Normally sold in 'chicherias' consisting of an unused room or a corner of the patio of a home, these generally unlicensed businesses can provide a significant boost to a family's income.
They're generally identified by a bamboo pole sticking out the open door, adorned with (often red) flags, flowers, ribbons or colored plastic bags.
The specific type or combination of corn used in the making of chicha de jora shows where it was made.
Chancaca, a hard form of sugar (like sugar cane), helps with the fermentation process.
Naturally occurring ptyalin enzymes in the maker's saliva catalyses the breakdown of starch in the maize into maltose.
(This process of chewing grains or other starches was used in the production of alcoholic beverages in pre-modern cultures around the world, including, for example, sake in Japan.) Chicha prepared in this manner is known as Chicha de Muko.
(Note that these etymologies are not mutually exclusive.) The common Spanish expression Ni chicha ni limonada (neither chicha nor lemonade) is roughly equivalent to the English "neither fish nor fowl".
The Inca used chicha for ritual purposes and consumed it in vast quantities during religious festivals.
Mills in which it was probably made were found at Machu Picchu.
Chicha Morada is believed to reduce blood pressure.
Chicha de Jora is also being researched as an anti-inflammatory agent on the prostate.