the winter, there are sippers like rosemary apple cider, Mexican hot chocolate, and a honey lemon ginger drink that is sure to soothe a seasonal cold.
The shop will also offer frozen treats from the company Flores runs with his wife, Laura. The pops have become a favorite of frequent farmers’ market shoppers for flavors that range from child-friendly (cherry lime, strawberry, grape) to decidedly more sophisticated (cucumber, cafe con leche, hibiscus mint).
Through the winter season, La Orxateria will be open from 9 am-7 pm daily. The pops are also available at In.gredients, the Natural Gardener, Mmmpanadas, and Garbo’s.