1. Hands are The Gateway to the heart
  2. Step 1
  3. Step 2
  4. Step 3
  5. Step 4
  6. Step 5
  7. Step 6
  8. Step 7

HarvestingStep One

As the sun rises over the agave fields, the handmade process begins.

Our story begins in the highlands of Arandas, Mexico. Two men, dressed for hard work and carrying razor sharp tools called the “Coa De Jima” walk row after row. They’re called “Jimadors.”

The agave grown at this elevation is particularly sweet, and a Jimador can sense the exact moment when an agave is at the peak of maturity, some actually bleeding sweet nectar. They wield their Coa, with exacting precision, to separate the piña, the juicy core, from the rest of the plant.

The agave is then hand-loaded into trucks bound for the distillery.

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BakingStep Two

Our baking process is slow and inefficient. In other words, how it should be.

Trucks loaded with piña arrive at the La Alteña distillery. This building has been part of El Tesoro since 1937,after the original distillery was destroyed during the Mexican Revolution.

After unloading the piñas, workers meticulously prepare them for baking. Instead of the sound of machinery, the room is filled with the echo of chopping. Swinging razor sharp axes, they carefully remove the waxy stem, which can give tequila a bitter taste.

The piñas are then hand stacked into a huge brick and stone oven called a “horno.” Men climb deep into the horno to fill every inch. The piñas are then slowly steamed for 36 hours and then cooled for another 36 hours. Piñas fresh from the oven taste sweet and strong, full of tequila potential.

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CrushingStep Three

Around here, progress is as slow as a one-ton stone wheel.

To extract the juice from piñas, El Tesoro workers use a tool as old as tequila making itself: a one ton stone wheel called a “Tahona.” Simply moving this imposing crusher takes considerable effort. Once pulled by mule, the Tahona is now led around the basin by tractor. Slowly, methodically, it squeezes out flavor.

The men who work alongside the Tahona wheel are called “Tahoneras.” They hunch over directly in front of the rolling stone, swinging a hand tool called a “chivo.” Named after a goat with two horns, the chivo is used to dig into the piñas to prevent them getting matted down.

Ridges are occasionally hand carved into the Tahona to give it traction. And the wheel itself must be replaced every 50 years.

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FermentationStep Four

Sometimes you have to let Mother Nature’s hands take over.

With only the occasional stir from a worker atop a ladder, Mother Nature converts sugar to alcohol. Instead of fermenting the juice only, El Tesoro is one of the few types of tequila that keeps the piñas throughout the entire process, providing a rich flavor. Both juice and pulp are fermented in large wooden vats to enhance the agave flavor.

The vats are alive with bubbling and boiling over 7-10 days. This creates a foamy crust called a “mosto.” Eventually, Mother Nature finishes her work and the bubbling ceases and the liquid is moved into a holding tank to await the first distillation.

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DistillationStep Five

Distilled to proof, with no water or sugar added. Then. Now. Always.

Our tequila is double distilled in copper stills to exactly 80 proof. First, it’s distilled with the agave fibers to retain the natural agave flavors. Liquid is run off in the first 12 hours of distillation to remove wax and dust from the original plant. This creates an alcohol called “ordinario.”

We then distill it a second time, which turns the ordinario into crystal clear tequila.

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BottlingStep Six

It’s not just the El Tesoro name on every bottle of our tequila.

While El Tesoro Reposado and Añejo are aged in oak barrels to add the final touch of flavor, El Tesoro Platinum is bottled immediately. The bottles are uniquely square, which reflects the handcrafted tequila within. Even at this stage, the traditions are maintained.

At long wooden tables, each El Tesoro bottle is inspected, labeled and finished by hand. You can see the pride in the bottlers’ eyes as they carefully hold each and every bottle and at the end of the journey, the bottler’s name is placed on the bottom of every bottle.

It’s a final symbol of quality and pride in hand crafting tequila.

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El CorazonThe Way Tequila is Supposed to be Made

At El Tesoro, we say the hands are the gateway to the heart. Because every bottle of our tequila is created by hand, but it’s also made with great passion. It’s no coincidence “El Tesoro” means “The Treasure.”

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