Tobacco plants are given space to grow and mature as workers watch their progress closely. It takes about three months for the plants to become green and tall, and growers do not use pesticides. Supervision, nets and cloths protect the plants until foot long leaves are ready to be picked by hand.
When it’s time to harvest, leaves are picked from the bottom to the top.
Valdo, the bottom leaf, has the mildest taste.
Seco, in the middle, has a medium flavor.
Ligero, at the top, is exposed to the most sun and has the strongest flavor.
Before cigar rolling,specially chosen leave are bundled according to size and hung to dry in curing warehouses until they are brown and all moisture is removed. Leaves are then piled on top of each to ferment. The piles gather heat which removes impurities and are watered and shuffled to avoid overheating and to ensure all leaves are cured equally. After six to eight weeks.
After this preparation,the master blender re-blends the filler by selecting a special combination of tobacco leaves.
Leaves are selected by rollers based on size, texture and color to make different varieties of cigars. In Cuban, Cigar rolling is always done by hand by an expert. Rollers shape leaves and wrap another leave over them to bind the contents. The cigars are placed in molds which apply pressure and further shape the cigars. The same roller administers finishing touches like wrapping the cigar with another leaf for presentation, putting on a head and inspecting the cigar for flaws.
New cigars are not immediately ready for sale and consumption. They are aged to develop the flavors and improve the taste. Cigars are aged for months or years depending on the quality the makers want to produce. Cigars that are aged longer will be rare and more expensive. Once aged, cigars are packaged for sale. This process is as delicate as the rest because labels must be carefully glued on, and cigars are individually placed in tubes within cigar boxes that will keep them safe. The boxes themselves are carefully crafted to enhance the aging process of the cigars they carry.