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TEPACHE- The Delicious Fermented Pineapple Beverage

A quick and wild ferment- no cultures required!

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by Jody Gowans in Beverages, Recipes
May 22, 2017

Pineapple- the fruit is great, but don’t toss the peel!

I love pineapple, and enjoy it year-round, adding it to milk kefir smoothies for extra sweetness, and my kids enjoy it as a sweet snack. There are so many uses for this tropical fruit-from baked goods, to grilling it on the BBQ, and adding it to fresh salsas for an extra dimension of flavour.  But the possibilities don’t end with the fruit -before you toss the pineapple peel and core in your compost bin, try making the fermented beverage, tepache, instead.  It’s easy to make, a great alternative to kombucha, and doesn’t require any cultures to get it started.

What is Tepache?

Tepache is a fermented pineapple drink popular in Mexico.   Slightly effervescent, tepache is refreshing and cider-like with a sweet pineapple aftertaste.  It is made using water, sugar and pineapple (whole or just the rind).  Tepache is a wild ferment- the yeast and bacteria naturally present on the pineapple are responsible for the fermentation process so no additional cultures are needed.   It is also a quick ferment (4 days maximum- any longer and it will turn to vinegar). 

Tepache

Tepache

Tepache is best served very cold, and has become a popular ingredient for cocktails (with rum, tequila, mexican beer…).  Try it today, and you’ll want to keep a bottle in the fridge for a refreshing treat on hot summer days!

Back deck tepache!

Back deck tepache!

 HOW TO MAKE TEPACHE

Fermentation time: 4 days

INGREDIENTS

sugar, cinnamon stick, pineapple peel & core

sugar, cinnamon stick, pineapple peel & core

  • One ripe pineapple
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • 1 cup sugar (piloncillo, turbinado, brown or Sucanet)
  • cinnamon stick and/or whole cloves (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash and dry pineapple.  Cut off top and discard
  2. Remove peel, leaving a little extra fruit on the peel.  Cut out core.  Reserve fruit to eat later.
  3. Dissolve sugar in water.  Add pineapple peels and core and add more water if necessary to fully cover.  Use a fermentation weight to keep peels and core submerged under the sugar water.

    add peel and core to sugar water

    add peel and core to sugar water

  4. Cover the top of the jar with a coffee filter or clean cloth.  Leave at room temperature for 3-4 days.  It will become cloudy and develop a harmless white foam that can be skimmed off.  

    3 day-old tepache

    3 day-old tepache

  5. Strain finished tepache into bottles and refrigerate. It will smell a little musty, but the taste will not be strong.
  6. For extra fizz, do a second fermentation (closed bottle) for an extra day or 2.
  7.  Tepache is best served cold.  Cheers!

    Tepache on the rocks

    Tepache on the rocks

36 Comments
  1. Lisa says:

    Hi. I made a batch. But the pineapple was very ripe, and now it tastes to sweet. Ptoblem is i put it in a bottle in the fridge yesterday. Is it then possoble to take it out and put it in a warm place for more fermetation after that?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Lisa- yes, you can take it out of the fridge to continue fermentation. Cooler temperatures do not kill the microbes. Just be careful to check on the pressure and not leave it to ferment for more than 2-3 days.

  2. Richie J says:

    I use 1 cup brown sugar and half cup honey. I add about eight star anise and let it ferment for at least a week. Do the second ferment for about 4 of the seven to ten days. Delicious, an acquired taste for some. I try to always have a brew going.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Nice- sounds delicious! I love star anise!

  3. Pavi says:

    My climate is very hot here. Just one day and my tepache is with full foam. Doesn’t tatse sweet too. Does it mean it’s ready??

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Pavi- high temperatures will definitely accelerate the fermentation. You can try and leave it one more day, or go ahead and strain and decant the tepache into bottles. If you want to do a 2nd fermentation (in sealed bottles), I would do it for maximum 6 hours instead of 12 and refrigerate immediately.

  4. Joe says:

    Hello Jody, I have my first batch brewing as we speak, there is tons of white foam building up on the top and it’s day 3 now. It taste amazing already. I was wondering if I did want to ferment longer, could I add more sugar to allow say a week to ferment? Another thing I was wondering, does using an overly ripe pineapple to ferment make any impact on the drink?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Joe- It sounds like things are coming along well. If you like the taste of your tepache, you can stop at day 3. Tepache is a quick ferment, and the riper the pineapple, the more active the ferment (riper pineapples are higher in sugar). If you were to add sugar and ferment for longer, you will raise the alcohol level.

  5. Claudia says:

    Hello and thank you for sharing this yummy tepache recipe! Can you tell me the size of the jar you use? Is it 1/2 gallon or 1 gallon? Thank you!!!

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Claudia- My pleasure! I use a 1 gallon jar.

  6. John Sanko says:

    Hello Jody,

    Profesional brewer here. Be careful fermenting in sealed bottles with no means to check the pressure. You might have been creating tepache bombs without knowing and you just have been lucky. I had terrible experiences doing precisely this and with just 1 day of bottle fermenting.

    Your recipe is great btw, I would only add that cleaning you brewing equipment with hot boiling water will make it less easy for aceto bacter to do it’s thing.

    Cheers!

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi John-thanks for the input. Sounds like you have had some hyper active tepache ferments! I have never had an explosion, but I do know that tepache is a very active ferment. It is best to do a second fermentation for no more than 2 days to avoid any excessive CO2 buildup and to burp it as well as an extra precaution.

