La Pozontlería – Oaxaca, Mexico - Gastro Obscura

Oaxaca, Mexico

La Pozontlería

One of the city's few vendors selling the Sierra Norte's ancestral beverage lies within a hidden farmers market.  

Pozontle is a ceremonial drink hailing from the Sierra Norte region of Oaxaca, particularly the town of Villa Hidalgo Yalalag. It is a refreshing, lightly sweet blend of cacao, corn, the cocolmecatl vine, water, and panela. While you can find plenty of stands selling its frothier, more popular relative—tejate—throughout Oaxaca de Juárez, the city boasts few spots that serve pozontle. One of these rare vendors lies within a small, quiet farmers market that’s tucked away from the bustle of the city’s larger mercados.

La Pozontlería is one of a dozen food stands lining La Cosecha market. It can be easy to miss: From the street, it’s just an open doorway. But once you walk through to the back, you’ll find a small, colorful outdoor space with vendors selling traditional Mexican and specifically Oaxacan fare. Founded in 2016, the market promotes organic and homemade offerings. While you won’t find any soda inside, you will find traditional beverages such as tejate, pulque, and pozontle.

Women traditionally prepare pozontle. At La Pozontlería, the female vendor first combines the ingredients in a jícara, a cup made from a hollowed-out gourd, then takes out a long, wooden tool known as a molinillo. She places it between her hands and rubs them fiercely together, building up a mocha-tinted foam. When the foam coats the top of the drink, it’s ready.

Jícara in hand, take your pozontle to one of the market’s communal picnic tables. There, in the shade of a tent beneath a rainbow of dangling papeles picados, take a sip. Its flavor should resemble a light chocolate milk. If the ingredients start to settle, just give it a quick stir with the accompanying wooden spoon. Pair your beverage with one of the market’s fine offerings—its garnachas, memelas, and tlayudas are particularly stellar—for a delicious taste of traditional Oaxaca.

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