The harvesting of Cuban tobacco leaves can be a very laborious process. The harvesting itself must be done by hand, and it can often take thirty days or more to harvest just one single plant because of the particular care needed. This insures that the harvesting is done correctly and that no damage is done to the plant itself.
The leaves themselves are not all harvested at once. Everything must be done at particular intervals to make sure it is done correctly. Harvesting is generally done from the bottom up where the plant is considered. This helps to create a delay in the collection and gives the leaves the proper amount of time to grow and mature.
The first harvesting generally takes about seven days to complete. The second harvest is then done over the course of three days. It is then another three days for the third harvest, and another three days for the fourth harvest. Depending on the height of the plant and the leaves themselves, there may be further time needed beyond the four harvests.
This is generally true of the tobacco plants that are grown in shadier areas. These plants have more leaves to them, thus making it longer to harvest these plants. They tend to grow taller, which gives them more leaves, which in turn means there are going to be many more days needed in order to perform a complete harvest of a single plant.
Mananita leaves generally appear first. While these leaves are too small to be used in full cigars such as Habanos, they can still be harvested and used. This type of leaf very is used the production of Cuban Minis, which are miniature cigars that are made and sold. This makes sure that no part of the leaves grown, no matter how small, is going to go to waste.