Curing tobacco for cigars occurs after the tobacco is harvested from the farm (generally 40-60 days after its planted). In curing tobacco, farmers and cigar manufacturers are imparting flavor into what will eventually be your cigar. Presently, there are three different methods used to cure cigars:
Laths: This method of curing cigars focuses on hanging tobacco by sticks in a temperature controlled, well-ventilated unit.
Air Curing: While this method also uses laths, cigar manufacturers using this method of curing cigars do not place the tobacco in a unit. Instead, the tobacco is simply hung outside to dry. While this method of curing tobacco can be convenient, it only works in certain climates.
Flue Curing: This method also uses laths that are hung in heated barns. Generally, the heat ranges from 90-170 degrees. Often, cigar manufacturers will burn hardwood or sawdust to impart flavor into your cigars.
While the curing process allows cigar manufactures to develop flavor, it can be a lengthy process and last as long as five years.