The following process is specifically for our Costa
cigar tobacco. The most
unique and excellent cigar tobacco in the world!
Cigars are a natural product, often compared to
and the quality of a
cigar is directly related
and quality of leaves used in its
just as the quality of wine, depends
on the type and
A "Distinctive Cigar", like great wine, comes from
special earth and very special regions in the
Costa Rica being a unique country in all the world, creates
magnificent cigar with it's "signature brand"
seedbeds, have to
be in flat fields, so that the seeds aren't washed away.
After being planted, the seeds are
covered with cloth
or straw, to shade them from the sun.
This covering is gradually removed, as
to germinate, and after around 35 days they are
transplanted usually in the second half of October...into the tobacco
The leaves are watered both by mineral rain and
and irrigated from below, with
Three Parts of the Tobacco Plant
The tobacco plant is considered in three
parts: the top or corona, the
As the tobacco leaves develop,
beautiful, flower buds
appear. These have to
be removed by hand, to prevent
them from stunting leaf and plant growth.
make beautiful, wild bouquets!)
The quality of "wrapper" leaf, is crucial in any cigar.
Plants called Corojos, specifically designated to
provide wrapper leaves, for the very
grown under gauze sheets, held up by
They prevent the tobacco leaves from becoming too
thick in a protective response
to sunlight. The
technique, called tapado (covering), also helps them
remain smooth and "velvety" to the touch.
When harvesting time
arrives, the delicate tobacco
are removed by hand, using a single
movement. Those selected as wrappers, are put in
bundles of five, a
The tobacco leaves are picked in six harvesting
libra de pie (at the base),
uno y medio
(one-and-a-half), centro ligero (light cente),
(thin center), centro gordo (thick
center) and corona
The "libra de pie" section isn't used for the wrappers.
between each phase. The finest
leaves, found in the middle of the plant;
tobacco leaves, (corona), are usually too oily to
used as binder leaves.
The whole cycle, from transplanted tobacco seedlings,
to the end of harvesting,
takes some 120 days, with
each tobacco plant being visited an average of
times, making it a very labor-intensive process.
But for the
The Association of Tabacaleros, in
de Puriscal, (Our Co-op, consisting of 200,
of the most knowledgeable and futuristic Tobacco
in Central America), it is a labor of love
"Wrapper" tobacco leaves grown under cover, are
classified by color as: ligero
(light), seco (dry),
(glossy), amarillo (yellow), medio tiempo
and quebrado (broken), while
under the sun,
ligero and medio tiempo.
The "ligero" tobacco leaves from the
top of the
have a very strong flavor, the "seco" from
are much lighter, and the "volado"
bottom, are used to add
bulk and for their
The art of making an excellent cigar is to blend
along with our
unique Costa Rican "wrapper"
leaf, in such proportions, as to give the
cigar a mild,
medium, or full flavor, and to ensure
that it burns well.
The tobacco leaves, are
also classified by size:
(large, average, small) and by physical condition,
are used for cigarillos).
If all of our tobacco leaves are good, each "wrapper"
can wrap 32 cigars. The
condition and quality
of our Costa Rican "wrapper" leaf is crucial to
appearance... of our
Costa Rican Cigars, as well as
its enticing aroma
and smooth flavor.
The Costa Rican wrapper... is soft, smooth and
and has an "even" burn, it is a cigar that
The bundles of tobacco leaves are then taken to
a tobacco barn on the vega or
plantation, to be
The barn faces west, so that the sun heats
in the morning, and
the other, in the late
The temperature in the tobacco barns is carefully
if necessary, by opening and closing
doors at both ends, (usually kept shut), to
account the changes of temperature
tobacco leaves reach
the barn, they are strung up on
The poles, each holding around 100 leaves, are
hoisted up horizontally and the leaves are left
for between 45
and 60 days, depending on
During this time, the green chlorophyll in the
leaves, turns to
a "golden amber" brown
carotene, giving them, their characteristic color.
The poles are then
taken down, the threads cut,
and the tobacco leaves
stacked into bundles,
The bundles of tobacco leaves, are then taken
to the fermentation houses and placed in piles
about three feet
high, covered with jute.
Enough moisture remains in the tobacco leaves,
the first fermentation, a process like
develops, but the temperature
must be watched carefully,
so that it does
exceed 92 F during the 35 to 40 days,
piles are left intact in the fermentation process.
The tobacco leaves develop a uniform color.
The tobacco leaf piles are then broken up and
the tobacco leaves
are cooled. The next stop
journey, is at the "escogida", or "sorting"
where they will be graded
and texture and where the cigar
will have part of their stems
that our "long filler" is smooth and tightly
In preparation for handling, they are moistened,
under a spray of
pure "mineral" water for
our wrappers or
a mixture of mineral water
the juices from our tobacco stems for fillers.
Flattened onto boards (planchas), our
return to the fermentation
In dark rooms, they are built into stacks, called
up to 6 feet high. The second, more
powerful fermentation begins within the damp
wooden casing has
been buried in the
burro, into which a sword-like
thermometer is thrust.
The temperature inside, must not exceed 110 F,
60 days, longer for some tobacco leaf
types, shorter for others.
If it does, the bulk is broken down and the tobacco
leaves are cooled before it is rebuilt. (Because of
fermentation process, cigar tobacco is much
in acidity, tar and
nicotine, than cigarette
making it much more palatable).
It is now time for the tobacco leaves to be sent
to the factories or
warehouses, square bales
wrapped with palm
bark, which helps to keep the
cigar tobacco, at a
constant humidity, and to
it slowly matures, until it is needed,
as long as four years.
Vegas de Santiago
Manufacturers of Premium Cigars in Costa Rica!
Wholesale & Retail
Contact Us at:
Continue to Part 2
Tobacco Growing in Costa Rica
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