Production Process

About

What Is Tequila?

Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the Weber blue agave plant. Tequila is a popular spirit used in many different cocktails, like the Margarita, Paloma, and the Tequila Sunrise. The Mexican government decrees that tequila is only allowed to be produced in Mexico, and only in certain designated regions, including: Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoac√°n, and Tamaulipas

Tequila is made from the Weber blue agave plant, or agave tequilana, which is a large succulent with long, spiked leaves similar to aloe vera. Within the core of the blue agave plant is a bulb called the pi√Īa. This bulb is baked and juiced, and the juice is fermented with yeast in barrels to make tequila.

process

How Is Tequila Made?

Tequila production can be broken into six stages: harvesting, baking, juicing, fermenting, distilling, and aging. Here is more information about each one of these steps:

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Step 1 Harvest the agave
Modern tequila production begins with the traditional method of harvesting the blue agave plant. A special knife called a coa is used to cut the leaves on the agave plant away from the underground pi√Īa bulb.
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Step 1 Harvest the agave
Step 2 Bake the agave core, or the pi√Īa
The pi√Īa bulb must be baked in order to extract its fermentable sugars. Traditionally, pi√Īas were baked in pits lined with rocks, but today, they‚Äôre baked in either clay and brick ovens called hornos, or large stainless steel ovens.
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Step 2 Bake the agave core, or the pi√Īa
Step 3 Shred the pi√Īa and extract the agave juice
After the pi√Īas are baked, they are crushed and shredded to extract the sweet juice inside, which is called mosto. Mosto is extracted in one of two ways: by using an industrial mechanical shredder (the most common modern way), or by the traditional method of using a tahoma, a large stone wheel that crushes and juices the pi√Īa.
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Step 3 Shred the pi√Īa and extract the agave juice
Step 4 Ferment the agave juice, or mosto
Next, the mosto must ferment into ethyl alcohol in order to become a spirit. The mosto is combined with yeast and water in large fermentation tanks. This process uses either large stainless steel tanks, or large wooden barrels.
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Step 4 Ferment the agave juice, or mosto
Step 5 Distill the fermented mosto
The agave juices are then distilled, which purifies the liquid and concentrates the alcohol in the mixture. Tequila is typically distilled twice. The first distillation produces a cloudy liquid called the ordinario. The second distillation produces the clear silver tequila, which is then ready to be aged and bottled.
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Step 5 Distill the fermented mosto
Step 6 Age the tequila
All tequila is aged for at least 14 to 21 days. Silver or blanco tequila is aged for the minimum time. Aged tequila comes in three types: reposado (‚Äúrested,‚ÄĚ aged for two months to one year), a√Īejo (‚Äúaged,‚ÄĚ aged for one to three years), and extra a√Īejo (aged for over three years). To produce a more aged tequila, the distilled blanco is put into aged oak barrels, which gives the tequila a golden color. There is also a fifth kind of tequila called joven (‚Äúyoung‚ÄĚ) or oro (‚Äúgold‚ÄĚ), which is a mix of silver tequila and reposado tequila.
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Step 6 Age the tequila
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Aging Process/Duration

reposado

Minimum 2 months, maximum 1 year in oak.

blanco

Bottled without spending time in barrel.

a√Īejo

Minimum 1 year, maximum 3 years of aging.
EXTRA: At least 3 years of ageing in oak barrels.

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