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A tool, a word, so much more, and yet such a simple thing. Cogollo means variously “heart,” “middle,” or “shoot” and that’s pretty much exactly what it means in the context of mezcal. It’s the shoot that pops out of the center of the agave which may transform into the quiote. It’s used as a sign that the agave is ready to be harvested and as a tool. Sometimes the harvester will shave off the pencas and then leave the cogollo as a handle so that he can use it to hoist the agave onto a truck or four legged transport and from there into the palenque.

Susan Coss | Mezcalistas Harvesting agave in Oaxaca

Max co-founded Mezcalistas with Susan way back in 2012. Before that he was a journalist at Salon.com and The San Francisco Chronicle.

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