For tools they have only a wooden board, two cutters, a guillotine, a pot of colourless and flavourless natural vegetable gum, a template to check length and girth and the skill of their fingers. There are four grades of Torcedor and only the top grade is allowed to make the biggest, most complicated Habanos. By tradition, a Lector reads to the Torcedores as they work, from the daily newspaper and from novels selected by popular vote.
- First the Torcedora lays out two or three half leaves that form the binder.
- Next she gathers together the leaves of the filler. Now the Torcedora forms the ‘bunch’- by rolling the filler into the binder to the precise diameter required for that particular Habano. The mouth end of the bunch is then cut square with the guillotine. The Torcedora makes her bunches in batches and presses them for 30 minutes or more in a wooden mould to set their shape.
- Next the Torcedora prepares the half leaf for the wrapper, still moist so that it will form perfectly to the shape of the bunch. The cigar is guillotined to length, and the work is complete. In a day a good Torcedor can make between 60 and 150 Habanos in this fashion, depending on the size and complexity of the shape.
Those are the classic Habanos. – Totally hand-made, long filler (Totalmente a Mano Tripa Larga)
With this method the Habanos you will find in the most prestigious brands like Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagás etc are made. They are made totally by hand with a filler composed of full tobacco leaves from the first class fields in Vuelta Abajo.
Some others are also made totally by hand, but using filler that is partly composed of shorter sections of leaf. These are the “Totally hand made, short filler” Habanos. They can be made with filler and binder leaves from any tobacco region of Cuba protected as Denominations of Origin.