Keeping Quality Cigars Fresh

How Do You Keep Cigars Fresh?

Here at Tabanero Cigars we often get asked the question, “how do you keep cigars fresh?” We love this question because it’s an important one. We are passionate about cigars and maintaining the quality of our cigars once they leave our factory is important. In this post, we also discuss the importance of buying cigars directly from boutique factories rather than purchasing them from large cigar retailers. We hope this article will help answer your questions related to maintaining the quality of your cigars. 
Tabanero Cigars - Keeping a Great Cigar Fresh

Two Factors For Fresh Cigars

There are two key factors to keep in mind when keeping cigars fresh; temperature and humidity. 
Our cigars rolled here in our Tabanero factory in Ybor City, Tampa, FL use premium tobacco. This kind of tobacco is best when the temperature and humidity are controlled. This is important because in order to maintain its richness and taste from when it was rolled the temperature and humidity levels need to be controlled. When this premium tobacco burns, it releases sugars and oils stored in its leaves. These two elements of cigar tobacco contribute largely to the taste and flavor of the cigar. Here at Tabanero we spend a significant amount of time blending different tobacco together to achieve a certain flavor profile that we believe our customers will enjoy. If cigars are not properly maintained it will adversely affect the flavor profile of the cigar.
Temperature and humidity also affect how the cigar burns when it is smoked. Often times a cigar that has become too damp will burn too fast on a particular side. This phenomenon is called “tunneling”. The burn of the cigar will become uneven and will create flavors that were not intended when cigar was blended. 

So, How Do You Protect the Flavor and Burn of a Cigar?

Great question! Cigars need to be stored in a container where you can properly control the temperature and humidity. There are many different options for storing cigars. Many cigar aficionados use humidors or other containers that are air tight and lined with Spanish cedar. These containers should provide good air flow to ensure humidity and temperature levels are maintained.
Tabanero Cigars Milano Glass Top Rosewood Humidor - The best thing for keeping your cigars fresh.

What is the Optimal Temperature and Humidity Level to Keep Cigars Fresh?

You will find many articles out on the internet and other sources that suggest 68-72% humidity and a temperature of 70-72F degrees. This is generally a good rule of thumb HOWEVER, the real answer is, it depends. For example, the optimal humidity level for your cigars may be lower than 68 degrees if you live in a climate with high humidity levels such as Florida. If you live in a drier climate then you may find that your humidor needs to be kept slightly above 72%. Here at the Tabanero Factory we keep our humidity levels between 63-65%. We have found that for our Florida location this is the optimal level of humidity for aging and keeping our tobacco fresh to ensure our customers receive a quality product. 
There are many different humidification systems that can be purchased to help control humidity levels. For example, you can purchase humidity beads or humi-packs to help regulate and maintain your cigars. It’s also a good idea to purchase a digital hygrometer which measures both the temperature and humidity of your cigars. It’s very important to check your cigars from time to time. If the cigars feel spongy then your humidity levels are likely too high. If you can hear a crackling sound when gently rolling the cigars between your fingers then the environment is likely too dry. Maintaining the cigar’s humidity and temperature are vital when it comes to maintaining the quality and freshness of a cigar. 

Purchase Quality to Ensure Quality

All of the information that has been provided in the article assumes one thing; that the product you received has been properly cared for before it is delivered to you. When purchasing cigars, it’s critical that you purchase them from a company that you can trust. This can be a challenge when buying cigars from a large retailer. When purchasing cigars from a large US based retailer you must consider the amount of time it takes for cigars to be transported from cigar manufacturers located in Central and South America and the Caribbean. These cigars are not kept in properly humidified containers during shipping and transport. Cigars begin to lose their humidity when the leave the manufacturer. It could be several weeks by the time cigars are sent from the manufacturer and received by the cigar retailer and placed in proper humidification systems. By this point, cigars have lost a significant amount of humidification. This is why it is important to buy your cigars directly from the factory. Here at Tabanero all of our tobacco and rolled cigars are kept in large humidors where the humidity is carefully and properly maintained. Humidity levels are monitored throughout the day to ensure the cigars remain fresh. We also use priority 2-day shipping to deliver cigars to our customers to help minimize the impact of loss humidity. 
Hand-Rolling Cigars at Tabanero Cigar Factory in Ybor City, FL


We hope that you have found this article to be helpful in maintaining the freshness and quality of your cigars. We also hope that this article has provided useful information to help inform your purchase decisions when buying cigars from a large retailer versus buying cigars direct from US based factories. We are so confident that you will receive a quality product from us that we offer a no questions asked 100% return policy when buying cigars from our Tabanero Factory. So sit back and relax and Hava-Taba! 

Cuban Cigar Sizes - Size Matters!

In this article we will be discussing the various cigar sizes that are rolled and how they affect the different characteristics of a cigar. When people visit our factory here in Ybor City, Tampa, FL the question of cigar sizes always comes up. 

