Drying the tobacco is known to be called curing, and after harvesting of leaves is done, this act is performed. The character and quality of tobacco leaves is defined by this process. In order to get out the best characteristics of tobacco, curing should be controlled and done carefully.
There are three kinds of tobacco grown and they are; burley, Virginia and oriental. Countries like Brazil, Greece, Malawi, Argentina, China, Spain, Tanzania, United States and Turkey grow this tobacco.
- Flue cured or Virginia tobacco
It is also called to be ‘bright tobacco’ due to its deep-orange and golden-yellow colour it turns to during curing. It is cured for almost a week in high temperature barns, giving bright, light taste and aroma. Places like Argentina, India, Tanzania and United States grow Virginia tobacco.
- Burley tobacco
This is brownish in its texture and is air cured for around 2 months. When this is done natural sugar of burley is lost and with time it starts developing cigar-like strong taste. Brazil, Argentina, Malawi, United States grow it.
- Oriental tobacco
They are highly aromatic. Oriental tobacco’s little leaves are individually harvested and are sun-cured with open air. Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and Macedonia largely grow these kinds.
Each kind of tobacco is cured in a different manner, Virginia requires flue curing, Burley requires air curing and oriental requires sun curing.
These different types of tobacco also need different blends and these blends are of two kinds which contribute to the global cigarette market.
- Blended cigarettes
These cigarettes use all the 3 types of tobacco, Virginia, oriental and burley. Certain ingredients are mixed to it in order to replace sugar while curing and which supply distinctive aroma and flavour for different cigarette brand. These blended cigarettes highly dominate United States, Asian markets, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The brands that are popular for blended tobacco are Marlboro, chesterfield, Philip Morris and L&M.
- Virginia cigarettes
Made with Virginia tobacco, these kinds are very popular in United Kingdom, along with formerly ruled British colonies like Canada, India, Nigeria, Australia, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, South Africa and more. Virginia brands involve Peter Jackson, Number 7, PMI’s Longbeach.
- Tobacco growth
The process of tobacco growing has not gone through much significant changes besides the addition of technology, to make it more efficient, the larger part of the process still remains the same. The suppliers have to follow the (GAP), that is, Good Agricultural Practices, which basically covers the complete process of tobacco growing, from crops planning, selecting right site and appropriate type of soil and fertility as well as land preparation so that the buyers are assured that it has been grown on the best foundation.
- Crop cultivation
Cultivation is the 1st process, where tobacco seeds have to be sown in seedbeds, and right seeds should be planted to yield good quality results. They germinate quickly within 10 days.
After cultivation, leaves have to be harvested in a precise manner and checked if they are yet prime or in a mature condition.
- Stabilizing and grading
After curing takes place, the tobacco is sorted according to their quality and stalks position, and is also packed separately for delivery. After the purchasing, it is transferred to local factory for processing where they check its uniformity. After completion of the drying process, it is pressed and packed into cases for sale.