Tafia is a kind of cheap rum made from sugarcane juice. It is typically unaged whereas rum is typically aged in wooden barrels to reduce the level of fusel. Most of the fusel is absorbed in the first two years. Premium rums were aged for a longer period of time incidentally subjecting it to increasing ethanol evaporation.
Rum and tafia
The history of rum and tafia dates back to the 17th century on vast sugarcane plantations established in the West Indies. In the colonial era, rum trade became very lucrative along the existing trade routes and rum production also became a component of slavery.
Often both tafia and rum were produced. Tafia was mostly for local consumption, as it is easier and cheaper to make. Production of rum took more time, effort and resources, but produced a more concentrated and stable product that could be shipped to distant markets for profit.
In the making of rum, the juice from sugarcane is boiled down to syrup. This syrup is briskly stirred until crystals form. When the crystal layer is removed, the remainder - molasses - is boiled again and water and yeast are added to the molasses and water mixture and allowed to ferment. The fermented mixture is then distilled. The distilled product is colorless until it is aged in wooden barrels and other natural ingredients like caramel are added.
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