What is an Agave Pina?
It is referred as such after the agave is harvested and the agave leaves have been cut by jimador using a coa de jima.
Agave pinas is the key ingredient in the production of tequila and mezcal, and because of their weight, they can be quite expensive.
Agave pinas are used to make tequila and mezcal because there is ample juice with good amounts of sugar content that can be extracted to produce alcohol.
After the juice from the agave pina is extracted it is then fermented to produce tequila or mezcal.
What Does Pina Mean in Spanish?
Agave pina means "pineapple" in Spanish, and this is because the agave pina heart resembles a pineapple.
In Spanish the word “pina” is spelled “piña” with an accented “n.”
How Much Do Agave Pinas Weigh?
Mature agave pinas can weigh anywhere from 40 lbs all the way up to 300 lbs depending on the species of the agave.
Blue weber azul agave used to make tequila is around 80 to 110 pounds.
While a mature tobala agave can be 40 to 65 pounds.
And an espadin agave can weigh up to 220 pounds!
What are the Sizes of Agave Pina at Full Maturity?
Agave pinas can vary significantly in size, depending on the specific species and the conditions in which they are grown.
Agave plants typically take between seven and fifteen years to reach maturity, at which point they are typically around three feet tall and three feet wide.
However, some types of agave can grow much larger.
The Agave americana, for example, can reach heights of up to sixteen feet.
The majority of commercial agave farms are located in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, where the conditions are ideal for cultivating these plants.
As a result, Jalisco is responsible for producing the majority of the world's tequila.
How Much Do Agave Pinas Cost?
The average price of an agave pina to make tequila on the open market in 2022 is almost breaching $29 pesos or $1.50 per kilo.
Far above the 2016 average price of $10 pesos per kilo.
However, the price can vary depending on the supplier, the region where the agave is grown, as well as the species of agave.
The pricing for mezcal agaves is not as widely recorded as the tequila numbers and can vary greatly.
How to Bake an Agave Pina to Produce Mezcal or Tequila?
In order to extract the agave juice, the piña (heart of the agave plant) must be baked.
This process breaks down the plant's cell walls and separates the pulp from the juice.
After the piña is baked, it is shredded and combined with water to create a mash.
The mash is then fermented and distilled to produce mezcal or tequila.
Agave pina baking is a lengthy process, but it is essential for making these popular spirits.
Here is the process;
Harvest the agave and cut the agave leaves called pencas.
Preheat the oven to a cool 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place agaves pinas inside the oven.
Wait until the agave pinas are cooked to the optimum sugar content.
Extract the agaves to be shredded.
How Long Does It Take To Cook An Agave Pinas For Tequila or Mezcal?
In order to extract the maximum amount of flavor from the agave, the pinas must be cooked before they are fermented.
The cooking process can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, depending on the size of the batch, the desired flavor profile, and methods used for cooking.
The pinas are typically baked in large ovens called an horno or steamed in large vats called autoclaves.
This allows the sugars in the Agave to caramelize, resulting in a sweeter, more complex flavor. After cooking, the Agave is crushed and fermented with yeast and water.
The resulting liquid is then distilled to create mezcal or tequila.
So, next time you enjoy a glass of mezcal or tequila, remember that it all started with a long cook!
How Many Agave Pinas Does it Take to Make a Bottle of Tequila or Mezcal?
Agave plants can vary greatly in size, but it takes an average of 12 to 15 pounds of agave pinas to make a bottle of tequila or mezcal.
The larger the pina, the fewer plants it takes to produce a given amount of liquor.
Agave pinas are typically harvested after they've reached full maturity, which can take anywhere from seven to 20 years depending on the species of agave.
Once the plants are harvested, the pinas are trimmed and peeled before being cooked and crushed to extract their juices.
It takes about 600 pounds of agave juice to make one barrel of tequila, which is enough to fill 300 bottles.
So, next time you raise a glass of tequila or mezcal, remember that it took at least a dozen agave plants to make it!
Greg Rutkowski, President
Greg is a lover of agave spirits, handicrafts, and barware. In 2020 he married all of his loves and created a business bringing amazing pieces from all over Mexico to the United States. Learn more here.