What Moisture Level Do You Prefer

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RSteve

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From G. Pease
At 10% water (by weight), a tobacco is going to seem very dry. If the moisture level is increased to 20%, it will be quite damp. Ideally, moisture contents between 13% and 18% are right for most blends and most smokers. Some heavily sauced aromatic tobaccos are reputed to have non-tobacco content that approaches 40%. Not all that moisture is water. Various humectants (humidifying agents) are used by some manufacturers to preserve moisture levels at the desired percentage.

Q: How can I determine the moisture content ?
There are destructive methods to measure it accurately, but it isn't really necessary to know the precise moisture content unless you're just the curious sort. As mentioned above, at about 10% and below, tobacco will be quite dry feeling, and the strands will tend to break when handled. At about 12-13%, the strands will be pliable, and will endure more vigorous handling without damage. If you press the tobacco into a ball, and it stays compressed, it's over 18-20% - too moist for proper smoking. In the 15-18% range, the ball will be springy. Once you find your preferred moisture, you'll be able to tell by feel whether it's there or not.
Based on Pease's comments, I think my preference is at 12 to 13%. I prefer the tobacco to be quite dry. Moist tobacco tends to give me scorched tongue.
 

kingcobradude

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Based on Pease's comments, I think my preference is at 12 to 13%. I prefer the tobacco to be quite dry. Moist tobacco tends to give me scorched tongue.
I do prefer a drier tobacco too. Though too dry kills the taste
 

D.L.Ruth

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I also prefer on the drier side. Moister tobacco tends to burn my tongue as well plus I have a harder time keeping it lit
 

Timbo

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Love me some dry baccy. I packed a pipe with some HH Latakia flake a few months ago and forgot about it. Got around to smoking it when I found it a fortnight ago, it was one of my best smokes ever.
 

GtrSmoker

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I prefer my humidity level somewhere north of crispy. Based on the initial notes OP shared, I’m guessing 15-ish is right for me. Anything lower, and I get through a bowl before I’ve even had a chance to get comfy. I like mine to burn slow. Another reason I prefer flakes, plugs, spun cut, cube cut... anything that will slow the burn.
 

Zeno Marx

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I'll have to go back and read over Pease's site. Something I don't often see discussed is how long it takes for the tobacco to adjust to the new humidity if you're re-humidifying. It readily takes on new moisture right away, but how long until it smokes with good flavor and behaves as-new, or as-newish as can be expected after re-humidification? How long does the new moisture take to penetrate every cell and then to settle into it all?

I've recently had to add a little moisture to a newly opened jar. It's been a long while since I've had to do this, and it reminded me that the process to get back to normal can take a week or more. In a manner of a couple days, the moisture level can be adjusted, but it takes more days for the tobacco to adjust and to get back to normal smoking, which is the goal anyway.

Anyone more fastidious about this process? Charted it? Have a loose schedule in their mind from experience and know-how that they live by?
 

ftrplt

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I probably fall in the 12-15% group. FTRPLT
 

Greasystring

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I like a drier tobacco, but I'm not sure with the actual water content terminology. With cigars I go with 62- 65% relative humidity for storage and consumption. Long term storage can be as low as 59% (with temperature control). The popular 70% I find much too wet for smoking and definitely not suited for long term storage. Also, the dryer storage promotes tobacco plume (the oils crystalizing). Though its something usually not sought after or seen in pipe tobacco, unless one sees mold and prays its plume 😅.

I know cigars and pipe tobacco are very different, but I suspect many of the general principles of tobacco can be shared. If I were cellaring loose/whole leaf or un-vacuum sealed tobacco I would probably go with a similar set up, lower relative humidity. Once the humidity in the cabinet stabilized I'd vacuum seal the tobacco. If it's a matter of preparing what I'm about to consume, I often "pack today, smoke tomorrow".
 
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