We listen to the tobacco. By monitoring the temperature...the tobacco tells us when it's ready to turn.
Easton, PA (PRWEB) July 05, 2013
The all-new Cigar Advisor is an online cigar magazine that brings a fresh, irreverent, and down-to-earth perspective on all things cigars to thousands of smokers. In addition to educational cigar content and behind-the-scenes cigar industry articles from some of the business’s top names, Cigar Advisor delivers an array of content about a variety of topics of interest to people who enjoy the cigar lifestyle. The magazine also features cigar reviews and ratings submitted by real smokers. Cigar Advisor has just published another installment by Nick Perdomo, President of Tabacalera Perdomo, and regular Cigar Advisor contributor, on the growing of cigar tobacco – specifically, the tobacco curing and fermentation processes.
Nick Perdomo takes readers through “Initial Fermentation: From the curing barn to the pilones,” in the latest installment to his series on farming tobacco. This is the point after which the leaves have been harvested from the field, then separated by type - Seco, Viso, Ligero - and transported by truck to his farm’s curing barns.
Nick writes how the leaves’ journey begins: “Once they arrive at the curing barn the leaves are sewn, tied, and then hung on eucalyptus sticks to dry from 45 to 65 days. During that time period they'll release their chlorophyll and seal their colors which will prepare them for the first fermentation process.”
He notes the most important time period, the first 12 to 14 days, during which the colors are sealed in as the leaves begin to wilt and start taking on a more yellowish hue. Perdomo also details some of the measures taken to maintain ambient humidity in the barns at a constant 75%, which include lining the building, mold prevention as well as the lighting of fires within the buildings. According to Nick, the secret is in controlling the environment, “maintaining the proper humidity and keeping a consistent airflow.”
After the leaves have completed their 45-65 day drying period they're ready to go through various fermentation processes. Because the central vein line in each leaf still has moisture in it, Nick says, “we build piles called pilones, which are essentially compost heaps. We do this because, biochemically, the tobacco processes itself under pressure, while at the same time allows any excess moisture to dissipate.”
The fermentation period varies depending on the classification of each leaf. Seco, Viso and Ligero leaves all vary in size and thickness – and each is fermented for a different period of time. As the tobacco ferments, it heats up in the pilon to as much as 115 degrees; the piling process is repeated until a "complete rotation" is reached, so all of the tobacco is fermented as uniformly as possible.
"We listen to the tobacco," Nick writes. “By monitoring the temperature inside the pilon, the tobacco tells us when it's ready to turn. This isn't something you can do just randomly. We'll turn each pilon as many times as it takes to ferment it properly.”
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