As people watch our rollers, they often ask why cigars come in various lengths and gauges. The size of the cigar dictates several cigar characteristics. First the length of the cigar helps to dictate how long you want to smoke the cigar for. For example, if you are interested in a short duration smoke you may want to consider a cigar between 4-5 inches in length. For a longer smoke, an hour to an hour and a half you will want to consider a cigar 6-7+ inches long. The thickness, or gauge of a cigar will also dictate the strength of the cigar. In general, the thicker the cigar the stronger it will be. This is simply due to the cigar having more room for tobacco filler. The shape of the cigar is also important. For example a torpedo allows you to control the amount of smoke that you take in on each draw. The more you cut from the end of the cigar the more smoke you get with each draw.

Cuban Cigar Sizes

When visiting the factory people often ask the question, “What is your best cigar?” The answer simply put is, “It depends.” It generally depends on how often you smoke and how long you want to smoke a cigar for. For people who are not seasoned cigar smokers, we will often recommend to them a Tabanero Blend One Robusto size cigar lasting 30 minutes and having a mild body. For the everyday cigar smoker we will often recommend the Toro sized cigar, our top seller and most popular medium bodies cigar lasting an average of 1 hour. The other thing to consider is the time of day you smoke cigars. People often find themselves smoking one of our premium cigars in the morning with their coffee. For this time of day, we recommend a Tabanero Robusto size cigar which is mild in body and lasts roughly 30-45 minutes and pairs nicely with coffee. As the day progresses and our palette matures, we recommend transitioning into a Tabanero Toro and Torpedo sized cigars to experience a medium to full body. These sized cigars are great in the afternoon and evening after a meal or with a fine liquor such as a single malt whisky.

Cigars Whiskey

There are many reasons for having different size cigars. At the end of the day it really comes down to personal preference. When determining what size cigar you are interested in you can ask yourself some basic questions based on how long you have to enjoy your cigar and the strength of the cigar.

Next time you are here in Ybor City, we invite you to stop by Tabanero Cigars for a cuban coffee and a Tabanero Cigar. Enjoy and Hava-Taba!!

August 21, 2016


J.C. Newman Premium Hand Rolled Cigars Return to Ybor City, Tampa, FL

J.C. Newman announced the return of hand rolled cigars to Ybor City, Tampa, FL in a recent article featured in Cigar Aficionado Magazine. They just announced the creation of the J.C. Newman Fourth Generation Cigar Co., a boutique cigar division that will manufacture handmade cigars in Ybor City featuring American grown tobacco. This will add to the existing production of machine made cigars in the El Reloj building located in Ybor City. This announcement is not only significant to restoring Ybor City’s cigar heritage, it’s also significant to other boutique cigar manufacturers such as Tabanero Cigars. This announcement helps to affirm Tabanero’s own Yanko Maceda’s vision for restoring the rich heritage of Ybor City’s cigar industry. Yanko began the Tabanero Cigar Factory back in 2010 with the hope of rebuilding Ybor City’s lost industry. He is beginning to see glimpses of his hope with J.C. Newman’s hand rolled cigars returning to Ybor City along with other boutique cigar manufacturers. 

J.C. Newman’s Drew Newman, along with his wife Ariel Peters were motivated by the move as a way to honor and celebrate the rich tradition of hand rolling cigars again in Ybor City. This rich tradition dates back 130 years. The Great Depression and the rise in popularity of cigarettes stifled cigar production forcing many businesses to close. Yanko had a dream that Ybor City’s cigar heritage would be revitalized by manufacturing cigars in Ybor City by Cuban Artisan rollers using high quality tobacco from local suppliers. J.C. Newman appears to share this same focus. They plan to begin the hand rolled cigar production in their El Reloj facility located in Ybor City in the spring of 2017. They will be featuring new cigars such as The American, Admiration, and the 1954 using premium american grown tobacco, boxed and labeled using american hardwoods and labels created right here in Florida. 

There is a tremendous amount of excitement at the Tabanero Cigar Factory surrounding this announcement. Yanko is watching his dreams come true with this announcement. He believes this will be a catalyst for other boutique cigar manufacturers to follow in the tradition of Ybor City hand rolled cigar manufacturing. The hope is that with this announcement, more boutique cigar manufacturers will call Ybor City home. 

Click Here: for more information on J.C. Newman’s return to Ybor City

Tabanero Cigars - Featured on TV Show: Wild Travels

TV Show, Wild Travels makes a stop in Ybor City to learn more about Ybor's cigar heritage and passion that goes into cigar making at Tabanero Cigars. Click here to watch

Focus on Ybor | Meet Tabanero Cigars Passionate Owner, Yanko Maceda

Tabanero Cigars owner, Yanko Maceda shares his passion for the Cigar Industry and for Ybor City, Tampa, FL. Click Here to Read More!

July 23, 2016


Cuban Cigar Rolling ›  

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

July 15, 2016


Featured article ›   Ybor City ›  

Ybor City in the News

Ybor City was recently featured in the news during a Public Service Announcement (PSA) by WWE star John Cena.

