Did you know that Zimbabwe is the largest grower of tobacco in Africa and the 6th largest grower in the world? Historically, 3 types of tobacco have traditionally been grown in the country: Virginia flue-cured, Burley and oriental tobacco. Over 95% of Zimbabwe’s tobacco consists of flue-cured tobacco, which is renowned for its flavour.
Virginia (flue-cured) tobacco is also referred to as the ‘bright tobacco’ because of the golden-yellow to deep-orange colour it reaches during curing. In most cases, Virginia tobacco is cured in heated barns, that is where the name flue-cured comes from. In most cases, the curing process takes a week. Virginia tobacco has a light, bright aroma and taste. Major Virginia tobacco growing countries include Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Tanzania and the U.S.
Burley tobacco is light to dark brown in colour. Burley tobacco is air-cured in barns. During the long curing process, which takes up to two months, the tobacco loses most of its natural sugars and develops a strong, almost cigar-like taste. Major Burley growing countries are Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Malawi and the U.S.
Oriental tobacco is highly aromatic. It has small leaves which are harvested leaf by leaf, much like Virginia tobacco, and sun-cured in the open air. Major oriental tobacco growing countries are Zimbabwe Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Turkey.