You can find kombucha at just about any grocery store you go to, but it can be tough getting past its funky flavor just to make your gut happy. So what if we told you there was a bubbly alternative that’s just as rich in natural probiotics (sorry, functional soda) and a million times tastier? Introducing tepache, an ancient Mexican beverage that’s been remixed, canned and brought stateside by De La Calle. Read on for details about your new favorite fizzy drink, plus our honest take on each of the brand’s core flavors.
De La Calle’s Canned Tepache Is the Probiotic Drink You Didn’t Know You Needed
- Value: 18/20
- Functionality: 20/20
- Quality: 19/20
- Aesthetics: 20/20
- Taste*: 18/20
What Is Tepache?
Tepache is a tangy, sweet-tart drink made from pineapples. It’s traditionally made by fermenting the fruit (the flesh and rinds) with water, unrefined brown sugar (aka piloncillo) and a variety of spices and other fruits for a few days. As a result, the drink is packed with natural prebiotics and probiotics and effervescent. The popular Mexican street beverage has countless variations, as it’s existed for hundreds of years. It’s a healthier alternative to carbonated beverages that are loaded with sugar, like soda. Some people compare tepache to kombucha since they’re both fermented and beneficial to the digestive system, but tepache contains less sugar and is naturally flavored. (It’s also less funky than kombucha, since it contains less acetic acid and more lactic acid.)
While pineapples have been cultivated in Mexico since 700 B.C., tepache was originally made with corn. That version, now called tejuino, still exists, but the Aztecs likely started using pineapples to make it in the pre-1400s. Tepache is often enjoyed ice cold in a plastic baggy and purchased from street stalls or tepacherías in Mexico, like agua fresca. It’s also delicious mixed with tequila or mezcal.
De La Calle is a line of traditional, functional tepaches, and it’s the first of its kind to hit the U.S. market. The organic drinks are tasty and authentic since their recipes come straight from co-founder and Mexican native Rafael Martin Del Campo’s abuela. The canned bevs star fermented, organic pineapples, as well as wholesome mix-ins like mango purée, orange juice, apple extract and fresh tamarind.
Not only are the drinks packed with gut-boosting probiotics and prebiotics, but each can also contains just 40 calories and 7 to 8 grams of sugar to boot, thanks to the addition of erythritol. (They’re also rich in antioxidants and vitamins C and D.) In our book, it’s not too far off from seltzer in the calorie department, but it’s a million times more flavorful and full-bodied, plus offers digestive perks other zero-calorie drinks don’t. (And it pairs beautifully with tacos.)
Four exciting new flavors just joined the ranks today: Watermelon Jalapeño, Chamoy, Cactus Prickly Pear and Grapefruit Lime. It’ll cost you $47 for a 12-pack of tepache, or about $4 a can (though you can save 10 percent on every order by subscribing). It’s a bit pricey, but it’s really the only product of its kind on the market right now. You can also see if De La Calle is available at a store near you using their online locator.
If you’d like to start with the core flavors, read on for our reviews before filling up your cart.
1. Tradicional Pineapple Spice
This is De La Calle’s take on the O.G. street tepache. Think fresh, zingy pineapples mixed with turbinado sugar, agave and just a touch of cinnamon. On the nose, it’s tart, tropical and a little astringent, like a pineapple cocktail. The cinnamon shines through beautifully at first sip, making the flavor reminiscent of a pineapple dessert tart or curd. In short, it’s pleasantly tart and refreshing, and we’re dying to sip it poolside.
2. Original Ginger Manzana
3. Picante Mango Chili
One whiff and you’ll be won over by the jammy, inviting aroma of mango sorbet. As sweet as it smells, its flavor is tart and refreshing, not cloying. Chili and cinnamon extracts offer some mild heat, but we were hoping for a spicier profile, given the name. Nevertheless, we’ll be spiking it with jalapeño tequila and lime juice.
4. Moderno Orange Turmeric
When it comes to healthy drinks, this flavor combo never gets old. Crushed oranges meet peppery turmeric for a juicy bev that would work great as a mimosa topper. The turmeric is pleasantly forward, offering slightly bitter, nuanced flavor, while the orange tastes legitimately fresh-squeezed and light.
5. Regional Tamarind Citrus
Haven’t had the pleasure of tasting tamarind before? It’s a fruit that’s beloved across Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and beyond for its sweet-and-sour flavor. Here, its tartness comes front and center with the help of pineapple and orange, while a distinct earthiness will have you going back for a second and third investigative sip right away.
*Our final taste score was based on the average of the tepache taste test scores.
The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you can know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.