Review: De La Calle Tepache
Covers Products: Original - Ginger Manzana, Moderno - Orange Turmeric, Picante, Regional - Tamarind Citrus, Tradicional - Pineapple Spice
De La Calle is a USDA Organic line of sparkling beverages that are modeled after tepache, a traditional fermented beverage from Mexico which is made with water, turbinado sugar, and pineapple rind.
Announced in January, De La Calle, which means “from the street,” is launching with five SKUs, including Original (ginger manzana), Tradicional (pineapple spice), Moderno (orange turmeric), Regional (tamarind citrus), and Picante (mango chili).
Their approach to tepache starts with a base of filtered water, turbinado sugar and pineapple juice. After that, they add natural sweeteners (erythritol and agave) as well as live probiotics. Cinnamon is a common ingredient across all of the flavors, while four of the five SKUs also have black pepper.
From a taste perspective, we really liked what we got from De La Calle. The product is mild in body and sweetness and there’s a subtle note of fermented pineapple and a touch of spice to the finish. How much spice and how much pineapple flavor varies depending on the SKU.
Speaking of the SKUs, the brand has definitely created some standout flavors. Our favorite was far and away the Original: with a nice ginger punch, it’s bold, bright and the best starting point for consumers to get to know De La Calle. We also liked the clean and unadulterated flavor of Tradicional, which has the strongest pineapple flavor of the lineup.
After that, the final three feel like they are on about equal ground. Picante has a sweet and spicy mango chili flavor which, aside from perhaps needing a bit more heat to it, should be a crowd pleaser. Regional, which has a tamarind citrus flavor, and Moderno, which is orange tamarind flavor, are tasty but we feel that they might need a bit more to stand up to the other three.
On the outside, the product uses a shrink sleeve label and a selection of colors that are, perhaps aside from the white used on Tradicional, bright. The label hierarchy starts with some small text around the top of the label that calls out “fermented” and “live probiotics.” Below this is the “De La Calle!” logo, “Tepache,” and a pineapple illustration with the tagline “fermented beverage of Mexico.” The lower third of the can highlights the name of the SKU, the flavors associated with it, and an USDA Organic logo.
The aesthetic they’ve created is effective in making this seem like an authentic Mexican drink with some modern flare. It has a cool vibe and we think the overall direction is really solid. However, we do have a few suggestions and points of constructive criticism.
First, we think the way that they’ve treated “Tepache,” which is the largest visual element on the can and smack in the middle of the label, will make some people think that this is the brand name for the product. “De La Calle!” is smaller and has a pretty plain look to it looks to be more of a modifier than the name of the line.
Second, we think that the words used to describe the flavor are too small -- and it’s almost impossible to read on the Moderno SKU thanks to the white text on a gold label. We’d love to see this be a larger, more integrated part of the label -- at least until the brand establishes itself.
Ultimately, these things don’t change our overall opinion on De La Calle: this is a cool looking, fun, and unique approach to the better-for-you sparkling space that brings some kombucha-like benefits with a nice dose of Mexican flare. We think what they’ve got here has legs.