Tequila from the Ground Up - Part III
Part III – Milling and Extraction
When agave has been cooked in a brick oven or autoclave, it’s allowed to cool and then the sweet agave juice (aguamiel) must be extracted.
(We covered the somewhat reversed steps in a diffusor process in Part II).
In most of the industry, the juice is extracted from the tough agave fiber using a chain of roller mills. These machines were originally developed for milling sugar cane and were adapted to the tequila industry in the twentieth century.
A few artisanal distilleries extract using the tahona - a traditional stone grinding wheel. These days, this centuries-old technique is usually modified so that the stone is moved by a motor or tractor, although in one rare case, mules are still used.
What method works best – that’s up to you and your palate to decide.
To continue your tequila education, check out Part IV!