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Written by Kevin Godbee

Friday, 20 March 2009

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Tags:
growing and harvesting tobaccorolling and growing
tips and trickstobacco faqs
tobacco terms and definitions


001  Now it’s time to move on from the growing and harvesting of the tobacco to what comes next in the chain that stretches all the way from the humble tobacco seed to the not so humble quality cigar that’s nestled with its brothers in a box just waiting for you to buy it. And this is where we see why people see a similarity between producing a fine wine and producing a fine cigar.

 

You see, no matter how much love and attention the farmer has given his tobacco plants there is still much to be done to the tobacco leaf that he has picked before it’s ready to be turned into a cigar. It’s during this process that the tobacco leaf undergoes some chemical changes to turn it into what we smoke today.

 

Curing the Leaf
Once the tobacco leaves are harvested they’re placed in large, open sheds where they’re tied into bunches and hung up to dry. You might find that some cigar experts like to refer to this process as curing but basically all that is happening is that the moisture content in the leaves is being allowed to evaporate.

 

This evaporation allows the flavors in the tobacco leaves to become concentrated and the process can take anything from 45 to 60 days to complete. It is possible to cure tobacco leaves much more quickly but the faster they’re dried the less flavor there is in the leaf. During this period of drying the tobacco leaves also lose their original color and become a rich tan.

 

As in most things, timing is important in this process and it’s not left up to the farmer to be the sole judge of when the leaf in each shed has undergone just the right amount of drying. Instead the cigar makers have representatives who check the sheds on a daily basis to ensure that the tobacco they want to buy gets neither too much nor too little drying time and it’s usually around during March that most of the leaf is taken out of the sheds and moved to enclosed sheds where it can be sorted and graded.

002

 

During the sorting process experienced sorters quickly sort the leaves into groups based on size, texture and appearance. To our untrained eye the tobacco leaves at this stage all look rather wrinkly and perhaps less than appealing but that is certainly not the way these trained sorters see each leaf.

 

 
After the leaves have been sorted it’s time to turn up the heat and start the leaves on the path to fermentation. While winemakers add yeast to obtain fermented wine it’s heat that’s applied to tobacco leaves to start the fermenting process.






Comments 

 
0 # ROOKIE GROWING TOBACCOKevin 2009-06-05 15:05
I believe that many people would enjoy a post by a experienced harvester that explains a :HOME GROWN TOBACCO DIRECTIONS:
thanks a lot.
-Rookie

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+1 # Good Information on how to grow tobacco 2009-06-17 10:50
if you need any really easy information on growing tobacco in the backyard go to this website alot of good information i have used. http://homegrowntobacco.blogspot.com/ (Just copy and paste the website into the adress bar)

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