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Extracting Agave to release the juice and sugar

Once cooked, the agave heads are transported to a milling area for sugar extraction. The cooked piñas are crushed, pulverized, and shredded by a mill in order to release the juice, or “aguamiel,” (honey water) that will be fermented. The traditional method of extraction is to crush the piñas with a “tahona,” a giant grinding wheel - often made from volcanic rock – that rolls around a stone pit, operated by mules, oxen or tractors. Modern distilleries now use a mechanical crusher to separate the fiber from the juices. Once the piñas are minced they are washed with water and strained to remove the juices and proceed to the next step – which is fermentation.