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Why Press Tobacco???

(77 posts)
  1. mojoe

    mojoe

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    Came across a couple vids yesterday showing tobacco being placed into a PVC tube, and then being compressed for a length of time to create a cake. What is the main purpose behind this process?

    Thanks
    joe

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. mikethompson

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    Do you mean why press into cakes at all or why use a PVC tube?

    I was always under the impression it fuses the flavours of the leaves together to create a more harmonious flavour. I'm sure someone who knows more than me will chime in though.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. saltedplug

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    Plugs were made for convenience and portability; just put them in a pocket. Hard-pressed plug like Salty Dogs and Condor are created with such fierce, sustained pressure that the cell walls rupture, thus blending flavors in a way that loose tobacco cannot. Yet if you age loose tobacco you will find that the flavors meld, which makes me think of co-valent bonding. Flake tobacco is sliced plug.

    All tobacco is organic. From the living leaf comes the cured, manipulated and blended, that because once alive continues to degrade, or ferment. Pressure increases the rate of that degradation and is prized by blenders for flavors it otherwise would not have had early in its blended life.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. davet

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    Why Press Tobacco???

    Because it's wonderful

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. npod

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    American pipers are always trying to recreate plugs and cakes and pressed techniques here in the states. The Europeans have perfected it. We tend to not have the equipment, thus these types of technique videos show up.

    Neal
    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. kola

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    I don't think pressing tobacco is rocket science. There's lots of easy ways to squeeze the stuff, hydraulically, mechanically or just by banging it into a tube with a hammer and capping it off. I think the end results depends more on how much time it remains pressed. And quite possibly the amount of exact pressure applied could come into play. OTOH I'm just spouting opinion.

    I wish all tobaccos were pressed and sliced in flakes or plugs. And I also wish they'd outlaw that dreaded shag cut (aka rats nest)

    I have a juice machine with a hand press. I wrap my tobacco in wax paper and press it until she won't go anymore. I'll leave it pressed and check on it until it stays firm..or longer sometimes.

    I treat people the way they treat me. It's that simple.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. cortezattic

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    Some people like to play with their tobacco.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. woodsroad

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    Because so many other things taste great pressed.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. davek

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    I mellow whole leaf Burley by lightly stoving (170f for 1 hour) and pressing. The pressing seems to be an important part of the mellowing. I mix a bit of Bright Leaf in as well and the pressing marries it quickly too. (a shotgun wedding)

    An easy way to press whole leaf is to get it in high case and roll it tightly into little "cigars:. Really kind of like a short rope. Then put one in each end of a ziplock and press with c-clamps and plates or by just piling cinderblocks onto it. Slices into hard little coins.

    I've been known to make a little crumble cake by moistening shredded tobacco, putting it in the corner of a ziplock, then putting my heel in it and standing the full weight of my body on my heel for a minute.

    I think pressing really does change the flavor for the better.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. weezell

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    I've heard of "Pheasant" under glass as a dining delight. Now we see an example of "Pleasant" under glass. Best served HOT!!!

    "the weez"...
    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. artificialme

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    Because so many other things taste great pressed

    This sentence and the last picture crack me up...
    The windows looked happy in that picture

    Adhie was here
    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. bassbug

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    Is there anything to be gained by pressing (or would it be re-pressing?) already broken flake such as MacBaren Golden Extra?

    I assume flake is just a slice taken out of a pressed cake of tobacco.

    What about pressing a ribbon cut such as Carter Hall?

    I don't care who you are, you're not walking on the water while I'm fishing
    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. aquadoc

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    Bassbug, I think it forms more a crumble cake if you press ribbon. But I am most likely wrong.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Yes, plugs are made from whole leaf, done early in tobacco processing. When you press already prepared tobacco it makes a cake, or as Simon and Dan (of SToP) have named it the "chug" for very tightly pressing cut tobaccos.

    I think that the idea is more to slow the burning process, making it denser, thus burning slower or at a higher temperature if pushed too hard. But, by slowing the rate of smoldering, you get more of the nicotine and flavors from a slower smoke and a more homogeneous tobacco. But, for the most part it doesn't change the tastes dramatically.

    Also, try slicing a cake or "chug." you don't get very good slices most of the time, and it sort of crumbles apart as you pack it. I am all for getting new and different smoking experiences, but I just haven't had one of these that has impressed me. And, I do have a 10 ton hydraulic press. I also have a friend in my pipe club who makes a sort of fruit roll up thing where he presses his tobacco absolutely flat between wax papers. It's not very.. aesthetically appealing, especially since he uses aromatics. So it is literally like a fruit roll up.

    But, as always playing with your tobacco is a lot of fun. So, do it. Try for yourself. My favorite thread for pressing is the one where the forum member tried parking his truck on his tobacco.

