What is Tequila Made From?


Tequila is made from an agave tequilana weber blue plant found across five regions in Mexico and can be enjoyed in cocktails, neat, or mixed with juice for consumption.

As the agave plants mature, skilled harvesters known as jimadors harvest them by cutting away their stem. This exposes the heart or pina, which will be used for producing tequila.


Agave tequilana) is an elegant succulent plant related to the lily and amaryllis that produces sweet syrup for use in making tequila and is an attractive desert landscaping feature?

Agave plants take years to reach full maturity. Once ready for harvesting, “jimadors” use a sharp, curved tool known as a coa to extract its leaves and core, resembling a pineapple, carefully.

Once harvested, agave is processed through a steam oven to transform its starches into sugar for flavorful spirits like mezcal. This step must be performed correctly as its taste makes mezcal so addictively delectable.

At this stage, agave transforms into liquid sugars, which are then distilled into alcohol in large wooden vats over an eight to 12-day process. Fermentation was traditionally managed using wild yeast found on the plant itself; however, modern distilleries typically employ cultivated forms of yeast for fermentation control.

Once the agave is distilled, it’s packaged for bottling. Only tequila made with 100% blue agave can be labeled Tequila; other varieties might be possible, but their flavors won’t match that of 100% blue agave varieties.


Once agaves have reached full maturity and harvest season is underway, Jimadors must remove around 200 leaves to expose its heart (pina). They do this using a sharp curved tool known as a Coa. Total exposure ensures all sugars within are converted during fermentation; otherwise, an undercooked or unripe agave could produce tequila with vegetal notes, while those past peak maturity could produce vinegar-like flavors in its finished product.

Agave plants are baked in an oven, softening their cores and turning starches into sugars. Their juice is then fermented with yeast to convert that sugar to alcohol – this usually takes 48 to 96 hours for Casa Herradura, La Altena, and Siete Leguas, while most producers utilize commercial yeasts instead of spontaneous airborne fermentation processes.

Once most has been produced, it’s taken to a still where it will be distilled multiple times to remove impurities and intensify the alcohol content, with some distillers even processing their product up to four times for perfection. Distillation was traditionally carried out using copper stills, but modern producers may use stainless steel ones which is less expensive; afterward, the tequila may either be aged before bottling or aged depending on its style.


The agave plant stores its energy in long-chain fructose molecules, and during cooking, these are converted to sugar that can be fermented into alcohol. An autoclave or traditional horno transforms this into alcohol; Filipe Camarena even employs his Frankensteinian 19,000-pound steel roller known as El Pandillo! Once heated to 56 hours in either device, pinas from maguey hearts are softened to be crushed or shredded before being mixed with water and yeast and placed in fermentation tanks.

Tequila production requires at least two rounds of distillation to remove impurities and concentrate the alcohol content, thus producing high-grade tequila.

Once tequila has been distilled, it must be aged. This usually happens in used oak barrels that have been toasted for a richer flavor or bourbon barrels to give a smoother, more subdued finish – reposados and anejos are tequilas that have been aged longer.

The final products of tequila distilling include clear or yellow liquor that can be enjoyed straight up or mixed into drinks such as margaritas. While tequila has gained notoriety through media portrayals and a history of poor-quality products, its popularity is on the rise domestically and abroad – it makes a fantastic spirit with many varied production processes available to producers today.


Tequila boasts various distillery-created variations, but producing one bottle requires many steps. Production begins in agave fields where field workers use special knives called coa to cut through and harvest agave plants that have matured enough to store enough sugar for harvesting – which generally takes seven-10 years before being collected onto trucks for transporting to distilleries where pinas (the outer portion) are then steamed for up to 56 hours to soften their cores and release their sweet juice as bases for their base spirits tequila.

After cooking the agave, its juice is extracted using mills. Agave is ground through its blades to produce a liquid called “agua miel,” similar to honey water but with starchy characteristics. Once combined with yeast for fermentation tanks for several days, sugars from its starchy consistency become alcohol.

Fermentation can be lengthy, so distillers often utilize chemicals and accelerators to accelerate it and eliminate some unwanted elements in the mix. Once fermented into tequila, its liquid form must then be distilled twice before being filtered and placed into bottles to be sold; Blanco, reposado, and Anejo are the three primary types of tequila available for purchase – blanco being immediately after distillation while Reposado requires at least two months in oak barrels while Anejo has aged at least one year before being bottle release for sale;


Tequila is an alcoholic spirit produced from Agave Tequilana Weber (the blue agave). Although this plant may appear similar to cacti, it belongs to the succulent family and takes 6 to 10 years for full maturity. While higher-end or ‘puro” tequilas contain 100% blue agave content, lower-end or ‘mix to’ varieties may include up to 51% blended with other sugar sources like molasses or corn syrup for optimal production.

Once agave hearts have been crushed and mixed with water and yeast in large fermentation tanks, their sugars will begin transforming into alcohol through an organic process lasting up to two days, depending on temperature, weather conditions, and yeast strain.

The resultant liquid, called most,’ is then double-distilled: once to create ordinary with an alcohol content of 20%, and secondly to produce tequila.

At every step in the fermentation and distillation process, it is vital to monitor the most for impurities such as esters or fusel oils that could alter its flavor profile. Once distilled, tequila can be consumed – the most popular varieties being Blanco, reposado, and anejo, made from the agave plant with different production techniques resulting in distinct differences in taste and character – such as Blanco being unaged with crisp, refreshing flavors while reposado being aged for at least two months for smoother more complex flavor profiles; respectively.


Tequila can only be produced using one species of agave plant: Weber Blue Agave, more commonly referred to as Agave Tequilana. There are over 166 varieties of agave, but only the Weber Blue agave (known in Mexico as Maguey) can grow at high altitudes in Jalisco and Valley regions in western Mexico, where soil chemistry favors it. At harvest time, full maturity must be reached; otherwise, it produces vegetal-flavored or bourbon-esque flavors, while overripeness produces acidic notes, which add complexity to its flavor profile.

Once an agave has been harvested and cooked for processing, its complex carbohydrates are converted to simple sugars that can be fermented into alcohol for fermentation. This cooking process is crucial to tequila manufacturing since it softens up its sweetheart or pina, making it easier to crush. An agave typically takes five to 12 years before reaching full maturity before being harvested for making tequila.

Once cooked, the agave is crushed using an ancient type of mill known as a Tahona to strip away fibers and release the sugary juice. Once combined with yeast for fermentation, this juice ferments between three to twelve days to become tequila – depending on factors like its carbon: nitrogen ratio, which significantly impacts its final alcohol content.