Effects of humidity in tobacco while smoking

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cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,790
1,352
United States
cortez, you have way too much time on your hands.
I dislike dry tobacco as it burns hot and loses flavor. Too moist like Samuel Gawith flakes are no good either. There is a middle road that every pipe smoker must find which works best for them. I would rather smoke a flake that is a tad too moist than too dry. I can change my cadence to adapt to a little too much moisture where as no amount of changing my cadence will get a too dry tobacco to smoke well.
Flakes such as Fribourg & Treyer Cut Virginia Plug and Capstan Blue flake come at the perfect amount of moisture for my tastes.

 

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
2,605
589
For those without the experience and discerning hands and mind of sablebrush, a guy can buy a small hygrometer for about five bucks. This will tell you at what level of moisture your tobacco is. Makes it easy to adjust drying or hydrating. Easy to be consistent. A new blend doesn't have to go through a trial period before you know the right level for good smoking.
Where would you get such a contraption? I was googling yesterday for "food/grain/tobacco moisture meters" and couldn't come up with anything affordable.
I do have the analog hygrometer that came with my humidor. Can you use that one reliably?

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,417
2,150
Monterey Peninsula
Only the real pros use moisture meters. Those of us who are not in that group use RH, which can be easily understood. Besides the difference in moisture levels of between 10% and 15% is monstrous, whereas 55-60% RH is pretty small. There are exact equivalencies at specific temperatures.

 

workman

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
1,704
21
I totally agree with everything Sablebrush said. I'll add this: Too dry means very very dry. Where I live, tobacco simply doesn't get that dry. I have left opened tins with a bowls worth of tobacco left in my car for months without issues. I would advice you to dry it way more than you think you should. If too dry, just dry it less next time. But I bet it wont't be too dry.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,417
2,150
Monterey Peninsula
olkofri- That's a hydrometer, not a hygrometer! As I said, the pros measure by moisture content, but most everyone else uses relative humidity. A 70% RH you mentioned seems well within reason. I let mine sit over night in a tightly sealed jar to get a good reading.

 

ignaciojn

Member
Aug 19, 2016
204
1
It's hard to tell from a video, without feeling it. Also, it's a very personal choice.
Having said that, to me, #1 is a no go, #2 seems about right, #3 will certainly be enjoyable but might burn hot and fast.
Tobacco already been sacrified (loved that term), might as well smoke it all and find out for yourself. :puffpipe:

 

jaytex969

Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
4,601
1,471
If anyone wants another hygrometer recommendation, I like this one.

It's magnetic on the back. I keep it stuck to the front of my safe, which is in my smoking/cellaring room. It will also stand on a flat surface and the magnet is on a clip, so it's versatile.
It shows temp and humidity. It also shows the highest and lowest values for both over the last 12 hours.
It takes one AA battery that lasts for years and can toggle from F to C.


 

mithridate

New member
Jun 12, 2018
24
0
I was sitting in sauna yesterday evening, and while throwing water on the kiuas, I thought a bit about pipe and puffing it. And then the relative humiidty in the air grow and it started to burn me and I thought about dry tobacco and humid tobacco, latter causing bite easier, and suddenly it made very much sense.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,916
940
Well, I decided to conduct a wee experiment, based on Sablebrush's method. I set apart some sacrificial tobacco to test dry times and dryness levels. Here're the results. Please, if you could tell me what's the optimal dryness from those three I'd greatly appreciate it.
Level 1: Right out of the jar

Level 2: After 30 min drying time

Level 3: After 1 hour of drying time
The question is, did you smoke this blend at the different moisture levels and did you experience an increase in flavor with any one of them? That's the goal, to find an optimal moisture content that delivers the best flavor for you.

 

bigpond

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
2,023
4
Short answer- mo dry, mo betta
Long ironic version

OP, you raise a fascinating point about internet advice. Something I’ve thought about a lot recently wrt to pipes and bikes both. Here’s what I’ve learned. As a new guy, every piece of advice you’ve read online that informs your “knowledge floor” is wrong. The suggestions that are shouted at you the loudest are always the most wrong(est). Conveniently, nearly everything is 180 backward. Do the opposite and you, like George Costanza, will be right as rain.

 

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
2,605
589
The question is, did you smoke this blend at the different moisture levels and did you experience an increase in flavor with any one of them?
Well, Sable, I smoked the same blend I was smoking right out of the tin a few weeks ago, only I let it dry ~40 minutes this time. Toby felt more crunchy, but still pliable. I did get better flavour after drying it. So I guess it was a step in the right direction. :puffy:
I still had to relight several times, though, and I got a bit of bite, but at this point in time, I think my bite issues are more related to diet or environmental circumstances than to the pipe.

 

mrenglish

Preferred Member
Dec 25, 2010
2,200
19
Columbus, Ohio
Why worry about the relative humidity of your pipe tobacco when you can tell just by fondling touching the tobacco for moisture content?

 

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
2,605
589
I need a measuring stick. I'm one of those who need a given value to gauge something. Without it, it's like trying to wonder how much it's a metre without having ever seen the actual unit of length.

 
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