Abstract The Tapirapé Amerindians of the Tapi'itãwa tribe produce several fermented foods and beverages among them the beverage called ‘cauim’. This beverage is the main staple food for infants until two years old and their parents. For producing the beverage, several substrates are used, such as: cassava, rice, corn, maize and peanuts. The fermentation using mainly cassava was accomplished and samples were collected for chemical and microbiological analysis. A progressive acidification during the fermentation was observed and pH value decreased from 5.5 to 3.4. Lactic acid was the most important fermentation metabolite found but significant amounts of ethanol and acetic acid were also observed. The microbial load was high at the beginning of the fermentation, bacterial population was about 6.8 log cfu/ml and yeast population was 3.7 log cfu/ml. A total of 355 bacteria were isolated and identified. All the isolates were grouped into Gram-negative (3.5%), Gram-positive non-sporulating (78%) and Gram-positive sporulating bacteria (18.5%). Lactic acid bacteria increased from the beginning of fermentation and became the dominant microorganism throughout the fermentation. Species of bacteria were varied and they were found to be Lactobacillus pentosus, L. plantarum, Corynebacterium xerosis, C. amylocolatum, C. vitarumen, Bacillus cereus, B. licheniformis, B. pumilus, B. circulans and Paenibacillus macerans. The species L. pentosus and L. plantarum were the dominant bacteria and were present in all the periods of evaluation of the samples.