VIRGINIA FLUE CURED (VFC)
This tobacco is named after the US state of Virginia, where it was first cultivated. Because of its orange-yellow color, which it acquires through the hot-air drying process, it is also called "bright tobacco". Subtropical regions with little rainfall, such as the U.S. state of Georgia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Malawi or the south of Brazil, are ideal for its cultivation.
The drying in hot air renders the product dry and easy to handle. It also reduces the risk of mold and promotes the chemical changes that improve the sensory qualities of the product. Virginia tobacco has a nicotine content of 1% to 3.5%, and low natural sugar levels of 5% to 25%. The characteristic flavor is natural and aromatic.
Flue-cured tobacco is grown in approximately 75 countries from Pakistan, New Zealand to Germany. Major producers in the world are China, USA, Brazil, India and Zimbabwe. The major exporters are the U.S., Brazil, India and Zimbabwe.
DARK FIRE CURED (DFC)
This type of tobacco takes its name from the wood-fire curing process that is used to give the finished tobacco product a rich flavor profile, which includes wood and smoke.
It is always necessary to cure raw tobacco after harvesting and before it can be consumed. Tobacco curing is also known as color curing because tobacco leaves are cured with the intention of changing their color and reducing their chlorophyll content.
Curing tobacco has always been a process necessary to prepare the leaf for consumption because, in its raw, freshly picked state, the green tobacco leaf is too wet to ignite and smoke.
Tobacco is hung in large barns where fires of hardwoods are kept on continuous or intermittent low smolder and takes between three days and ten weeks, depending on the process and the tobacco. Fire curing produces a tobacco low in sugar and high in nicotine. Pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff are fire-cured.
The burley tobacco plant can grow up to a height of 1.5m and has a green color that is slightly lighter than that of Virginia tobacco. Burley tobacco requires heavier soils and more fertilizer than Virginia tobacco. The best Burley grows in the United States, Central America, Malawi, Uganda and Indonesia.
After harvesting, the air-drying process removes most of the sugar from the Burley tobacco. This gives it its characteristic brown color and a cigar-like taste. The cigarettes containing burley tobacco produce a dark and intense smoke.