This is where the rough leaves turn into beautiful cigars and the magic takes place.
Enjoying your work. Havana style.
It was 10:30 AM at the La Corona factory in Old Havana. This lady has moistened seasoned premium tobacco leaves that were grown in the Pinar del Rio region of Cuba.
She, as well as dozens of other women carefully remove the center vein of each tobacco leaf.
This woman is smoking a cigar produced in another part of the factory. Her morning cigar choice is a double corona.
In Cuban cigar factories the workers are allowed to smoke as many cigars as they want during work hours.
Bundles of tobacco leaves are stored for several months to several years. This is done in a warehouse area of the cigar factory. After the leaves are separated and graded according to size, color and quality, they are individually hung in a movable frame with racks. The leaves go through their first fumigation process. This kills beetle larvae that can hatch at temperatures over 82ºF/28ºC and make holes in the finished cigar.
GRADING LEAVES FOR QUALITY
Tobacco leaves are laid on a clean cloth that is on the floor. The leaves are graded according to quality. Leaves that are torn, ripped or have holes are set aside and later used in the fabrication of machine made cigars.
GRADING LEAVES FOR SIZE
Leaves are then separated according to size and characteristics. Damaged or odd sized leaves are used for machine made cigars.
SEPARATING LEAVES FOR COLOR
The dry flat leaves are now brought to tables where they are separated according to color.
REMOVING VIENS FROM LEAVES
The center vein must be carefully removed from each leaf prior to making cigars. This is illustrated in the photo on this page.
Different areas on each floor of the cigar factory are utilized for specific steps of manufacturing premium cigars.
Dozens of women sit at round tubs and painstakingly remove the center vein from each leaf of tobacco.