Hand stripped tobacco leaf is where the stem has been stripped from the center of the leaf leaving two halves of a whole tobacco leaf.
Hand stripped tobacco is no longer commonly produced within Europe and the United States as tobacco manufactures moved to machine-based separation known as tipped and threshed. Hand stripped tobacco leaf is still produced by workers in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.
Hand stripped is still preferred for premium tobaccos as the workers’ attention to detail ensures a very high-quality whole leaf, however, quality comes at a cost as hand stripped tobacco is carried out by hand which drives up the production cost.
This traditional method of hand stripped tobacco involves the manual separation of each tobacco leaf’s midrib otherwise known as the stem from the lamina by physically extracting it from the body of the leaf. Before carrying out this task, the tobacco leaves are conditioned with heat and moisture to ensure ease of separation.