Understanding the 
Tequila distillation 
process. What you 
need to know.

It starts with
a heart of gold

Making premium Tequila:
it begins with high-quality
blue agave

A Field to Table Guide for Tequila Agave takes quite
the journey to getting from field to table, transforming
into quality tequila, and arriving in your glass.

From a raw product that has a 7-10 year
growth cycle, to fermentation with
natural yeasts, the story of tequila
is a beautiful one.

Great things take time

These agaves take between 7-10 years to mature and have
enough sugar content to be harvested and used for tequila.

For premium Tequila, one kind of agave must
be used - Tequilana Blue Weber Agave
(100% Blue Weber Agave).

Harvesting

When the agaves are ready, a jimador (agave farmer) comes
to harvest them from the ground with a special sharp blade
tool called a coa. First the pencas are removed, then the piña
is shaved (it is called a piña because it looks like a pineapple),
and then halved to be stacked in trucks for transportation to
the distillery.

The cook

Agaves are full of natural starches, and similar to a
sweet potato or yam, they need to be cooked to convert
that starch into sugar. Rather than baked, agaves are
cooked with hot steam and pressure in a traditional
stone-clay oven or an auto-clave, which is like a big metal
pressure cooker. The taste of cooked agave evokes thoughts of
honey, bananas, caramel and you guessed it, sweet potatoes.

Milling

Once the sugars are nice and caramelized, it’s time to
separate them from the agave fibers and add water so
the alcohol fermentation process can begin! The fibers
must be crushed and washed and there are a few ways
to do this. Traditionally a large stone called a tahona was
pulled by a mule around a stone pit. There is also a more
modernized mechanism called a roller mill that crushes
the fibers along a motorized belt and washes the fibers
with spigots along the way. The resulting “agua miel”
or sugar water is ready to be sent off to fermentation.

Fermentation

Agual miel is pumped to large vats,
either wooden or stainless, and yeast
is added. The yeast works to convert
the sugars to alcohol and the agua
miel is transformed into an agave
brew, similar to beer or wine
typically between 3-7% ABV.

To increase that percentage,
and purify the juice into tequila,
we must now head into distillation.

Distillation

By law, Tequila is required to be distilled at least two
times - some brands choose to do more but most stay at
double distillation. The first distillation removes most of
the particles in the brew results in a cloudy liquid called
ordinario which is about 20% ABV. Since Tequila must be
bottled at an ABV between 35%-55%, another distillation
must be made to increase alcohol content and clear out
the rest of the solids from fermentation. Typically the
second distillation, carefully guided by a master distiller
who tends to the heads and tails of the process, results
in Tequila blanco between 55-60% ABV.

Bottling and
aging Tequila

Tequila blanco, undiluted is the
starting point for all sipping tequilas
that make their way to your glass.
If the tequila is meant to stay a Blanco,
it will be diluted down to 40% and
put into a bottle straight away

If it is meant to be aged tequila,
its put directly into the barrel of
choice for the selected amount
of time, and diluted after it is
removed from the barrel.

Reposado is rested in oak barrels
anywhere from 2 months right up
to a day before 1 year.

Añejo is aged from
1 year up to 3 years.

Extra Añejo is aged
longer than 3 years.