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Unveiling the Art of Tequila Making

Updated: Jun 30, 2023


Tequila, the iconic Mexican spirit, holds a special place in the hearts and glasses of people all around the world. But have you ever wondered about the meticulous process behind crafting this beloved beverage? Let’s delve into the fascinating world of tequila making, exploring every step from agave cultivation to the final product that brings joy and delight to enthusiasts worldwide.

Below we are focusing on the production of premium tequila which is made from 100% Agave.


Agave Harvesting:

The journey of tequila begins in the agave fields, where skilled jimadors carefully harvest mature agave plants.

These Blue Weber Agave, take several years to reach maturity, with their long, spiky leaves resembling a radiant crown. Jimadors use a sharp tool called a coa to skillfully remove the leaves, leaving behind the heart of the agave, known as the piña. The piñas are then transported to the distillery for further processing.


Cooking:

To unlock the distinctive juices and flavours hidden within the piñas, they first need to be cooked. Traditionally, this involved placing the piñas in large stone ovens called hornos, where they would slowly cook. Nowadays, most Tequila distilleries employ modern techniques such as autoclaves or steam ovens for the cooking.


Milling and Extraction:

Once cooked, the piñas are crushed or shredded to extract their juice, which is crucial for tequila production. Traditionally, a massive volcanic stone wheel, known as a tahona, was used to crush the cooked agave. These days, more efficient methods such as roller mills or shredders are employed. The extracted juice, called mosto, is collected and ready for fermentation.


Fermentation:

The mosto is transferred to fermentation tanks, where yeast is added to initiate the fermentation process. Fermentation converts the sugars in the mosto into alcohol, producing a low-alcohol


liquid known as "pulque." This traditional step in the tequila-making process allows for the development of unique flavours and aromas.



Distillation:

The fermented mosto undergoes distillation. During distillation the mosto is heated, and the alcohol vapour rises through the still, condenses, and is collected. Tequila is distilled at least twice, with the second distillation known as rectification.



Ageing:

Most tequila will be bottled direct after distillation and is called Blanco. However, some of the Blanco tequila will go to be aged as Reposado or Anejo. The process of ageing influences the final product and can take place in several different types of barrels, and different time durations ranging from a few months to several years. The ageing process imparts additional flavours and complexities, allowing the tequila to mellow and develop a smooth, refined character. The resulting tequila develops into Reposado which is aged between 2-12 months, Añejo is aged between 1-3 years, or extra Añejo which is aged over 3 years.


Bottling and Enjoyment:

Once the tequila has been distilled and, if applicable, aged to perfection, it is ready for bottling. After packaging in bottles and a long journey to South Africa, it is ready to be enjoyed by all of us!

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