What Plant Is Tequila Made From? – Weber Blue Agave Plant

Tequila has been one of the top growing and most popular variations of alcohol for some time now. The craze continues with its simplicity and elegant feel as consumers believe tequila is the best option for a go-to alcoholic beverage. But have you ever wondered where it came from? How do people make tequila? Or if it’s all that to obsess over? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This article will dissect and explain the life of tequila, as well as a breakdown of the history behind it and why you may consider consuming it. Plus, if you read to the end, you may learn some fascinating new bonus facts!

two glasses of tequila with lime and salt
Photo by Lk_Drak via Pixabay

The History Of Tequila

When learning about making something, it can be beneficial to dive into its history. The history behind tequila is fascinating, yet it can seem kind of confusing. Due to that, I have summarized an easy-to-understand narrative of it.

During the 16th century, tequila was produced for the first time when a group of Spanish individuals noticed a decrease in their favorite drink, brandy. They discovered that they could create a new favorite, tequila, by simply fermenting a plant. Shortly after that, it was known that tequila was only made within Mexican territory. In the years following, many other families and companies began producing tequila, with about 900 different tequila brands exported from one city. Because of this, companies had to start marking each of their productions with a serial number so they will differ from other brands. From then on, tequilas’ popularity has grown substantially. The Mexican government consented to make the third Saturday of every March a celebratory day for tequila making. Even today, tequila remains to be one of the most-loved alcohols available.

What Plant Is Tequila Made From?

Tequila is made from the only Weber Azul plant, more formally known as a blue agave plant. This is the only plant that can make tequila – an alcoholic beverage. There is a rumor that the Mexican government had stated the authentic tequila must be precisely 51% of these blue agave plants’ sugars.

weber blue agave plant field
Photo by Dylan Freedom via Unsplash

What Is A Blue Agave Plant?

The infamous blue agave is a blueish-grayish succulent from the Asparagaceae plant family. This large, fast-growing plant it’s indigenous to the state of Mexico, although it grows in Central America and parts of the United States as well.

Regardless of these succulents being a fast-growing plants, they still can take anywhere up to 12 years to sprout ultimately. Interesting, right? Not to mention that there are about 300 variations of this one agave species! But why has this specific plant been the chosen gem in creating tequila?

The blue agave has a higher chance of producing agavins, also known as sugars. The agavins make an irresistibly perfect match for fermenting alcohol-induced beverages. However, you never want to use them raw, as they are poisonous when consumed raw. Instead, you should always bake or form it into a sauce, like syrup. Only then will the tasty, sweet flavor notes become more prominent.

Check out other Agave species:

How Is Tequila Made?

Believe it or not, making tequila is a complex and tiring task. It undergoes quite an extensive production process which consists of the following steps shown below.

Harvesting or purchasing the agave plants

Depending on the tequila company, this first step could go two ways. Usually, a couple of them choose just to purchase the already-harvested plants from farmers because it takes less time than harvesting. As mentioned, the blue agave plant can take up to 12 years to fully develop, and if tequila making is a primary source of income, some producers need a quicker method. On the other hand, those who choose to harvest the plants will wait the necessary time before using a coa tool to gather them.

harvested blue agave plants
Harvested Weber Blue Agave Plants
Photo by CamiloCote via Pixabay

Cooking process

Cooking is an essential step that is essential prior to production. However, the agave plant is often diced into small pieces and weighed before cooking. The agave chunks are then put into steel ovens for quicker cooking times, to turn the agave into sugars for the tequila. Those sugars are turned into alcohol later on.

Fermenting the agave juice

After cooking the agave chunks, producers are left with juice. These juices are then fermented through vessels to get the specific taste of the tequila. This portion of the production process may differ depending on the company and the type of tequila they are keen on making. Typically, this process can take anywhere from from 3 days to up to a week and a half.

Distillation

While making tequila, the agave juice usually goes through two distillation sessions. The first session is to discard any impurities that should not remain in the final process. Then, the second session is to figure out the individual alcohol levels that the tequila will possess. For reference, a standard alcohol level for tequilas is proof of 110 before dilution.

Aging

Depending on the tequila being made, the substance will be made in either a cognac barrel or an oak barrel. The type of tequila also determines the age of the tequila. The aging process can last anywhere from 2 months to up to 3 years to get a relatively best-guessed time. The longer the aging takes, the higher the quality of the tequila will be.

How Long Does Tequila Production Take?

Overall, the production process can take up to 20 years to conclude. And that’s typically for a single bottle. However, the tequila must go through further approval steps to get to the market after the production process. This means you must approve the substance with higher raked personnel, taking months to years.

What Are The Different Types of Tequila?

When people think of tequila, they believe it is just one type. However, there are many different brands you have never known. When you hear of the assorted kinds of tequila, more than likely, people are speaking of Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo tequilas. Now, you may be wondering what the differences are with these variations since they are all tequilas. Below, I have summarized a bit of each type for further information.

Blanco

Tequila Blanco is a fresh blend of tequila. Unlike other tequilas, it has not been aged. The bottles of Blanco have labels saying that it is 100% blue agave, and they are the best in cocktails and margaritas.

blanco tequila
Photo by Mathew Benoit via Unsplash

Joven

Tequila Joven is kind of similar to Blanco. However, half of it is unaged while the other half has been aged. These two halves are then mixed together.

Reposado

Tequila Reposado is a blend of tequila aged from 2 months to up to 12 months in oak barrels. Similar to the Blanco blend, reposado is also great for using in margaritas.

reposado tequila
Photo by @cincoro via Instagram

Añejo

Tequila añejo is aged in oak barrels for up to 12 months, giving vibrant flavor notes with each taste.

Extra Añejo

This extra Añejo tequila is far rarer to find than the other blends mentioned; however, it exists in some places. Extra Añejo is aged three years and is rumored to appear elegant amber.

Also read:

extra anejo tequila
Photo by @chaffiotcollectioncigars via Instagram

Why Drink Tequila? – Medical Benefits of Tequila

You wouldn’t typically think of tequila or any alcoholic beverage for that matter when finding a health-benefiting drink. However, small glasses of tequila bring some great health benefits. Just some of those benefits are as follows:

  • It can help one’s weight loss journey
  • It helps promote healthy digestion
  • It’s healthy for your bones
  • Good tool for people with diabetes as it helps keep blood sugar under control
  • It’s probiotic!
  • Helps with insomnia
  • It can reduce pain levels
  • And more!

Further Interesting Facts About Tequila

  • The most sold brand of tequila is Jimador
  • Vodka and tequila are usually the same proofs
  • Licking salt before drinking tequila is the incorrect way to drink it
  • Lemon and lime are the perfect matches for chasing tequila
  • Blue agave plants are able to grow fully in volcanic-based soil
  • Tequila can only be legal with a blue agave plant
tequila in ice
Photo by distelAPPArath via Pixabay

Summary

It’s pretty interesting how to make tequila from a simple plant, right? And how it’s only legal to be made from one specific species of succulent, the blue agave plant. Although the whole tequila-making process is lots of work, it makes for a great conversation with friends.

ABOUT ME

Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me: richard.succulentcity@gmail.com

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