Elaboration Process

1.- Planting

Tequila´s production process begins when the basal offshoots of blue variety agave are planted. It takes from seven years for the agave to mature and for its sugars to settle. A mature agave heart can weigh  from 30 to 80 kilograms.

2.- Harvesting

Once de agave plants are mature, the harvesting process begins, traditionally know as “la jima”. The plant´s leaves are cut off at the base, leaving only the agave core or heart, also know as the piña becouse of its resemblance to a large pineapple.
These hearts are transported to the factory where they are cut in half to continue the process. Ten kilos of agave hearts yeld one liter of 100% pure agave tequila.

3.- Baking

The next step is to bake the agave hearths in an oven. This process converts the complex carbohydrates into simple sugars and softens the plant fibers to facilitate the extraction of sugars for fermentation.

Baking was traditionally done in brick or stone ovens that worked by means of vapor injection, in a process that lasted between fifty and seventy-two hours. Nowdays, its done in a steel tanks with a capacity for several tons, know as autoclaves. As they are hermetically sealed, they reduce cooking time between eight and fourteen hours.

4.- Pressing

Once cooked, the agave hearts are cut into small pieces which are presed to extract the agave juice, called mosto fresco, or “fresh must”.

In the past, extraction was carried out using a circular grindstone called tahona. Today, it is done in several stages, in wich the agave in ground more and more finely until ir produces the must, with the help of water injection.

5.- Fermentation

In the past, fermentation took place in large wooden containers. Today it´s done in stainless steel vats where water, yeast and nutrients are added to the agave juices.

Active must in the process of fermentation isbubbly. Its effervescence ceases when the yeasts have finished turning the sugars into alcohol and other products. At the momment, the must is said to be inactive.

6.- Distillation

Is the process by wich the application of heat and pressure separates the fermented juices into alcoholic products (tequila) and other components (dregs) wich are discartes. Distillation is normally done in copper or stainless steel alembics, or sometimes in continuos distillation columns.

Two distillations are necessary in the elaboration of tequila, the first is called destructive distillation and the second, rectification distillation. The tequila produced by the first distillation is called ordinario and has about twenty percent alcohol per volume. With rectification, the alcohol content is incresed and undesired components and more transparent than ordinario tequila, and has an alcohol content af about fifty-five percent.

7.- Aging

To carry out the aging process, Blanco tequila is poured into wooden barrels where it remains for a period of time that varies according to the desired type of tequila. For Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo tequila, the barrels should hold no more than 200 liters.

Tequila is generally aged in either French or American white oak barrels, which give the liquor its distinctive golden color. They may be new or they may have been used for other kinds of spirits. They may also be treated by charging or “toasting” the inside, which will give the tequila a different flavor.

8.- Bottling

To guarantee the quality of tequila, the 1994 Official Mexican Standard (Norma Oficial Mexicana, or NOM) established that a 100% pure agave tequila must be bottled at the manufacturer´s plant, wich must be located within the protected designation of origin area.