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Saturday, October 16, 2021 — Houston, TX °

Rice Coffeehouse celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with new items


Josh Davis/Thresher

By Sydney Park     9/21/21 10:45pm

When walking from Fondren Library to Rice Coffeehouse on a Saturday afternoon, don’t be surprised by the vast number of students that pass by sharing bright neon orange drinks and pieces of delightfully warm, sweet dough. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Rice Coffeehouse is serving housemade mangonadas and locally supplied conchas through Oct. 15. A portion of the revenue from these new items will be donated to the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Series.

In valuing sustainability and honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, Coffeehouse has selected TEJAS to donate part of these new products’ profits to. TEJAS focuses on environmental justice work and advocacy, supporting local Latin American communities in Houston with dual language presentations in cases with the Environmental Protection Agency, mitigating pollution and more. Their leadership is completely Hispanic, so naturally, it was fitting that Coffeehouse chose to support their organization in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The mangonada, a new take on Rice Coffeehouse’s mango smoothie, consists of the smoothie itself topped with chamoy and tajín seasoning. Chamoy is a spiced sauce typically used in Mexican cuisine, while tajín consists of lime, salt and chile, which provide nice subtle hints throughout the drink. Both ingredients together add a touch of spicy flavor, which contrasts quite nicely against the sweet, cool mango. It’s light, refreshing and highly reminiscent of summer. The mangonada can be purchased as a medium for $3.50 and a large for $4, and $0.25 per drink will be donated to TEJAS. 

Unlike the mangonada, which has been popularly sold in previous years at Coffeehouse, the conchas are a brand new seasonal addition to the menu. Conchas, a traditional Mexican pastry, are offered in both vanilla and chocolate flavors Friday through Sunday for $1.50 each, and $0.50 per concha will go to TEJAS. 

Emily Weaver, the food manager and eco-rep at Coffeehouse, played a large role in bringing the conchas to the Rice community. 

“Growing up, I would go to bakeries and get conchas and I really liked them,” Weaver, a Jones College senior, said. “As soon as I brought the idea up to the management team, a lot of people were really excited about it.” 

In order to source conchas from local panaderias — Mexican bakeries — in Houston, Weaver worked closely with the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice to set up a weekend pick-up system with La Casa Bakery throughout Hispanic Heritage Month. During the weekend that the new items launched, Weaver reported that she bought 48 conchas for the weekend but sold out completely by Friday at 2 p.m. 

“I went back and got three dozen more [Saturday morning], and we sold out of those [too],” Weaver said. 

As the food manager, Weaver said that she was surprised at how fast the conchas were gone, as food products at Coffeehouse typically take longer to sell. 

“I think people are just really excited to either try something they grew up eating or try something that they’ve never had before,” Weaver said. 

The vanilla concha itself has a cinnamon sugar shell, warm, sweet interior and notes of nostalgia with each bite. It embodies that feel-good, homemade quality and care that makes the pastry special.

Within the first weekend, both products have gained lots of traction, and their popularity shows no sign of slowing down in the weeks to come. Stop by Rice Coffeehouse sometime before Oct. 15 if you’re looking to spice it up from your usual Nutty Bee. 

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