Whole Leaf Tobacco

I'm still a bit confused about the process of curing

HeftyBlast

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Hello,

so all these terms are kind of very confusing, for a beginner. Is curing only to make the leaves change colors or is it also the drying stage? also, since i don't have much room at home, i am using a kiln to age my leaves.

i harvested my first batch of virginia and air cured them until the stem got dry. i read that people have bright golden leaves but mine are more on the light brown side, maybe a bit darker. is that normal, am i doing this right?

sorry for asking many questions at the same time ;)

-PA
 

Abuzer

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Hi,

you are doing it right.

With Virginias you have two types of curing possibilities. one is to air cure, which is what you have down - leaves loose sugar and turn out brown. the other option is flue curing, where the leaves are colour cured to lemon yellow and than dried very fast under high temperature to save the sugar in the leafes.

If your tobacco is allready smokeable depends on the variety - but you can just taste and try. Normally it is best to age it for a bit and to case it.
You can also press your tobacco to speed up some processes, but the options are almost endless and also depend on what end result you would want to have.
 

Cray Squirrel

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Hello,

so all these terms are kind of very confusing, for a beginner. Is curing only to make the leaves change colors or is it also the drying stage? also, since i don't have much room at home, i am using a kiln to age my leaves.

i harvested my first batch of virginia and air cured them until the stem got dry. i read that people have bright golden leaves but mine are more on the light brown side, maybe a bit darker. is that normal, am i doing this right?

sorry for asking many questions at the same time ;)

-PA
Plus 1 on things being confusing at first. You're doing fine. eh.
While a flue cure would give Virginia type leaf better color, better flavor and better smokeability, air drying works although not the recommended method. Depends on if your variety was a strictly flue cured type or if it could be cured either way like Virginia Gold.
Now all you have to do is age your leaf in your kiln for 4 to 6 weeks in case and below 130 F.
 

Knucklehead

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Hello,

so all these terms are kind of very confusing, for a beginner. Is curing only to make the leaves change colors or is it also the drying stage? also, since i don't have much room at home, i am using a kiln to age my leaves.

i harvested my first batch of virginia and air cured them until the stem got dry. i read that people have bright golden leaves but mine are more on the light brown side, maybe a bit darker. is that normal, am i doing this right?

sorry for asking many questions at the same time ;)

-PA
You could also sun cure the Virginia flue cure types, which for me falls between flue cured and air cured in terms of sweetness.
 

HeftyBlast

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Hi,

you are doing it right.

With Virginias you have two types of curing possibilities. one is to air cure, which is what you have down - leaves loose sugar and turn out brown. the other option is flue curing, where the leaves are colour cured to lemon yellow and than dried very fast under high temperature to save the sugar in the leafes.

If your tobacco is allready smokeable depends on the variety - but you can just taste and try. Normally it is best to age it for a bit and to case it.
You can also press your tobacco to speed up some processes, but the options are almost endless and also depend on what end result you would want to have.
alright great to know i'm not messing up my tobacco! :D i'm currently air curing my leaves because of the space constraint. i've started to look at the flue curing process and i'm not sure i understand the process correctly.

Plus 1 on things being confusing at first. You're doing fine. eh.
While a flue cure would give Virginia type leaf better color, better flavor and better smokeability, air drying works although not the recommended method. Depends on if your variety was a strictly flue cured type or if it could be cured either way like Virginia Gold.
Now all you have to do is age your leaf in your kiln for 4 to 6 weeks in case and below 130 F.
thanks for your input, i currently have virginia gold and canadian virginia because i had read that it was kinda easier for starters. for next year i want to keep some virginia gold and grow some burley, don't know which one yet, and the prilep.
the flue cure process kinda confuse me still, from what i think i understood, i need a kiln box with some air flow and raise the temperature up to around 130f over 5 days (appprox)?
my first batch is currently aging in my kiln and should be ready around nov 1st. i was reading here and there and got freaked a bit that i was messing something up and, just in case, i didnt want to lose my second batch.

You could also sun cure the Virginia flue cure types, which for me falls between flue cured and air cured in terms of sweetness.
i first thought of sun curing my leaves, but due to the climate, i cant really. by the time i started picking up my leaves it was already the end of the summer and we didnt get that much good sun either... i'm wondering if i might be mixing the terms here, but my leaves are suspended in my house extension (there are many windows and a lot of sun light). would that be considered air or sun cured?
 

deluxestogie

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Flue-curing is specifically for Flue-Cure (Virginia) varieties, and for Orientals. The process will not work for most other varieties.

Flue Cure Chart.jpg


The "yellowing" stage ranges from about 2 days for lower-stalk leaf, up to about 5 days for upper-stalk leaf. All the other stages are identical for all stalk levels. The temperatures are important and specific.

