Main Tobacco Curing Techniques

Published on May 3rd, 2013 00:00
Tobacco Curing

Tobacco experts distinguish four curing techniques applied for curing tobacco cultivated for industrial needs: Flue-curing, fire-curing, air-curing and sun-curing.

Flue-cured Tobacco

  • The most widespread curing method is considered the flue-curing. Utilized mostly in the production of cigarettes, the most popular sort of flue-cured tobacco is Virginia. This tobacco sort is also called as 'bright tobacco' due to the thermal drying process which allows the leaves a bright, golden color. Originating from the south-eastern U.S. state it has similar name at present the most cultivated tobacco sort in the world.
  • Flue-cured tobacco is dried in a sealed building with heater driven temperature forced from flues or pipes that expand from a heater into the barn. The temperature of the heater is steadily increased till the leaves and stems are entirely dried out. The process of flue-curing requires approximately a week and corrects the natural sugar of the leaf, which has an increased sugar and a medium-to-high nicotine content.
  • At present, a lot of farmers consider that curing flue-cured tobacco is much more affordable. Shelves of tobacco are inserted in large barns where heat and ventilation are supervised while air is pushed through the leaves.
  • Flue-cured kinds need hot weather, moisture, light rain and a sandy soil for their four month curing season.

Air-cured Tobacco

  • Certain tobacco leaves are air-cured after their harvest. Air-cured tobacco is usually cured dangling in buildings with a roof, with open sides to permit air to circulate. The main objective of air-curing is the regular elimination of humidity from tobacco leaves. This practice requires 4 to 8 weeks. In case it will be cured too fast, the leaf will become not uniform.
  • Generally, air-cured tobacco is divided into dark air-cured and light air-cured tobacco. Burley is the second favorite tobacco in the world that belongs to the light air-cured range. Burley is also called White Burley tobacco and is generally used to produce cigarettes and aromatic mixtures, whereas dark air-cured tobaccos are primarily used in the manufacture of chewing tobacco.
  • Burley possesses very low sugar content and is slightly cigar-like in taste and appearance, being used mostly in the production of flavored cigarettes usually called "American".

Fire-cured Tobacco

  • Despite the fact that curing techniques may differ, all fire-cured tobaccos are exposed to wooden smoke in order to dry the leaves. It is namely the sort of wood utilized to smoke the tobacco leaves and the level of smoke exposure that provides fire-cured tobacco leaves with their distinguishing flavors.
  • Fire-cured tobacco is usually darker in color and is generally used for pipe tobacco blends and chewing tobacco and possesses low sugar but at the same time increased nicotine content. Fire curing utilizes closed barns identical to that used for flue-curing. While flue-curing requires approximately a week, fire curing, may take more than 4 weeks.
  • Fire-cured tobacco is a strong sort of tobacco chosen as an ingredient for pipe blends, cigarettes, snuff and strong-tasting cigars.

Sun-cured Tobacco

  • A relatively little amount of tobacco is sun-cured. Tobacco leaves are subjected to the sun to get rid of the majority of their humidity before being air-cured to finish the procedure. Of the most popular sun-cured tobaccos, the best known are Oriental tobaccos and Balkans.
  • Oriental tobacco is characterized by increased flavor from small leaves, possessing decreased amount of both sugar and nicotine.

The leaves are generally sun-cured. Typically, the bigger the leaf, the more gentle the aroma. Thus Oriental tobacco is considered as the most costly to harvest by many tobacco producers. Oriental tobaccos are frequently cultivated in southern Europe and the Middle East.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer.
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