How to Dry Shisha Tobacco

Drying of shisha tobacco also known as curing is a method that is used to keep or ensure tobacco leaves are dry. This is done after tobacco leaves are harvested from the farm.

Different Methods of Drying Shisha Tobacco

Generally, the drying or curing process of tobacco entails 4 main steps which include;

  • Wilting
  • Yellowing
  • Coloring
  • Finally drying.

The different methods of curing mostly play a vital role in how shisha tobacco turns out eventually. The control of tobacco must be done in the right way to bring out the unique features of all tobacco types. The four major methods include:

  1. By fire
  2. By flue
  3. By air
  4. By sun

Process 1: Fire Curing or Drying

This method is almost like air drying or curing, however, it has some differences. The process includes;

  • Gather the tobacco leaves and hang them for two to six days.
  • Kindle open wood on the floor of the curing barn.
  • The smoke from fire imparts a creosote aroma characteristic to the tobacco.

This process might need to be continuously done from 3 to 10 weeks till the curing or drying process is complete and the leaf cured to its ideal finish.

Fire Curing for Shisha Tobacco Leaves
Fire Curing for Shisha Tobacco Leaves

Process 2:  Air Drying or Curing

This process of drying shisha tobacco is achieved mostly through mechanical ventilation within buildings. Two methods are mostly used here;

  • Heat generation method
  • Natural air method

Heat Generation Method

  • Gather tobacco leaves after hanging for at most 6 days.
  • Burn either charcoal, Coke, or petroleum gas to have heat generated based on the outcomes required.

Natural Air Method

  • Hang tobacco leaves in a barn that has good ventilation.
  • Leave leaves to cure or dry for up to 8 weeks. The least is 6 weeks.
Curing or Air Drying for Shisha Tobacco Leaves
Curing or Air Drying for Shisha Tobacco Leaves

This process might need to be done continuously for 30 to 60 days.

Process 3: Flue Drying or Curing

  • Have tobacco leaves hung in barns (the barns used here are small and built to be tight coming with some ventilators and metal pipes).
  • Decide on the fuel to use to generate heat to cure or dry leaves. Fuels that can be used include petroleum gas, coal, wood, liquid, and oil. In utilising gas or oil heaters, flues will not be needed.
  • Heat is cautiously applied with leaves being checked closely. This is done to monitor their physical and chemical changes and compositions.
  • As moisture is lost, a distinct aroma, color, and texture is developed.

This method is mostly from 4 to 8 days.

Flue Drying for Shisha Tobacco
Flue Drying for Shisha Tobacco

Process 4:  Sun Drying or Curing

  • Hang tobacco leaves on a big tray.
  • Leave to dry for 2 weeks under the sun.
Sun Drying for Shisha Tobacco
Sun Drying for Shisha Tobacco

Tips to Consider in Drying Tobacco

  • Tobacco leaves need to be hanged in bunches. For instance, 3 to 5 leaves on a rope works best.
  • As leaves dry, humidity control should be done. The use of humidifiers helps if drying is being achieved too fast. When leaves are allowed to dry too quickly, they stay green and that doesn’t help with having great tobacco shisha flavor.


Clearly, there are many ways to dry your shisha tobacco products. Before you adopt any technique, consider quantity, drying time, quality, and cost.

At Jochamp, we will help you get highly efficient shisha tobacco production line equipment.

More Resources:

Shisha Tobacco Fermentation – Source: Jochamp

Curing of Tobacco – Source: Wikipedia

How to Dry Tobacco – Source: WikiHow

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