Bob
 

Cray Squirrel

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alright great to know i'm not messing up my tobacco! :D i'm currently air curing my leaves because of the space constraint. i've started to look at the flue curing process and i'm not sure i understand the process correctly.


thanks for your input, i currently have virginia gold and canadian virginia because i had read that it was kinda easier for starters. for next year i want to keep some virginia gold and grow some burley, don't know which one yet, and the prilep.
the flue cure process kinda confuse me still, from what i think i understood, i need a kiln box with some air flow and raise the temperature up to around 130f over 5 days (appprox)?
my first batch is currently aging in my kiln and should be ready around nov 1st. i was reading here and there and got freaked a bit that i was messing something up and, just in case, i didnt want to lose my second batch.


i first thought of sun curing my leaves, but due to the climate, i cant really. by the time i started picking up my leaves it was already the end of the summer and we didnt get that much good sun either... i'm wondering if i might be mixing the terms here, but my leaves are suspended in my house extension (there are many windows and a lot of sun light). would that be considered air or sun cured?
Only on flue curing do you need to follow a ramping up of temperatures in steps and stages. You begin with freshly primed Virginia and follow the time table and guidelines DeluxeStogy set out above.
You have already color cured your leaf by air drying. You cannot flue cure it now. You can age it by putting it in your kiln in case and hold temp under 130⁰F for 4 -6 weeks, then airing it out for a week or 2. No need to bring up temperatures on a schedule. That's only in flue curing.
Good Luck!
 

Yug

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Flue-curing is specifically for Flue-Cure (Virginia) varieties, and for Orientals. The process will not work for most other varieties.

Flue Cure Chart.jpg


The "yellowing" stage ranges from about 2 days for lower-stalk leaf, up to about 5 days for upper-stalk leaf. All the other stages are identical for all stalk levels. The temperatures are important and specific.

Bob
Hello everyone. Thanks a lot Bob for the flue curing chart. But I would need some clarification to fully understand. I understand that the curve "Dry bulb temp" gives the temperature to be observed in the kiln during the curing process. Is this correct? But could you explain me a curve that I don't understand: what is "wet bulb temp"? Thank you in advance for your knowledge, sharing your experiences with education.
 

Cray Squirrel

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Hello everyone. Thanks a lot Bob for the flue curing chart. But I would need some clarification to fully understand. I understand that the curve "Dry bulb temp" gives the temperature to be observed in the kiln during the curing process. Is this correct? But could you explain me a curve that I don't understand: what is "wet bulb temp"? Thank you in advance for your knowledge, sharing your experiences with education.
The wet bulb thermometer was something used in the past before we had humidity meters to accurately measure the humidity. It was used in combination with a normal dry bulb thermometer to measure the humidity. What's important is that you keep the humidity at a higher level until your leaf has color cured( yellowing). Once the leaf is color cured, then raise the temperature in steps as shown on the graph through wilting, then leaf drying then after the appropriate time from the graph, raise temperature again for stem drying. The main idea is to yellow or color cure the leaf before moving on to wilting. It may and probably will take longer than 2 days. After yellowing then follow the temperature raising steps and keep humidity lowered as temperature is raised in steps. Dont exceed the temperatures on the graph until the time for each level is up.
I wish I could explain this to where you could understand more easily. Bob, Knucks or other long timer will probably have an easier explanation.
 

Knucklehead

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Hello everyone. Thanks a lot Bob for the flue curing chart. But I would need some clarification to fully understand. I understand that the curve "Dry bulb temp" gives the temperature to be observed in the kiln during the curing process. Is this correct? But could you explain me a curve that I don't understand: what is "wet bulb temp"? Thank you in advance for your knowledge, sharing your experiences with education.
Further explanation regarding the crock pot and venting
 

deluxestogie

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Here is a diagram of how a wet-bulb thermometer is constructed. It is just a standard thermometer with the bulb (at the bottom) kept wet. How much this will lower the temperature of the wet-bulb thermometer depends directly on how rapidly water evaporates from the surface. Commercially (yes, they are still made and sold), a detailed chart is usually attached, in order to look up the dry-bulb temp vs. the wet-bulb temp, and determine the relative humidity as a percent.

WetBulb_DryBulb_thermometer.jpg

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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Further explanation regarding the crock pot and venting
Sorry, the vent part was in a different thread:
 

Yug

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Thanks to all. If I understand correctly: the evaporation of water lowers the temperature of the wet-bulb thermometer. The evaporation will depend on the temperature of the kiln and the relative humidity. Therefore, if the relative humidity and the oven temperature are well controlled, the "wet bulb temperature" will necessarily have the right value. I can therefore do without this control. Have I understood correctly or am I a dunce?:)
 

deluxestogie

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I think you understand it correctly. I never monitor humidity when I flue-cure. I do maintain some water in my Crockpot during only the yellowing phase, but remove the water after yellowing. I then close up the flue-curing chamber, and begin ramping-up the temperature according to the chart.

Bob
 
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