Let's get caffeinated.
Ask anyone that’s stepped foot into a taqueria more than a couple times and they’ll surely be able to tell you all about the sweet, white, cinnamon rice drink typically served over ice. While horchata actually has global roots, in Tucson, we typically think of it as a Mexican drink. And it is. It’s just also popular in a different variations in other countries, too.
Made from a base of rice, water, and milk, ingredients such as ground nuts, seeds, and spices – like cocoa, nutmeg and cinnamon – will vary from recipe to recipe.
But just as chai tea has experienced countless variations and modern inspired interpretations, horchata is also being experimented with in new ways. Like, in coffee.
A good horchata coffee, served either hot or iced, comes down to balance. The perfect flavorful brew should leave you with a boldness from a good coffee bean and end on a sweet, creamy note from the cinnamon and rice components.
Here are seven local spots to sip horchata coffee for a refreshing (yet caffeinated) start to the day.
Barista del Barrio
1002 N. Grande Ave.
Barista del Barrio offers a couple of variations of horchata coffee — a horchessa (horchata and espresso served hot or iced) and a horchessa frappe.
The neighborhood cafe is well worth the visit for the coffee. While soaking up the warm aroma and bright taste, put in an order for a breakfast burrito.
Keep up with Barista del Barrio on Facebook.
Tumamoc Hill Road
Find Calle Coffee mobile truck Tuesday through Friday at West Speedway Boulevard and North Greasewood Road from 6:30 – 11:30 a.m. in summer. For a weekend treat, they’re situated at Tumamoc Hill from 7 – 11 a.m.
Their horchata latte is a long-standing best seller. This creamy concoction features equal parts horchata and iced coffee. Need something stronger? Get the horchata with a shot of espresso.
Keep up with Calle Coffee on Facebook.
Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress
311 E. Congress St.
Cup Cafe makes horchata in-house. To create their horchata latte, a single shot of espresso is added to the house blend and served with ice.
Cup Cafe’s latte is one of the stronger options on the list. Think coffee (sourced from local company Hermosa Coffee Roasters) with the lingering taste of cinnamon rice milk.
If you need something to pair it with, their rotating cake display is a sinfully sweet start.
For more information, visit hotelcongress.com.
The Little One
151 N. Stone Ave.
The Little One’s iced coffee chata is a half glass with horchata topped off with iced coffee. A splash of Mexican vanilla and sprinkle of cinnamon elevates the drink. The first sip of warm cinnamon is followed by the sweetness of the horchata and so the day begins.
Remember to bring cash and don’t forget to claim your hug before you leave!
Keep up with Friends of the Little One on Facebook.
130 S. Avenida Del Convento • 1765 E. River Rd.
Seis’ cochata blends house-made horchata and cold brew to create their smooth drink. You can’t forget the robust kick of cinnamon.
If you’re feeling peckish, their Street Tacos are a must.
For more information, visit seiskitchen.com.
Tucson Coffee Roasters
250 S. Craycroft Rd. • 3225 N. Swan Rd.
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The baristas at Tucson Coffee Roasters take a base of milk, add almond, vanilla, and cinnamon syrup, and a shot of espresso to create their horchata latte. Top it off with cinnamon and enjoy the light almond-horchata flavor.
The sweet and crunchy chocolate-covered espresso bean served with the drink is worth savoring.
For more information, visit tcroasters.com.
2510 N. Campbell Ave. • 2040 W. Orange Grove Rd., Ste. 104
Horchata Snow boba. That’s all you need to know.
While not the most authentic horchata drink out there (Bing’s uses a horchata syrup for the flavor), they do make a tasty, flavorful Horchata Snow flavored drink. The beverage is blended with milk and ice to create a frosty-yet-creamy consistency.
Pro tip: Add in coffee jelly rather than the classic tapioca pearls.
For more information, visit bingsbobatea.com.
Have a favorite spot for horchata coffee? Let us know in the comments.