Around 40 days after planting out tobacco seedlings, the harvest can begin – a laborious task because each leaf must be picked by hand.

Only two or three leaves can be taken at a time, with days to wait between each picking. The harvesting of a single plant takes almost 30 days to complete.

Leaves are picked at intervals from the bottom up, allowing time between pickings for the plant to develop its remaining leaves.

Shade-grown plants are taller with more leaves, and so they require more pickings.

The Mañanita leaves that are picked first are too small for Habanos, but they are the ideal size for Cuban mini cigars.

Source: Habanos

Earlier articles:

Cuba’s elite tobacco farmers

The only true Cuban seed

Nothing lesser than the best leaf for a Habano

Too wet, too dry, infestation issues

Humidors for your Habanos

Storing Habanos

The ritual of cutting, lighting and smoking a Habano

The leaves that clothe the body

Cigar anatomy

Cohiba: Fidel Castro’s all-time favourite cigar

Tobacco paradise

The best cigars come from Cuba

What’s the big deal with Havana cigar