The harvested agave piñas are brought my donkey or truck to the palenque – an open-air, covered space where all of the mezcal production takes place. Next to the palenque is a large pit dug out of the earth that is used to roast the agave.

A large wood fire is built in the pit in anticipation of the agave roast. Once the fire burns down, rocks are tossed to cover the burning embers. The rocks reach the perfect temperature and the agave piñas are quickly piled into the pit, covered with bagaso (spent agave fibers from previous batches), soaked burlap and dirt.

Depending on the size of the batch, type of agave and style of the producer, a roast can take from 5-10 days. During this slow cooking process, the starches in the agave are converted to fermentable sugars and the plant softens making it easier for the next step in the process.