Gallery: Snapshots from Valencia: How Horchata Is Made at the Món Orxata Factory

  • Washing

    tiger nuts being washed

    First, the tiger nuts are washed three times in water—damaged nuts that float to the top get removed—followed by a wash in a food-safe sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solution.


    washed tiger nuts

    This bin holds 50 kilograms of tiger nuts, which will turn into 250 liters of horchata.

    To the grinder

    tiger nuts in grinder

    The washed tiger nuts are dumped into another bin, brought up a chute, and dropped into a grinder.


    tiger nuts being put into mixer

    The ground tiger nut paste goes down another chute into a giant mixer.


    mixing tiger nut paste with water

    The tiger nut paste is slowly mixed with water.


    tiger nut water going through sieve

    The tiger nut-flavored water is passed through a sieve and collected in a large rectangular bin.

    Adding sugar

    adding sugar to tiger nut mixture

    Sugar is added and thoroughly mixed in. Super fresh horchata is ready!


    refrigerated container for horchata

    ...But since we're not drinking it now, the horchata is moved from the bin to a refrigerated container.

    Leftover ground tiger nuts

    ground tiger nuts

    A farmer collects the leftover ground tiger nuts to feed to donkeys and use as fertilizer.

    Horchata carts

    Horchata carts

    Món Orxata has about 30 carts to distribute horchata around Valencia, mostly in the summer. The carts can go pretty much anywhere since they only use ice to keep the horchata cold.

    Tiger nut field

    Tiger nut field

    Alboraya has optimal tiger nut growing conditions due to its sandy soil, mild weather, and easy access to water. Just around the corner from the Món Orxata Factory factory is one of their tiger nut fields. Tiger nuts aren't actually nuts, but small tubers of the plant Cyperus esculentus that grow underground like potatoes. The soil rests for two years in between tiger nut crops; here, onions are being grown in the "resting" field next to the field of tiger nuts.

    To pick the tiger nuts, the leaves are burned, the ashes are removed, and machines collect the tiger nuts from the soil. The tiger nuts are then washed and slowly dried. It takes about a year from when tiger nuts are planted to when they're ready to be made into horchata. For photos of tiger nuts being harvested, visit

    Tiger nut plant close up

    Tiger nut plant close up

    The end of each root grows into a tiger nut.

    Other tiger nut products

    Other tiger nut products

    Món Orxata doesn't make other products with tiger nuts in their factory, but they distribute other products made with their tiger nuts, like soap, oil, cookies, honey, and jam.

    Tiger nut and water mixture