The mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia) is an evergreen shrub, of 2-3 metres height. Its life span is more than 100 years.
Before the tree carving process, the ground around the trunk needs to be weeded. Cleaning and soil leveling take place so that any mastiha tears that may fall on the ground can be easily gathered. Fine white soil, is spread on the ground to create a smooth surface ready for the mastiha tears to fall on.
The “kentima”, as the carving of small scars on the bark is called, is the most crucial stage in mastiha production. It is done with the help of a small sharp metal tool with grooved ends, called kentitiri. Mastiha is gathered before the first autumn rain and the cleaning and sorting process begins. It is sieved and diligently cleaned with olive oil soap and rain water. Large and medium sized mastiha tears are cleaned one by one with a knife or a needle.