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How Tobacco Leaves Are Harvested And Prepared For Cigar Making

Aug 17, 2007
The process of preparing tobacco leaves for cigar making is a long and intricate one.
First the leaves are harvested, then aged with a process using a combination of heat and shade to lower the amount of sugar and water in the leaves without causing the large leaves to rot. This primary process, called curing takes from 24-45 days depending upon the climatic conditions and the construction of the barns used to store the harvested tobacco.

Some aspects of the curing process are manipulated based on the type of tobacco being cured and the desired color of the leaf. The secondary process which is called fermentation is continued under conditions which allow the leaf to die slowly while controlling the temperature and humidity to ensure that the leaf continues fermenting without rotting or disintegrating. It is during this process where the flavor, burning, and aroma of the leaf are developed.

Once the leaves have been allowed to age properly, they are then sorted to be used as filler or wrapper depending upon their overall quality and appearance. The leaves are continually moistened and handled carefully during this process to be sure that each leaf is used for its best purpose according to its individual qualities. The leaf will be baled, inspected, unbaled, reinspected, and baled again over and over as the aging cycle continues. When the leaf has reached the maturity desired by the manufacturer it is then used in the production of a cigar.

Just as in the beginning, a quality cigar is still created by hand. Incredibly, an experienced cigar roller can make hundreds of quality, nearly identical cigars per day. These rollers keep the tobacco moist and use specially designed crescent-shaped knives used to form the filler and wrapper leaves quickly and accurately. After being rolled the cigars are stored in wooden forms as they are allowed to dry and the uncapped ends cut to a uniform size. At this point, the cigar is a completed product that can be kept indefinitely under proper conditions. Cigars have been known to last for decades when kept at close to 70 degrees and 70% humidity.

Some premium brand cigars use different varieties of tobacco for the filler and the wrapper. "Long filler cigars" are a much higher quality of cigar, using long leaves throughout. These cigars also use a third variety of tobacco leaf, a "binder", between the filler and the outer wrapper. This permits the makers to use more delicate and attractive leaves as a wrapper. These high-quality cigars almost always blend varieties of tobacco. Even Cuban long-filler cigars will combine tobaccos from different parts of the island to incorporate several different flavors.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son in Navarre Florida. Get fine cigars at http://www.cubancigarsplus.com
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