  7. Maria says:

    Hi. Do you know what kind of probiotics and yeast is in tepache?
    I wondering if is safe to drink for candida over grow. Thanks

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Maria, from my research, I learned that the yeast found in tepache is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This is a wild yeast found growing on the skin of grapes and other fruit. I did read a study indicating the presence of some LAB bacteria, but the study was inconclusive as to the probiotic benefit and there are not many studies available.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4576967/

  8. Tina Isaakidis says:

    Can you make more tepache from store-bought tepache, similar to noon-flavoured store-bought Kombucha?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Tina- I have never had store-bought tepache. Some commercial beverages can be pasteurized or are not as viable as homemade brews. I would advise following this recipe and using the ingredients listed. There is enough yeast present on the pineapple rind to kickstart the fermentation process- no additional starter is needed.

  9. James says:

    After making pineapple beer is it possible to add sodium benzaete when bottling in order to stay long

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi James- there is no need to add any additional agents to preserve the tepache. The tepache is preserved by the beneficial microbes that were involved in the fermentation process. I have bottles of tepache in my fridge that are from 6 months to a year old and they are fine and delicious! Adding sodium benzoate or any other preservatives would kill off these beneficial microbes.

  10. kim taylor says:

    I made a batch following this recipe, all the steps happenned (foam). fruit under a weight yay. however when I uncovered it it did smell funky and tasted kindof weird as opposed to komucha. left a medicine type taste in my mouth sort of numbing but not numbing.smell isn’t appealing either./ is it wrong or is it normal?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Kim- thanks for your interest and question. From what you described, it sounds like the tepache ferment was successful. Did you do a second fermentation (seal it in a bottle to trap CO2 for fizziness?). Tepache does have a funky smell, on the yeasty side. It is not supposed to taste like pineapple (some people are expecting a sweet, pineapple flavour) and the flavour is a little like beer. It tastes better cold and preferably with some fizz, and you can flavour it with cinnamon or other spices. You are also correct about the mouth feel, likely due to the enzymes in the pineapple.

  11. Thom says:

    Hey!
    Great recipe, thanks for sharing. I have a question, as a total beginner

    1) How can I tell that my Tepache turned into Vinegar?
    2) How is it possible, that a second fermentation in the bottle WON’T turn it into vinegar, when, if left fermenting the first time for 5-6 days, will?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Thom- thanks for your interest and question. As with kombucha and other ferments that start with sugar, the longer you leave the ferment, the more sugar will be consumed by the microbes, who in turn will produce acids as a byproduct. These acids, (sometimes acetic acid if acetobactor bacteria is involved) make the drink more vinegary. I can’t tell you exactly how long this will take as it depends on many factors: temperature, population of microbes, sweetness of your brew, etc. The microbes don’t follow recipes! I do know that tepache is a short ferment, so there is not enough time to make pineapple vinegar. If you follow my recipe, you should be fine. I have used it for years and have never had my tepache turn to vinegar.

  12. Licha says:

    I am making two bottles today and going to let one turn into vinegar, I chose piloncillo for my sugar because for Tepache that is the tradition. I was thinking if the harmless white foam is not skimmed off would that be the start of “Mother” pineapple vinegar? Thanks, Lot’s of good healthy fun.

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Licha- thanks for your interest and question. I also like to use piloncillo when I make tepache and am lucky that I am able to find it in my city, but other sugars work as well. In theory, the white foam that you skim off the top could be used as a starter since it contains the microbes also found in the tepache. Good luck!

  13. miguel Samudio says:

    Hi, we have a similar drink in Colombia…..”Guarapo de Pina”…. It is great and it does get you drunk 🙂

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Miguel- thanks for the information, I’ll have to check it out! I believe if you left tepache to over-ferment, it would have the same effect!

  14. Lucia says:

    Hi Jody! For the second fermentation, should I keep the bottles of strained liquid in the fridge or out at room temp? Thanks!

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Lucia- for a second fermentation, you would leave the bottles at room temperature. I only do it for 2 days maximum to keep the alcohol level low.

  15. jason says:

    could you add other fruits with the pineapple like mango or blueberry while its fermenting??

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Jason- traditional tepache recipes use only the pineapple and add spices (like cinnamon) for extra flavouring. I haven’t seen any using an additional fruit, but it could produce interesting flavours. I would suggest that mango would pair well with pineapple. Let me know how it turns out!

  16. Connie says:

    Can I use honey instead of sugar?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Connie- Tepache is not traditionally made with honey, but with a raw form of sugar (pilocillo, basically a raw cane sugar). I usually use pilocillo, sucanet, and even grocery store brown sugar. Honey contains glucose and the antibacterial properties will be diluted once it is mixed in the water/ pineapple solution, so, why not? Let me know how it turns out!

  17. Margosa says:

    What about the toxins on most available pineapples? Organic is really hard to find…

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Margosa- thanks for your question. I try to buy organic pineapple at local health food stores, but will also use pineapple from local grocery stores. I always wash them (for pesticides and for any other “residue”). In the end, it’s a personal choice regarding one’s view on organic produce. In regards to tepache fermentation, from my experience, grocery store pineapples ferment equally as well as organic pineapple.

  18. Kalynne Ludgate says:

    This looks delicious! I am making it today.

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