Estampas de Mi Ciudad – Tejate, the Drink of Kings

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Tejatera. Tlacolula, Mexico. Photo credit: Chef Aldo Saavedra

With the precision of a natural event, spring after spring, dozens of tejateras (ladies who make tejate) descend upon the village of San Andrés Huayapán, a town about 15 miles away from the city of Oaxaca. The big colorful clay pots signal the beginning of La Feria del Tejate (Tejate Festival), one of Oaxaca’s many tributes to this ancestral drink.

Tejate is made with corn masa, cocoa beans, mamey fruit and the flower of the cocoa plant, also called “rosita de cacao” (little rose of cocoa). Expert tejate drinkers usually agree that the thicker the foam made by this flower, the better the tejate.

This cold drink is served in small handcrafted containers or jícaras. Each drink  is as unique as the jícara that holds it, and as proud as the hands that make it. At first glance, tejate might seem a bit rough and perhaps even unappealing. One sip, and you will understand why this complex mix of flavors was the favorite of Zapotec kings.

Not in Oaxaca in April? Don´t worry. You can easily find this drink year round in any Oaxacan mercado, or around the city.

Tejate Festival

4 Responses to Estampas de Mi Ciudad – Tejate, the Drink of Kings

  1. sybaritica says:

    I’d certainly love to try that someday!

  2. Tracy López says:

    I’ve heard so much about Oaxaca the past 2 years from friends. I really want to go some day!

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