CIGAR TOBACCO: AIR CURING
These barns are also known as casas de tabaco. Curing barns typically have doors and openings on all sides to help regulate temperature and humidity. Sometimes, small fires can be lit inside to help dry the air. Historically, curing barns were made with wood walls and thatched palm roofs. In addition, the casas de tabaco faced East and West to provide optimal air circulation.
After about 50 days in a curing barn, the leaves have released their chlorophyll and much of their moisture (85%): causing them to turn brown in color. Curing also fixes the sugar content of the leaf and halts the maturation process.
Cured cigar tobacco is still raw tobacco and definitely not ready to smoke: it is still filled with ammonia and impurities that must be “worked” out through the processes of fermentation. Curing has merely prepared the leaf for the next step.