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Here's the journey of tequila, from plant to bottle:

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1. The Agave Source: Tequila's unique character starts with the Weber blue agave plant, a spiky succulent native to Mexico. Only this specific type of agave can be used to make authentic tequila.

2. Harvesting the Piña: After several years of growth, the mature agave's heart, known as the piña, is harvested. This bulbous core holds the sugars essential for tequila production.

3. Baking the Piña: The harvested piñas are traditionally cooked in ovens fueled by brick or wood. This process, called cooking or roasting, breaks down the complex carbohydrates in the agave into simpler sugars.

4. Extracting the Juice: Once cooked, the softened piñas are shredded using a tahona (traditional stone mill) or shredding machines. The resulting fibers are then pressed to extract the sweet, sugary juice called mosto.

5. Fermentation Magic: The mosto undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks or wooden vats. Yeast is added, converting the sugars into alcohol, creating a low-alcohol liquid called tequila precursor or tequila ordinario.

6. Double Distillation: Tequila goes through distillation twice, typically in copper pot stills. The first distillation produces a crude alcohol called tequila "ordinario". This is then distilled again to concentrate the alcohol and refine the flavors, resulting in the final tequila.

7. Aging (Optional): While all tequila is technically tequila after distillation, some producers choose to age it in various casks like oak barrels. This imparts additional flavors and complexities, with categories like "reposado" (aged at least 2 months) and "añejo" (aged at least 1 year) reflecting the aging duration.

8. Bottling and Enjoyment: Finally, the tequila is filtered, bottled, and labeled according to its type and category. From there, it's ready to be enjoyed responsibly!

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