The process begins with choosing a palm tree, taking into account its height and location, indicating the quality and quantity of guarapo. The quantity and quality of guarapo that a palm tree may give depends on various factors: force, geographical situation, height and altitude, and humidity.
Tall palm trees, although older, provide better guarapo than young ones. The least appreciated guarapo is the one obtained from the datilifera (date palm).
The accessibility to the palm tree will depend on the cleaning process in order to climb the palm tree comfortably.
The average height of the palm trees used for collecting Guarapo is roughly about 10m, although those between 5 and 7m are used more frequently.
The location will determine the quality and quantity of Guarapo depending on the amount of water the palm tree contains. The more it receives, the more Guarapo it will produce, but it will not be of great quality because the best quality Guarapo is obtained from palm trees on dry land and slopes which produce less quantity. The extraction of Guarapo takes place in La Gomera normally from February to July, in the south from the last months of winter and beginning of spring and the north from spring until the end of summer, even in autumn.
The access will depend on the cleaning processes carried out in order to climb the palm trees comfortably.
The “despencado” is the process that consists in removing the central and young leaves from the palm tree, cutting the “pencas”, thorns and the inflorescences of the core, leaving the surface of the palmito (heart of the palm tree) clean. This facilitates the access to the highest part of the trunk. This is probably the most difficult task “opening a palm tree”.