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Tejate: Zapotec heritage

In San Andrés Huayápam, the main ingredients of Tejate are maize, cacao, and a little white flower known as "rosita"
This little white flower is a key ingredient in the Tejate recipe – Photo: Edwin Hernández/EL UNIVERSAL
09/10/2017
17:00
Fernando Miranda
San Andrés Huayápam
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Tejate is a non-alcoholic beverage traditionally made in Oaxaca, Mexico, originating from pre-Hispanic times.

Today, there is a huge variety of Tejate recipes in the country with different ingredients and several procedures, yet in San Andrés Huayápam, a Zapotec town of the Central Valleys in Oaxaca, 120 women are responsible for the zealous preservation of the traditional recipe.

Over 16 years ago students at the Technological Institute of Oaxaca (Instituto Tecnológico de Oaxaca) appropriated the Tejate recipe and developed a powdered version to commercialize the beverage, thus women from San Andrés Huayápam created the Women Producer Association of Tejate Guipi (Asociación de Mujeres Productoras de Tejate Guipi) to protect and preserve the traditional beverage through cultural and gastronomic events.

In San Andrés Huayápam, the main ingredients of Tejate are maize, cacao, and a little white flower known as "rosita."

The little white flower is a key ingredient in the Tejate recipe. The vivid flowers are collected from the homegrown cacao trees in the surrounding areas.

According to the “tejateras” (the women producers of this traditional drink), the weather and the particular conditions of the town allowed both, the preservation of the flower and its peculiar flavor.

Ground maize, cacao and mamey seed are some of the other ingredients for Tejate, yet the exact quantities are only known by the women of the San Andrés Huayápam community.

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Tejateras - Photo: Edwin Hernández/EL UNIVERSAL

Water is gradually added to the ground ingredients until it reaches a dough texture, then the concoction is mixed by hand until foam began to appear on the top of the drink.

Tejate is typically served in round “jícaras” (small, woody containers made from the fruit of the calabash tree).

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