Second Day – Fermentation Education Continues

My education in fermentation continued today.  I am mostly learning the “how” and hope that I can reason the “why” as my time here continues (as in the construction of the piloné not why tobacco is fermented).

The team I was assigned to yesterady and I continued to work on completing the piloné move that they started last week.  Needless to say I quickly determined NOT to continue piling the hands of tobacco on the new piloné as it became clear quite quickly that I hand’t gotten the nack for it after just one shift.  See if you can identify the mistake from this picture.


Yesterday I described a little of the challenge I faced when seperating the indivual leaves in each hand.  As I worked today I thought of a couple of  metaphores to describe the manual effotrt it takes to do this task.

  • Untangling hair that has been tangled and matted for months
  • Unfolding the most ornate origomi creation you’ve ever seen

In the end we finished moving the piloné and it felt great to accomplish a goal with one of the kindest and all  inclusive teams I’ve ever had the privalege to work with.

I asked my hosts today about tobacco bettles and fermentation.  You see, the piloné is high in moisture and generates a lot of heat both of which are needed for those eggs to hatch.  The answer I was provided was as simple one,  fumigation.  AJ Fernandez has a schedule for fumigating the tobacco at specific points during the process of creating cigars.  They also immediatley fumigate tobacco they buy from other farms.  According to my hosts Cuba rarely fumigates which supports my hypothesis that cigars coming from Cuba have a high probablity of hatching the eggs in a humidor that isn’t properly maintained.

Before signing off for the night I wanted to show you the team’s makeup today.  There came a point late in the day when I threw my Traveler’s Quick Spanish book across the room and yelled “Basura” which elicited a long round of laughter from my team.  

I honestly wouldn’t have made the connections I’ve made without the efforts of one man, John.  He’s one of the two people that are in yesterday’s photo as well as this one.  Hint, he’s the the tank-top shirt in both pictures.

Tomorrow I continue my education in fermentation and this time I’ll be working with wraper tobacco (capa).  I am worried as I imagine I’ll make one basic mistake, tears.  Wraper is the most epensive tobacco and it is quite literrally handled with a gentle touch.  We’ll see how I do as I am scheduled to be in that fermantation room for two days.

Until tomorrow, may your cigar never go out and your ash hold until the end!