Jamaica vs. HORCHATA


Candice Cugnier

Two popular Mexican drinks, Jamaica (on the left) and Horchata (on the right) clashing in midair.

When someone asks what is an authentic and well known Mexican drink, what drink pops into your head? If you said Horchata (or Mexican Coca-Cola), you are completely correct. Horchata is the iconic, famous, and prominent drink in all parts of Mexico.

Horchata was an alcoholic drink that originated in Spain, but since then, Mexico has created a highly preferred Mexican-style non alcoholic horchata drink of their own. Horchata is made out of rice, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Many say it tastes like rice pudding, but in a refreshing liquid form. Horchata is an agua fresca. The unique taste of the drink is neither milky or watery, but instead, its unique flavor is refreshing to sip on while having any type of Hispanic meal. A common Mexican food order is tacos with horchata because of how delicious the combo is to indulge in. Another popular drink to have with tacos is Jamaica, but the flavor of it cannot compare to the essential and authentic horchata drink. As a Hispanic myself, drinking horchata brings me back to Mexico’s roots and special flavors. 

In Journalism class, I brought Horchata and Jamaica for the class to taste test. 

“I like the flavor of the horchata more and I liked how it was creamy and milky,” said journalism student, junior Olivia Miller. 

There are many variations of drinks that include horchata, as many different cultures have introduced the flavor into their cuisines. Some boba shops have incorporated the horchata flavor into their boba milk teas and smoothies. Having tasted a horchata boba slush from a boba shop before, I can easily admit that it was very tasty and refreshing. Horchata in a slushy version is top tier because of the texture combined with the refreshing horchata flavors. I have also tried a “matchata” boba drink from It’s Boba Time. The drink had a horchata drink base and matcha top, which was very refreshing. The combination of both horchata and matcha was flavorful since both flavors compliment each other. Additionally, other boba shops, coffee shops, and even Dave’s Dogs sell horchata coffee. This goes to show how popular and better horchata is because it is able to be combined with other flavors to create mouthwatering drinks.

Several Hispanic stores also sell horchata paletas, bolis, and ice cream. There is even horchata shaved ice! All of these products are delicious and refreshing to enjoy on a hot summer day. My personal favorite is horchata bolis, which is ice cream in a plastic tube, with a popsicle-like consistency. Honestly, any cold dessert with horchata flavoring is delicious and well worth it because of how good it is. Another Mexican flavor combination is horchata with strawberry flavoring. This drink is an agua fresca as well and is called horchata de fresa. The drink tastes creamy and refreshing with the ingredients of horchata, strawberries, condensed milk, and cinnamon. 

Some may argue that Horchata is not as refreshing as Jamaica, but it is quite the opposite. Horchata is not overly rich like Jamaica and it is served iced cold, which is what makes it taste comforting and refreshing. While Jamaica is comparable to a bitter iced tea, horchata is sweet and refreshing. Jamaica is hibiscus, like a Starbucks refresher, but Horchata is authentic and rooted in Mexican culture. As you can see, Horchata is clearly the superior authentic Mexican drink compared to Jamaica.