    Michael
    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. kola

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    Good points, Comic, thats probably the main reason why I prefer flakes and plugs and I didn't even realize it. Increased denisity, slower burner rate.

    Thats why ya have to pack the shit out of shag and ribboon cuts to make up for it. Otherwise it flash-burns up like confetti.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. folanator

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    I have created my own little press that I made and have used quite a bit:
    The biggest C-clamp I could find. Bigger = better
    8" of 2" PVC.
    A hockey puck
    3" kiln dried dowel that fits tight inside the PVC.
    4 Hose clamps (keeps pvc from failing)
    Parchment paper

    I put the parchment paper inside the PVC as a lining. Fill the tube with tobaccy and use the puck as a base. Stick the dowel in the top and squish. I re-squish every day until it won't move. It's pretty well set after a week.

    Pretty easy to make. I have combined various Virginians with a burley or perique with good results. The final product is much more unified and consistent. I also have had good results re-hydrating classics and then pressing them with = parts of the newer versions.

    I do believe I am getting enough pressure to rupture the cellular walls. It's not a crumble cake anymore.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. bassbug

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    So Cosmic says pressing does not change the taste dramatically...anyone else agree? Disagree?

    As much fun as it may be to try,I'd like to get some idea of what to expect. I smoke almost exclusively burley.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. cosmicfolklore

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    As much fun as it may be to try,I'd like to get some idea of what to expect.

    Oh come on, where's your sense of adventure. Just do it! But, mostly you are just changing the rate that the tobacco burns, which could or not affect the flavors in a noticeable way.

    The problem here is which burley you are going to press? Burley doesn't have much in the way of a natural sugar in the leaf to make it stick together after pressing, so you'll want to use one that has some casing or else add a light honey and water mist to the leaf before pressing.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. 901blends

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    Pressing is a way for a home blender to speed the marriage of the flavors.

    Sometimes a home blend is a "salad" of tobaccos where they stay independent and good that way.

    Other times you want might want the flavors to mingle more and a good press can do that.

    Most of the home presses I see though are really bad and the users ratchet the ribbons until they bleed. They put plug pressure on making crumble kake. It's like they are making tobacco juice instead of crumble kake.

    Why do they do it? Because it's fun! Anyone can make a crumble kake. Your inner engineer might want to figure it out.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. artificialme

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    It's not a crumble cake anymore

    Can you post some picture of the result please?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. warren

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    Wrinkles?

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. cosmicfolklore

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    Ha ha... it took me a minute, Warren.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. folanator

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    For the press, I have to select 1 component that has some juice to it. I have been using McCranies Ribbon, it has enough liquid to bind the entire plug into a solid mass. I think the high sugar content of the ribbon helps as well.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. slowroll

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    I never bother pressing commercial blends, I figure they don't change much. My own blends, I put them in a small press or just pack a vacuum bag. Turns out either way gives about the same result after about a week, a crumble cake with well married flavors.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. slowroll

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    I never bother pressing commercial blends, I figure they don't change much. My own blends, I put them in a small press or just pack a vacuum bag. Turns out either way gives about the same result after about a week, a crumble cake with well married flavors.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. folanator

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    Here are 2 I did.
    The one on the right was pressed using some really old (1987) Heinrich Va's that I had re-hydrated. They had a really nice apricot aroma. I then added = weight of McCrannies red ribbon. Then blended 22% Wessex burley and 8% perique. Pressed for 10 days.

    The darker is a project I did using old Cope's Escudo that I re-hydrated. They came back very well, but I added = parts mid 2000's Escudo. Super yummy stuff that came out full of coffee and chocolates.

    Hope this pic works...

    Here is the press I used. It's pretty much a straight line torque system. Easy, cheap and you get get some good pressure if you put some arse behind the turns.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. folanator

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    A little better pic of the Escudo. These come out about the size of a medium buscuit and are very dense for travel

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    jitterbugdude

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    So Cosmic says pressing does not change the taste dramatically...anyone else agree? Disagree?

    I'm in the Cosmic Camp on this one. I've made many a plug with my homegrown and it tastes the same as if I had just shredded it. There is a difference with commercial tobacco though. When you press a tobacco that has a boatload of sauce in it most of it will drip out, so a plug only gets half a boatload of sauce.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    oldtoby

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    Any of you guys stove tobacco, say like in an old Crock-pot?

    I've had some interesting results doing it.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. cosmicfolklore

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    If I am not mistaken, Jitterbugdude is a trailblazer in crockpot cavendishes amongst the homegrowers.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    oldtoby

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    I'd love to hear his opinions on it, Cosmic.

    I started using this method when told about it from RonniB from Nightowl Pipeworks several yrs ago.

