Friday, July 20, 2012

Tepache Frumex

It seems as though it has been some time now since I have had a truly "new" beverage. I have been going through a bit of a dry spell, as the town in which I am currently living does not have a wide beverage selection, and I have exhausted most of it at this point. However, during a recent visit with some friends of mine, I was given a bottle of Tepache Frumex to take home and try. Having never had any sort of Tepache before, I was pretty excited about the opportunity to try something truly new again.

And luckily, the drink did not disappoint. For those who are unfamiliar with Tepache (as I was before receiving the drink), it is a Mexican spiced cider made out of pineapple and sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon, among other spices. Tepache is sometimes made with alcohol (usually a bit of beer), but the Tepache Frumex that I was given is a non-alcoholic version of the Mexican favorite. 

The drink itself is actually a little bit hard to describe. If you've never had a spiced cider before, it is not really a flavor that can be inferred simply by talking about it. It definitely has the taste of a spiced cider, and the distinct sweetness of the brown sugar is present, but not overbearing. Brown sugar has a tendency to suddenly ruin everything the second that one grain too many is added, so I was relieved to find that the brewers at Frumex seem to understand its strange power and have proportioned it accordingly. The cinnamon (and other spices) is noticeable, as well, and all of the different tastes combine very well together into a mildly exotic, tropical flavor. I say "mildly" exotic because while it is a Central American specialty, none of the ingredients are particularly unfamiliar to the North American diet. Additionally, the drink is a little bit on the heavy side (perhaps due to the large-scale production and pre-bottling of Tepache Frumex in particular), which makes it feel a bit more like a home-style comfort beverage rather than a fascinating drinking experience that you would stumble across during your travels to a new and exotic locale. 

But these are not meant at all to be negative qualities. I actually really like the "coziness" of Tepache Frumex, and I think that it gives the beverage a very specific character. The drink feels intentioned and purposeful, and although some might find it relatively regular or unspectacular when compared to some of the more rare and exorbitant experiences to be had when sampling beverages from other cultures, I think that Tepache Frumex is a prime opportunity to sample the routine. The true underpinnings of any culture are to be found not in the complexities of its advertised spectacle, but in the mundane behavior of everyday society. 

Tepache Frumex just feels authentic that way. But, to be fair, my palette is yet untrained with regard to the beverage. I am sure that anyone accustomed to a "true," homemade Tepache would take umbrage with my enjoyment of the distributed version, but I found it to be quite good, regardless. 

Just keep an eye out for it, and decide for yourself one day.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Not sure
Size: 12 fl. oz.
Price: Didn't ask (after all, that would have been rude)


  1. You are right about the Frumex Tepache. Unusual and delightful. If you found it in the bottle you showed, good for you. Unfortunately, Frumex has changed the formula and the bottle. Now the bottle has no green color in the label even though the design is the same. Now it is made from fermented pineapple juice instead of fermented pineapple extract (skins and pulp). It lists juice content as 10% instead of 12%. Needless to say it is not as tasty. All the character is gone from this new formula. Yuk.

  2. This product seems to have changed formula this year, with pineapple juice replacing the pineapple pulp, and less juice overall. Maybe if enough people try this (its at various discount markets including Grocery Outlet in California this week), and then the new version, and prefer the old, the market for this to Gringos like me will encourage them to reverse their decision, ala New Coke

  3. Who knew there was a plant with a flower like an explosion of flame, which produces a beautiful but short-lived fruit with the appearance of a brilliant pink rosebud? This is the pitya – dragon fruit – indigenous to Central America but is also grown and exported from several Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam. Obtained from several cactus species, its succulent stem provides the uniquely delicious fruit with moisture in the arid climates where it grows.

    Some dragon fruits have red or yellow skin (which looks a little like a soft pineapple with spikes) and white or red flesh, but always the beginnings of overlaid leaves, similar to an artichoke, and an abundance of small, black, edible seeds. The flavor is mildly sweet, like a blend of kiwi and pear, and it has a crunchy texture.

    While it may seem a little strange at first, it's easy to get to the fruit. Simply slice lengthwise and either scoop out the flesh, or quarter it and peel back the leathery skin. Eat only the white part with seeds, removing any residual pink parts, which are bitter.

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