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El Botijo: summer’s most useful article

On a recent trip to my local Ferretería (Hardware store) in Antequera, I was duly waiting my turn, when I noticed the guy in front of me asking and paying for a “botijo”.

When my turn came, I asked my friend who runs the joint, Josema, what it was and what it was used for.

“Eso que ha llevado el compañero, para qué es?”

“Eso es el mejor invento que se ha diseñado jamás!” he replied.

“That thing the guy took, what’s it for?”

“That’s the best invention known to man”, he replied.

An ancient design with an unbelievably practical use. To keep WATER COOL IN SUMMER.

Staggered by the mere notion of it, I asked Josema to grab me one. He walked out back and re-appeared all smiles with a beautiful “botijo” in his hand.

“Here, that’s for you. Put it to good use.” He didn’t charge me for it. I see it as just another gift that this land of surprises has bestowed on me. It’s been my companion all summer.



Here’s how it works…

The botijo uses evaporative cooling to reduce the temperature of the water it contains, this is also how the human body cools down when it’s too hot. It’s the thermal energy that is produced when liquid evaporates; think of the human body sweating.

Summers most useful article


When we sweat the liquid on our surface area cools us down and the botijo works in exactly the same way, it is made from porous clay which works in the same way as skin and allows water to seep through its ‘pores’ which causes the cooling effect.

It can take up to two hours for the water inside the botijo to reach its minimum temperature, which depends on outside conditions such as temperature and humidity. They can reach temperatures of as little as 10-13 centigrade. What an amazing invention! Make sure you get yours for next summer. Available in all good ferreterías 🙂

NOTE: Before you use it for the first time, make sure you cure it (curarlo). You do this by filling in completely, being careful not to wet the outside, and leave the water to seep through the pores for 24 hours. Then, it will be ready for use.


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