Cuban Cigar rolling at Tabanero Cigar Factory, Ybor City

We take a tremendous amount of pride in our craft of rolling cuban style cigars. Our focus is on quality, not quantity. In this article we aim to highlight the wonderful craft of cuban style cigar rolling that is used daily right here in the Tabanero factory here in Ybor City, Tampa, FL.

A cuban roller trains and learns the art of rolling cigars for 9 months. These rollers work independently, they do not work in pairs. They roll the entire cigar themselves versus rollers from Central America and the Caribbean who work in pairs. The men do the bunching and the woman perform the wrapping. This allows them to work faster. They are able to do 600 to 1000 cigars a day. A cuban roller only rolls 100-150 cigars per day. This allows the Cuban Artisan roller to focus on the craft and quality of rolling the cigar. The selection of tobacco is a very important part of the rolling process. High quality tobacco must be used to ensure proper construction. Oliva Tobacco is our local tobacco supplier here in Tampa. Oliva is the largest grower of Ecuadorian wrapper and binder and the largest supplier of filler. They sell filler tobacco from Nicaragua, D. Republic, Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Indonesia. All of the world’s best tobacco can be found right here in Tampa through our supplier, Oliva Tobacco Company. When buying cigars from a larger tobacco manufacturer located in Nicaragua or Dominican Republic they will use tobacco filler that is indigenous to their country which limits the variety of tobacco and flavor you can experience in one of those cigars. At Tabanero, we have access to the best rollers and tobacco that is available. We have been in business for 5 years and have experienced tremendous growth. We believe we can rescue the industry 1 cigar at a time.

We use cuban style rolling exclusively. We believe it is superior to any other style of rolling. The roller lays out the binder leaf of the cigar. The roller then begins to bunch a blend of ligero, seco, and volado leaves together to create the filler of the cigar. As the roller bunches the cigar he or she is continuously feeling the bunch to ensure it contains the right amount of tobacco. The roller then rolls the binder leaf around the blend of filler tobacco and places it in a mold. The cigars rest in a mold for a couple hours. The cigars are then tested using a Drawmaster. The Drawmaster is a machine we have implemented here at Tabanero and is used tomeasure the draw of every single cigar that we roll. It’s important that the cigar doesn’t have too tight or too loose of a draw. If it’s too loose the cigar will burn hot and will not produce the flavor profile we are expecting from the blend. The roller then places a wrapper leaf around the cigar. Finally the roller will apply a Cuban triple cap. The final cap is the cap that should be used as a guideline for cutting the cigar. This triple cap is a sign of a high quality cigar made by a Cuban Artisan. The cigars are then placed in an air conditioned room for a period of 2 weeks. The cigars then rest in our large humidor for 90 days prior to fulfilling and shipping orders to our customers. Aging is a key component of the final product. Large production factories only keep cigars a max of six weeks compared to our 90 day agings process. 

I interview every roller prior to hiring them to ensure they share the same passion as we do here at Tabanero. It’s very important to us here at Tabanero that the rollers share in the same passion we do and most importantly enjoy what the are doing. I often over hear the rollers talking about how fortunate they are to roll here in Tampa at Tabanero. They truly enjoy their craft and it comes through in the quality of the cigars that we roll here at Tabanero. We believe in what we are doing! We approach cigar rolling a little differently. We produce about 3600 cigars per week using 5 rollers. We produce a limited amount of cigars per month. Our focus is on producing a quality product not quantity. We do offer a monthly membership where we reserve some special cigar blends and sizes for our members. People often ask why we don’t hire more rollers to meet the demand. Because we focus on quality and not quantity. For example, because we are a small factory we are able to focus on details such as draw. We have a machine that we have implemented at Tabanero that We are so confident in the quality of of cigars we have a “No Questions Asked” return policy. We are confident that because of our focus on quality that we will help restore the cigar industry right here in Tampa. We are hopeful that we can recreate Tampa as a cigar destination by encouraging other boutique cigar companies to start their business here in Tampa. We are so committed to this vision that we openly and happily share the resources that we have here at Tabanero with other cigar manufacturers here in Tampa.

We invite you to enjoy a quality rolled cigar by one of our Cuban Artisan rollers. Please be sure to visit us at our Factory Located at 1601 E. 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605

Yanko Maceda
Yanko Maceda


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