How is Tequila Made?
Blue Agave plants, cultivated on plantations for use in the brewing of Tequila, take from 8-10 years to reach maturity. Once the Agave plants mature and are ready to harvest, the “Jimador” or Agave harvester removes the pina from the Agave plant core in the same manner that has been used for centuries to make Tequila. Each pina will weight from 65-135 pounds. Each liter of 100% Agave Tequila requires about 17 pounds of Agave. Pina hearts are split and steamed under pressure to prepare for fermentation of tequila. The liquids that are extracted flow into steel vats where they are fermented for distilling into tequila. Tequila fermentation may take as little as 12 hours or as long as several days, depending on several factors, including the amount of sugar and water in the pinas, ambient temperatures and the type of yeast used to brew the tequila.
Once the fermentation process is completed, the liquid will undergo distillation two different times to create a potent and high-proof Tequila upon the second distillation. Tequila is always colorless when it is collected from the still. The resulting Blanco Tequila is then diluted using distilled water to create the 80 proof tequila that is desired and placed in large oak barrels for aging the tequila. After aging for the two months in the oak barrels Blanco Tequila has become Reposado tequila in the process. If the Tequila is not 100% Agave but the distiller wants to sell it as Gold Tequila, it will be darkened using caramel coloring. However, Anejo tequila or Super-Premium Tequila will be aged longer using oak barrels.
Depending on the technique used for aging, tequila can take on different flavors and smoothness. As with fine wines, the flavor and complexity of tequila is enhanced by aging. Extra Anejo tequila has been aged in white oak barrels for a minimum of three years making it the rarest and oldest of all tequila.