Types of tobacco
The genus nicotiana has around 70 species, and each of them can be a source of multiple tobacco types. For example, multiple types of tobacco can be grown just from Nicotiana tabacum when one brings seeds to grow in a different place, with different factors – soils, weather, or harvest period. All of these factors influence the final tobacco properties, which include leaves’ size and colour, nicotine and sugar content, and consequently the taste. Additionally, each type can have various subtypes.
Below, we have described 3 of the most popular tobacco types, that are Oriental Tobacco, Virginia Tobacco, and Burley Tobacco.
Virginia tobacco has its roots in the decade of the XVII century. Then, the seeds of Nicotiana Tabacum were brought to the State of Virginia.
Depending on the time of harvest, the colour of the leaves may be light yellowish with high sugar content (early harvest) or darker, closer to orange with smaller sugar content.
Virginia tobacco can be flue-cured or air-cured. However, when flue-cured and the temperature is too high, the sugar turns into acid, consequently altering the taste that turns sharper and more irritating.
Virginia tobacco became popular as pipe tobacco and is one of, if not the most, popular tobacco types worldwide. Aside from the United States, Virginia tobacco is grown in Argentina, Brazil, China, and India.
Burley tobacco is a bit younger than Virginia. It dates back to the second half of the XIX century when its seeds were brought to the State of Ohio.
Burley tobacco has white to yellowish leaves that turn darker brown during curing. Additionally, while curing, the existing sugar vanishes, which influences the taste that is dry. Moreover, the higher the leaf, the bolder the taste.
Burley tobacco often blends with other types, i.e., the aforementioned Virginia. Its role is to lighten the final taste of the mix. Moreover, compared to Virginia tobacco, Burley is also used as pipe tobacco and has almost the same content of nicotine, but thicker leaves. Moreover, this type of tobacco is grown in Argentina, Brazil, the United States, and Italy.
Oriental tobacco, also called Turkish tobacco, is grown in the Middle East, the Balkans, and Greece.
Compared to Virginia tobacco, it has much smaller leaves, but there are even three times more of them. Additionally, the nicotine content is smaller in Oriental tobacco compared to the previous two types.
During curing, some of the sugar remains in the Oriental tobacco leaves, which provides a sweet taste. Moreover, Oriental tobacco is often added to blends to bring a spicy note.