Make this horchata cold brew to add some sugar and spice to your morning

Made with rice, brown sugar, and cinnamon, horchata is the ideal way to mellow out homemade cold brew concentrate

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published August 2, 2020 5:30PM (EDT)

Homemade Iced Dirty Horchata Coffee with Espresso (Getty Images)
Homemade Iced Dirty Horchata Coffee with Espresso (Getty Images)

During the height of summer, I tend to drink iced coffee from sunrise to just before dinner. While I tend to like my cold brew like jet fuel on ice, occasionally I want something to cut both the bitterness and the caffeine. Enter the horchata cold brew. 

Horchata de arroz — which is a traditional drink in Mexico and Guatemala — is made by soaking, straining, and sweetening rice and water. Mixed with cold brew concentrate, it adds a little sugar, spice, and creaminess to the blend (don't forget to add your cold brew ice cubes, too!). 

Plan ahead. Both the horchata and the cold brew concentrate need time to sit overnight, but trust me, it's worth the wait. 

Horchata Cold Brew


1 ½  cups of uncooked long grain white rice
¼ cup of sliced almonds, toasted
2 cinnamon sticks 
3 ½ cups of lukewarm water
½ cup of brown sugar
2 cups of milk — whole or almond 

Cold Brew Concentrate

1 ½  cups coffee beans, coarsely ground
4 ½ cups of water

For the horchata, place the rice, 1 cup of water sliced almonds, and cinnamon sticks in a high-powered blender or spice mill and pulse until the mixture is coarsely ground. You can also use a mortar and pestle if you prefer, but it'll just take a little extra time and elbow grease. Transfer to a large bowl, add the remaining water, and cover — allowing the mixture to chill in the refrigerator overnight. 

The next morning, add the milk and brown sugar to the mixture, then strain it through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher for storage. 

For the cold brew concentrate, combine the ground coffee beans and water in a large mixing bowl and allow it to sit, covered, for at least 12 hours. Use a cheesecloth or similar fabric to line a fine-mesh sieve, then strain the mixture into a large pitcher. 

Add ice to a glass, followed by ½ cup of horchata and ½ cup of cold brew concentrate. Give it a quick stir then garnish with powdered cinnamon. 


By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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Coffee Cold Brew Horchata Recipe