He used the everyday streets of Ybor to portray a different view of diversity in America. 

Check out the video and local news article about it here.

Ybor City Featured in PSA Announcement by John Cena

After the filming was done, John stopped by for some Taba Brew. He enjoyed his cup of the best Cuban coffee in Tampa while relaxing in Ybor City.

John Cena enjoys some Taba Brew from Tabanero Cigars in Ybor City Florida

John Cena Visits Ybor City and Tabanero Cigars

We enjoyed seeing John Cena stop by and share such an interest in the great city of Ybor.

June 21, 2016


New Products ›   Product Update ›  

Enjoy a Tabanero

We have the finest hand-rolled Cuban cigars you've ever tasted.

All our cigars are hand-made right here in Tampa, Florida. We've been focused on restoring the cigar industry here in Ybor City.

Tabanero Cigars Lighter-Watch!

No cigar would be complete without the best accessories. Light up a cigar in style with a Tabanero Lighter Watch! Plus, it works as a full-functioning watch. A great accessory for any cigar loving fan and it's easy to use! 

See how easy in this clip below:  

June 18, 2016


The History of the Tampa Cigar Industry

It’s important that we maintain the cigar heritage of Tampa. How did we get our name; Tabanero, do you ask? Well, a guy from Havana is a Habanero. I, Yanko Maceda, immigrated to America from Havana so I decided to name my business Tabanero! The cigar business in Tampa/Ybor City has changed over the years. There aren’t as many cigar manufacturers here in Tampa that their used to be. Today only a couple of large cigar manufacturers and a few boutique cigar manufacturers remain. Allow me to share some of our local cigar manufacturing history here in the Tampa bay.

Vicente Martinez-Ybor, originally from Spain immigrated to Cuba at age 14. He fell in love with the cigar industry and began his own cigar company. In 1856 Martinez Ybor founded his own company in Havana, Cuba and began manufacturing his El Principe de Gales ("Prince of Wales") brand. The brand quickly became popular, and Martinez Ybor's factory was soon producing 20,000 cigars a day. While focusing on his business he also focused his efforts on helping Cubans break away from Spain. This was not popular among Spain’s government. He was sentenced to death and quickly escaped to Key West. This is also where He moved his cigar production to. He was having a hard time keeping the rollers in Key West. A friend of his discovered Tampa, Florida and recommended that Martinez-Ybor move his production to Tampa. He purchased 40 acres from the city of tampa to begin his production. Vicente built the biggest cigar factory in the world in 1886. He believed that in order for the cigar industry to be successful that he needed to encourage others to get involved in manufacturing cigars. The industry grew quickly to 200 cigar factories in Ybor City which accounted for the production of 600 million cigars manufactured per year. This was truly the golden era for this industry. The depression of 1929 and the cigarette industry began the decline of the cigar industry. In 1962 the Cuban trade embargo had the largest and most significant impact on the cigar industry in Ybor City which caused nearly 200 of the original manufactures to close their doors.

Well over one hundred years later you can still feel the passion of the cigar industry here in Tampa, Florida. We at Tabanero believe we can bring back the heritage of cigars to Tampa and Ybor City. Thanks to the internet we are able to share our passion for the Ybor City cigar industry with people all across the world not just here in the Tampa Bay area.

So why did we choose Tampa? Believe it or not, in Cuba the lectures still educate and inspire the rollers using stories about the Cigar industry in Tampa, Fl. Back during the Golden Era, Cuban rollers always dreamed of moving to Tampa to work for 1 of the 200 factories right here in Ybor City. Today, when Cuban rollers visit Tampa they quickly realize that much of the cigar industry has come to pass with only a few cigar companies remaining trying to keep the heritage alive. This is one of the reasons to move your boutique business to Tampa. There is a great opportunity to hire many of the Cuban rollers who have moved to Tampa hoping to live out their dream of rolling cigars here in Tampa, Fl.

Tabanero is here, in the heart of Ybor City with the goal of reviving the cigar industry that was once so vibrant. We believe that with some of the finest tobacco available from our local supplier, Oliva Tobacco Company and the amazing local Cuban artisan rollers rolling our fine blend of tobacco we can help restore the wonderful cigar heritage of Tampa and Ybor City.

Tabanero Cigars Wins A Prestigious Award

Cuban Immigrant Yanko Maceda of Tabanero Cigars Awarded the Adela Gonzmart Award

Yanko Maceda, of Tabanero Cigars was recognized June 12, 2016 for his ongoing contribution to Ybor City and the American cigar industry. Since the beginning, Yanko has been working hard to restore the legacy and heritage of the Ybor City cigar industry.

The award recognizes an individual, family or corporation for unique achievements that promote the cultural preservation and commercial revitalization of the Ybor community. The Gonzmart award is named after Adela and Cesar Gonzmart, the third generation of the Gonzmart family, that built Ybor’s Columbia restaurant. She also witnessed Ybor City's transformation from a cigar-rolling district to the nightlife destination that it is today.