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Meet Tepache: The Bright, Refreshing Beverage We’ve Been Raving About

Ever heard of tepache? Don’t sweat it if not, ‘cause you’re in good company—it only came on our radar as of recent, but ever since, we can’t seem to keep a steady supply. (Yep, it’s that tasty.) 

While tepache may be relatively new to us, making this beloved beverage has been a craft in Mexico for hundreds of years. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we sat down with our friends at De La Calle—whose sole focus is tepache—to get the full scoop on this storied drink and its place in Hispanic culture. 

What is tepache?

Tepache (pronounced “teh-pah-che”) is a traditional Mexican beverage made by fermenting the whole pineapple— rind, fruit, and all! While its roots can be traced back to Mesoamerican era, no single source recipe can be found. The core ingredients of pineapple, cinnamon, and sugar, along with added spices and native fruits, allows for infinite versions and variations. This refreshing drink captures the essence of Mexican culture and tradition and can often be found in the hands of street vendors, beckoning passersby to share in the joy of this delightful drink.

The Down-Low on De La Calle

While they only recently came onto the scene, De La Calle is committed to honoring and drawing inspiration from the past. 

When Alex Matthews stumbled upon tepache while exploring Mexico City’s sprawling, vibrant produce and meat markets, he was immediately enchanted. With the help of his co-founder and third-generation tepache maker Rafael Martin del Campo, they dreamed up a completely unique recipe that commemorates tepache’s rich history while incorporating modern ingredients and techniques.

Tepache Making 101

The fermentation step is sometimes skipped over by other tepache makers, but De La Calle intentionally made it a cornerstone of theirs. They craft ferment their tepache over several days using a process that mimics how the beverage has been made for hundreds of years and yields modern rendition of co-founder Rafael’s abuela’s recipe which has been passed down over generations. 

So it remains as true to tradition as possible, De La Calle flavors their tepache using authentic ingredients like sweet Veracruz mangos, tangy tamarind, and earthy prickly pear, centering each of their flavors around a distinct region of Mexico. The result is a deeply delightful organic beverage with minimal sugar and maximum flavor that pays homage to its Mexican roots.

Yet another point in praise of tepache? Its uses extend beyond simply those of a beverage. Our favorite starting point for integrating tepache into everyday cooking are pork carnitas, a dish that, coincidentally, De La Calle holds close to its heart. On one of many trips through Mexico, Alex and Rafael noticed something: where there is a hot simmering pot of carnitas, there is sure to be a cold barrel of Tepache nearby.

De La Calle loaned us their go-to recipe for Pork Carnitas Tacos that puts tepache to good use as a core component of braised pork. Add a few cans to your next box (trust us, you’ll want more than just one) to cook up a celebratory spread for Hispanic Heritage Month—plus a few extras to enjoy as sips on the side.