Once unloaded at the distillery, the piñas are cut in quarters with a hatchet and placed by hand into a stone and brick oven.
Most distilleries use stainless steel autoclaves baking the agave in a few hours but caramelizing the piñas which can add bitter flavors.
At la Alteña, the piñas are slowly steam-cooked during 36 hours and then cooled down for another 36 hours. The steam method allows the piñas to slowly bake to perfection.
Just like cooking in a traditional terracotta pot, the brick oven preserves the natural flavors of the ingredients and enhances the sweet and round characteristics.
The cooked piñas are then shredded and crushed to extract the agave juice, also called honey water.