ABOUT OUR PROCESS
In our plantations, sugar cane is harvested by hand by amazing local and even indigenous employees. We practice what is called green harvesting which involves not burning the plants before harvest. From the beginning of our process, we make sure we are acting responsibly and sustainably with the environment, flora and fauna.
Once the sugar cane is cut and loaded in the trailers, it is taken to the mill to be weighed and processed.
This is where the panela manufacturing process begins. The first step is to grind the sugar cane and extract the juice, obtaining what is called the “primary juice” with bagasse residues or impurities.
This juice then goes through its first filtration were the bagasse residues and any foreign matter that comes from the field, such as soil, leaves or weeds, will be separated.
Once this first filtration is done, the next step is to alkalize or level the pH with calcium hydroxide, a natural product that is accepted by the certifying companies. This leveling of the pH is to standardize the quality of the juice and to ensure the subsequent concentration is homogeneous.
The juice then enters the first heater, where it is heated to 60 degrees, once it reaches that temperature it flows onto a second heater to bring the temperature up to 100 degrees. At this point the natural flocculant, crushed tree bark, is used to capture the impurities and separate them from the juice.
These impurities or “muds” are filtered again to recover any juice that might have been trapped in them. The juice is sent back to the process to be concentrated. The resulting product of this filtration is a dry mass that is used in our own organic fertilizer, which will serve to nourish the sugar cane plantations.
The now clarified juice begins a concentration process done by raising the temperature in five different evaporators. This process allows for water to evaporate reducing and concentrating the juice until it reaches a syrup like consistency. Once the appropriate point is reached the granulation process begins by a natural reaction.
Once granulated, the final product is packed in bags for subsequent sifting and final packaging according to what is requested by each individual client. The product is then passed through metal detectors to verify the quality of the product one last time.