Training of the senses
For a long time now, I haven't had to use my senses as a complete package as specifically as I did last week for the two production stages "Textura" and "Despalille".
"Textura" means to sort the tobacco leaves by texture." This implies: how rough or how fine a leaf is. I had to learn to distinguish between three levels:
Visus, Seco and Ligero. Visus lies in the middle, Seco is very fine and dry, Ligero coarsely veined, thicker and more oily. Depending on where the leaf grows on the tobacco plant, it gets its texture.
Ligero leaves grow at the top, get a lot of sun and are therefore very thick and robust. Then Visus follows downwards, Seco and at the bottom the Volado leaves grow.
The color of the tobacco leaves does not really help, although Ligero is rather dark. You really have to rely on your sense of touch and on the sound of the leaves when you pick them up. Seco leaves crackle loudly. After an hour about, I had kind of an idea of the subdivision.
But then came the big frustration: the "Despalille" department.
"Despalillar" means to strip the ribs - the main vein of the leaf has to be removed about halfway (for the filler tobaccos). You bend the vein with a kind of metal thimble and remove it quickly from the middle of the leaf.
I was about to throw the towel - that was the hardest job yet. As a layman, you quickly destroy the leaf what I didn't want. If you proceed too timidly, you can't bend the vein and snatch it from the leaf.
I was quite happy when the bell shrieked loudly and the working day and this job was over.
Again my teachers were patient and spurred me on and again I noticed how many difficult steps it takes until we can smoke a cigar. And how much care and experience it takes!