The cigar factory Flor the Copán is located in the colonial town Santa Rosa de Copán in western Honduras. The town is famous for its prosperous tobacco farming industry since the 18th century, which is reflected in the rich republican and neo-classical architecture and the cobblestone streets. Tobacco farming is still an important economic pillar. One of the important employers in the tobacco industry is the Flor de Copán factory, which is situated just in the outskirts of the town.
The Flor de Copán factory is owned by the Spanish-French multinational company Altadis, the third biggest company in tobacco industry worldwide. This brings some restrictions and regulations with it, as now it is prohibited to take pictures inside the factory. Nevertheless, it is still possible to take a guided tour through the factory. First you will enter the huge warehouse of drying and curing tobacco leaves. You will immediately get hit by the strong armonia-heavy tobacco smell. The guide will provide you with face masks, which you are free to use. However, you will get used to the smell quite fast and paired with the sound of the simple and antique sounds of the working tools, it just becomes an essential part of the real tobacco factory experience.
In the warehouse, the tobacco leaves are dried on different stacks. The temperature and quality is measured regularly and eventually the tobacco piles also get rearranged. In the next room you will see precise and focussed workers – mostly women – de-veining and sorting tobacco leaves into the different sizes. Other workers cut the leaves into different shapes, which are later needed to roll the cigars. The ready shaped leaves are stored in huge bags, market with the exact weight, shape and type of tobacco. In another room workers sort the shapes and sizes of readily cured leaves and allot them into wooden boxes. These are send to the next room, where the final step takes part, the rolling of the cigars.
Some of the leaves get dyed in different shades of brown first, but that depends on the brand of the finished cigar. You will get amazed, with which speed and preciseness the workers roll the cigars. They never make a mistake, all the cigars come out in the same length and the same thickness. The one-hour tour ends in the packing room. Here the finished cigars get fit into a plastic cover and sorted into the corresponding boxes for each brand. The cigars are ready for the export. At the end of the tour you will get two different cigars as a present. That is of course to try them out, to later order more cigars from the Flor de Copán factory.
The easiest way is to take a taxi to the factory. Alternatively you can walk from the city center, down the hill. When walking down the road downhill, take the first dirt-road on your right and walk until you reach the yellow factory building.