Horchata is a popular, refreshing drink consumed in Spain during the hot summers. It is made from the tubers of the nut sedge plant and in Spanish these are called chufas, hence the name horchata de chufa. Horchata has a white, milky appearance and is served ice cold.
Today horchata is available to consumers in restaurants, cafes and supermarkets. The are several brands of commercially-produced horchata, which may be sold pasteurized, sterilized or in powder form. The most common form is probably pasteurized bottles found in supermarkets.
More About Chufas
The chufa is a brown tuber that comes from the root of the nut sedge plant, or Cyperus esculentus. It has several names in English, including “earth almond” and “tiger nut.” It is sweet and starchy and tastes very much like almonds or hazelnuts. Chufas or tiger nuts are actually healthy food! According to the Regulating Council of Denomination of Origin "Chufa de Valencia", they are high in unsaturated fatty acids and are good for skin and hair. Tiger nuts are about 25% fat, 30% starch and 7% protein and are rich in fiber to boot!
Tiger nuts were introduced by the Moors and are primarily grown in the Community of Valencia, in eastern Spain. In order to make the horchata, chufas must be harvested, cleaned and slowly dried over a 3-month period. They are then ground and mixed with water, sugar and sometimes lemon juice before going through a filter process to become horchata.