♪♪ Narrator: WORKERS UNLOCK THE TOP
OF THE STILL AND POUR IN CHLORINE-FREE,
DEIONIZED WATER. ONCE THE STILL IS
ONE-QUARTER FULL, THEY ADD THE LEMONGRASS. THEY STACK THE BUNDLES
IN A CRISSCROSS FASHION, CREATING GAPS FOR STEAM
TO PASS THROUGH. THEY SCREW THE LID
TIGHTLY TO PREVENT THE LOSS OF STEAM
DURING DISTILLATION. THEY ACTIVATE THE STILL, AND IT HEATS THE WATER
TO THE BOILING POINT. STEAM RISES THROUGH THE PLANTS
AND PICKS UP THE OILS. IT CARRIES THE OIL VAPOR
UP THROUGH A PIPE AND INTO A CONDENSER, WHERE THE VAPORS COOL
AND RETURN TO A LIQUID FORM. THE LIQUID OIL AND WATER
DRIP OUT INTO A FLASK. OIL AND WATER DON’T MIX. SO THE OIL FLOATS TO THE TOP. AND THE WATER IS DRAINED OFF AND RECYCLED BACK
INTO THE DISTILLER. THE TECHNICIAN THEN COLLECTS
THE LEMONGRASS OIL IN A BOTTLE ONE DROP AT A TIME. THE LEMONGRASS OIL UNDERGOES A SECOND DISTILLATION
IN A LABORATORY, USING A MORE SENSITIVE
PIECE OF EQUIPMENT KNOWN AS
A ROTARY VACUUM EVAPORATOR. THE OIL FLOWS INTO A FLASK THAT’S SPINNING IN A HOT BATH
OF VEGETABLE OIL. THE EVAPORATOR PUMPS OUT AIR AND CREATES A VACUUM
IN THE FLASK, WHICH LOWERS THE BOILING POINT. THIS PREVENTS DAMAGE
TO THE DELICATE MOLECULES RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE LEMONGRASS SCENT. THE OIL VAPORS RISE
TO A CONDENSER COIL WHERE THEY RELIQUEFY, LEAVING ANY RESIDUAL WATER
AND IMPURITIES BEHIND. THE PURE LEMONGRASS OIL DRIPS
INTO A RECEIVER FLASK. AS DISTILLED LEMONGRASS
OIL IS COLLECTED, MORE FLOWS INTO THE EVAPORATOR
BEAKER FOR PURIFICATION. THE DISTILLING PROCESS
IS CONTINUOUS. THE ROTARY VACUUM
EVAPORATOR PROCESSES ROUGHLY 2 TO 3 QUARTS
OF FRAGRANT OIL PER HOUR. THEY STORE THE LEMONGRASS OIL
IN A COLD ROOM WITH OTHER ESSENTIAL OILS. LIKE FINE WINE,
IT MUST BE KEPT COOL, OR IT COULD SPOIL
AND RUIN ITS BOUQUET.