Tobacco Cigar-Picking The Tobacco For Cigars
TOBACCO FOR CIGARS - PICKING THE LEAVES
Tobacco cigars are handmade with a blend of tobacco leaves. There are three types of leaves on the tobacco plant.
Each is named based on their location on the plant. The Ligero are at the top of the tobacco plant.
The Seco are those leaves in the middle of the plant and the Volado leaves are located at the bottom of the plant. The strongest tobacco is the Ligero, the Seco provides texture and taste, and the Volado serves as mild filler for the cigars.
Only when the tobacco leaves are perfect, are they picked. The tobacco plant normally has 16 to 17 leaves. Only two to three leaves are picked at a time, and only after reaching perfect maturity. Growing tobacco and deciding when to pick the leaves is an art and requires years of training and hands on experience. Every step affects the final product, the cigar.
It takes constant care of the tobacco plants and fields to achieve perfect tobacco suitable for Boutique premium cigars.
This includes care before and after the harvest.
Most of the pickers have been doing it for years. They look forward to the crop harvesting season and challenge each other by competing for the finest leaf of the harvest.
After the leaves are picked they are taken to Tabacalera Esteli’s Curing House by tractor. The curing house is a Cuban-style “casa de tabaco”. It is the size of about two football fields long and its’ construction is specific for drying and curing tobacco.
This is totally done by hand with strict supervision. After this tedious process, the tobacco leaves are individually hand sewn together in pairs through the stem.
The sewn pairs are hung on long poles.
The poles, each with about 100 leaves, are placed in the curing house at different levels. Based on the type of leaf and its size, they are placed higher or lower from