Cauim is a traditional alcoholic beverage or beer of the Native American populations of Brazil since pre-Columbian times. It is still made today in remote areas throughout Panama and South America. Cauim is made by fermenting manioc (a large starchy root), or maize, sometimes flavored with fruit juices. The Kuna Indians of Panama use plantains.
A characteristic feature of the beverage is that the starting material is cooked, chewed, and re-cooked prior to fermentation, so that enzymes present in human saliva can break down the starch into fermentable sugars. This principle was originally used also for Japanese sake.