    Charles Rattray used heated blending tables back then in Perth. Robert McConnell pan fired his Virginias (along with others).
    Even the original Redmond Balkan Sobranie supposedly used a special Virginia technique that has not been replicated today. Can't verify the Sobranie/Redmond thing, but the Rattray thing is true.

    This is totally different from tin baking. I'd never bake a unopened tin in the paper cradle they're incased in. You're baking the chemically infused paper into the tobacco. Many say they have had no ill effects, but smoke a hundred tins of it and let me know. lol.

    There's many speculations on these techniques but, as you know, being a grower and experimenting with heat and pressure, there are some true benefits.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    benhughes2

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    I have pressed several kinds of tobacco including Bengal slices, brown bogie, most of Sutliff’s virginias et al.
    I can tell you a few things. First off any tobacco pressed under enough pressure will turn darker and will get sticky. It then needs to be dried out just a little. Second it becomes very sweet to the taste, like if you stick your tongue on it. Third it does not SEEM to affect the nicotine content one way or another eg. one inhale of double pressed brown bogie was enough to make me lose feeling from my fingers to about halfway up my arms. Fourth it changes the flavor of the tobacco. For Sutliff’s red Virginia ribbon, it simply smooths out the flavor, but it makes bengal slices extremely spicy. I know this probably raises more questions than answers, but it’s just a few things I’ve observed in my short career pressing tobacco.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  33. hawky454

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    Best Home Press EVER!!! and it only cost about $15 to $19 depending where you buy it from. It’s the most fun I’ve had with tobacco in a long time! Read that whole thread if any of you are just the slightest bit interested.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  34. anthonyrosenthal74

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    Best Home Press EVER!!! and it only cost about $15 to $19 depending where you buy it from. It’s the most fun I’ve had with tobacco in a long time! Read that whole thread if any of you are just the slightest bit interested.
    Funny you mentioned this. I was planning on purchasing one of these today!

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 1 month ago #
  35. tfdickson

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    Cat's out of the bag now!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  36. trouttimes

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    Just ordered a noodle press. Time to play!

    “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone, I must follow if I can
    Posted 1 month ago #
  37. hawky454

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    Funny you mentioned this. I was planning on purchasing one of these today!

    Cat's out of the bag now!

    Just ordered a noodle press. Time to play!

    You all won’t regret it but I highly recommend reading through that thread I linked as you can learn from others mistakes. I have found that the Sutliff Victorian Match has had the best transformation after being in the press for a week. I weigh out 58g (2oz) put it in the microwave for 18 secs, mix with my hands put it back in the microwave for another 15 seconds and load up as quickly as possible and press. Don’t press so hard that you break the press but give it some good pressure, each day you’ll be able to twist the handle a bit more until it just won’t turn anymore. I use aluminum foil to to cover the holes on the cap and it works perfect. I think the trick is to heat the tobacco before pressing. But again read that thread, Ernie Q from Watch City posts a lot of excellent tips in there too so it’s definitely worth the time to read through it. Other successful plugs I’ve made are; Kendal Dark, the shag cut presses very well, and Haunted Bookshop came out excellent as well. This is by far the best home press I’ve ever seen, the pucks come out with the press with the same density as Salty Dogs Plug, someone on there actually did the math. It’s amazing fun, and the cheapest and most convenient method I’ve seen of doing your own pressing at home. I hope you have as much fun with it as I’m having. After 30 min with my first press I immediately went back on Amazon to buy another one so I’m working with two presses now. One of the members had 5 presses going at once. Lol

    Posted 1 month ago #
  38. trouttimes

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    Lots of info on that thread! I am thinking of misting VA with a good port.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  39. mso489

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    Melds the flavors, retains some moisture, keeps well for a long time, makes portable plugs, and even when sliced and/or rubbed out makes for a longer smoke. Someone tried it a long time ago and it worked really well, and it still does.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  40. hawky454

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    Lots of info on that thread! I am thinking of misting VA with a good port.

    Sounds like a winner. Look further down where Ernie suggest the infusion method. Put the port in a shot glass and put the tobacco and the shot glass in a closed Tupperware for several days, he says spraying alcohol on the tobacco can do bad things. I’ve never tried it but I trust him as his quite the blender.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  41. hawky454

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    Yeah, you put in a VaPer like Victorian Match, it’s amazing how dark the puck comes out. I think it’s in part from the Perique juices staining the rest of the tobaccos. It makes for an amazing, funky VaPer.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    benhughes2

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    Can someone explain why the tobacco tastes sweet after pressing? Sutliff rvr tastes like tobacco then afterwards it doesn’t. What’s up with that?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  43. jpmcwjr

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    Anyone with experience with pressing fines? (the really tiny bits of tobacco, just short of dust.)

