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Cooking and softening Agave

Cooking the piña, the heart of the agave, is a very important step in ensuring the highest quality of tequila. This is the first procedure after harvesting and cutting the piñas. Cooking transforms the agave’s natural starches and carbohydrates into simple fermentable sugars. Cooking also softens the piña, simplifying the next step of sugar extraction. At our distillery, cooking is done traditionally in a brick oven (horno) which is very labor intensive and results in optimal caramelization of the sugars. Horno cooking results in pressurized steam which ‘cooks’ the agave and creates a sweeter, smoother drink with less bitterness in the finish. Often, horno ovens cook for 24 hours or more. When the agaves are perfectly cooked, and after a cooling off period, they come out of the oven softened, sticky and very sweet and ready for the next step – Extraction of Sugar.
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