What is tequila, how it’s produced

1 Harvesting. After 7 to 10 years of growing, the jimadores go out to the field and take out each plant individually using a coa in a very consuming time process. They will take the pinas or center of agave back to the distillery. 

2. Cooking the harvest.  Cook the hearts or piñato s to change the starch from a complex carbohydrate into a simple sugar. 

3. Milling. Shred up the cooked piñas and extract the juice from the fibrous plant. 

Traditional method that uses a Tajona. Tajona is sort of a  car wheel made out of stone, huge heavy wheel. The stone sits on a bin that’s turned around with horses multiple times, by doing so all the juices are extracted. It’s a very traditional ancient methot and there are only a handful of producers who still use this method.

Roller mill method: it looks like a big machine with mechanical teeth that shred the agave plant to extract its juice.

4. Fermentation: process where alcohol is produced. It entails taking the base liquid containing the sugar and adding yeast. The yeast will eat the sugar in a chemical process producing carbon dioxide and alcohol.

5. Distillation: taking the alcohol produced during fermentation process which is around 7 or 8 % and concentrating it. Taking a liquid, heating it to a boiling point, then it turns into steam that hits a cooler surface and condenses. So the cooler liquid is much more concentrated, higher in percentage. Pot still or Column still. Most tequila is produced in the pot still.

6. Aging. Most producers are using bourbon barrels to age tequila. 5 different categories of tequila.

Blanco or unaged tequila: technically by law it’s aged up to 2 months, usually it’s not aged at all. It’s the purest form of tequila.

Joven or gold tequila: it is a blanco with a caramel coloring added to it. Or it’s a blanco with a reposado or añejo added to give it some color and flavor profile.

Reposado or rested tequila : it’s a blanco put in a barrel and kept there from 2 months and 1 year, by law.

Añejo or aged tequila: it needs to sit in a barrel between 1 year and 3 years

Extra añejo tequila: it sits in a barrel any time longer than 3 years.