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.
This bin holds 50 kilograms of tiger nuts, which will turn into 250 liters of horchata.
To the grinder
The washed tiger nuts are dumped into another bin, brought up a chute, and dropped into a grinder.
The ground tiger nut paste goes down another chute into a giant mixer.
The tiger nut paste is slowly mixed with water.
The tiger nut-flavored water is passed through a sieve and collected in a large rectangular bin.
Sugar is added and thoroughly mixed in. Super fresh horchata is ready!
...But since we're not drinking it now, the horchata is moved from the bin to a refrigerated container.
Leftover ground tiger nuts
A farmer collects the leftover ground tiger nuts to feed to donkeys and use as fertilizer.
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
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 tigernuts.com.
Tiger nut plant close up
The end of each root grows into a tiger nut.
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.