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  44. hawky454

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    ^^^ No, but shag does great! I just usually use the dust as kindling to get my pipe going.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  45. hawky454

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    Can someone explain why the tobacco tastes sweet after pressing? Sutliff rvr tastes like tobacco then afterwards it doesn’t. What’s up with that?

    Never really experienced something that dramatic so I can’t comment. Pressing usually dampens the high notes and increases the base notes. It also marries the wonderful oils found in each varietal so they come together as one.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    benhughes2

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    I don’t go to the lengths some of you do. I just cram as much as I can into a 1x2 inch plastic bag and crank it down in a carpenters vise until it just won’t compress anymore. Leave it for 15 minutes and it comes out sticky and sweet and slightly darker. No heat is involved, so it’s not quite cavendish. I don’t know what to call it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  47. anthonyrosenthal74

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    You all won’t regret it
    I reckon I probably wont. I had been wanting to press some of my own blends for quite some time, and had almost considered one of those pollen presses a while back, but opted out as I wanted something with a larger diameter. When I saw the pasta press a week or so past, I thought it would be just about perfect. I put my order in tonight (this morning rather).

    Posted 1 month ago #
  48. alexnc

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    Ben - how did your Suttliff red VA ribbon taste after you pressed it compared to Suttliff Crumble Cake Red VA?

    Goo Goo g’joob
    Posted 1 month ago #
  49. anthonyrosenthal74

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    I got my press a few days ago, and immediately put it to use with a brand new blend. I mixed up some Black Stoved Virginia, with Lane BCA, Perique, and Latakia. I do have unflavored black cavendish, but BCA seemed like a good idea at the time. After getting it all mixed up well, I dumped in some Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum, mixed it up really well, and let it dry for a bit on parchment paper. And then into the spaghetti tobacco press it went. Tightened it down. And then tightened it a little more over the last couple days. Today, I opened it up and I'm very pleased. It's not a lat bomb, only 5 out of 52 grams is Latakia, but it has a magnificently smokey scent.

    Ember's suggests I call it Oxford's Wake. The Oxford was one of Henry Morgan's ships, whom Captain Morgan Rum is named for. I believe it's fitting name.

    I'm about to have the first smoke in a meer.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  50. chasingembers

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    Looks gorgeous!

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 1 month ago #
  51. anthonyrosenthal74

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    Thanks Duane. I'm smoking some now, and it actually is delicious. The scent of the tobacco unsmoked is like a pungent campfire for lack of a better explanation. But the room note and flavor is entirely different, with more of a toasted marshmallow kind of thing going on. I'm wishing winter wasn't over, as I think this would be a great smoke on a cold day with a hot coffee. Still in the process of first smoke, so flavor profile could change.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  52. jpmcwjr

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    Well done! Was the tobacco pretty moist going into the press?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  53. anthonyrosenthal74

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    Well done! Was the tobacco pretty moist going into the press?

    It was moist, but not overly so. I laid it out on some parchment paper to dry before pressing.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  54. hawky454

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    Awesome, Anthony, looks like you’re putting it to good use! I love how glossy and shiny the puck looks when it comes out, that’s when you know that the press is doing its job, the oils are being pressed out and marrying with the other varietals. Now, how long before you buy a second one? Didn’t take me too long at all. Lol. Just unloaded two pucks today, locked and loaded more Match Victorian and in 8 days they’ll be ready to go, rinse repeat.

    You definitely don’t want it too moist. Several members in the other thread did it with overly moist tobacco and juices were actually oozing out of the press. I heat mine in the microwave just before pressing and it’s amazing how moist it make what feels like dry tobacco before heating it. I throw it in the press as quickly as possible. Heating it up has proven to help the puck stay dense, without heating your tobacco your puck will probably expand a great deal in about a weeks time when out of the press. As I said before, the link I posted above has a wealth of knowledge of those who did all the trials and errors for the rest of us. I applaud all the fine work they put forth... for science, you know.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  55. anthonyrosenthal74

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    Now, how long before you buy a second one? Didn’t take me too long at all.
    Lol! I'm already contemplating not one, but three more! I'd like to have them all going at the same time. These cakes and plugs take up far less space in a jar than loose tobacco.

    Several members in the other thread did it with overly moist tobacco and juices were actually oozing out of the press.
    I had a small amount of juice escaping from the press on the last day. To me, that just told me it was done I imagine the perique added to that as well.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  56. hawky454

    hawky454

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    Lol! I'm already contemplating not one, but three more! I'd like to have them all going at the same time. These cakes and plugs take up far less space in a jar than loose tobacco

    Hahaha! Good deal! They are so inexpensive and do such a good job, I’ll probably end up with four or five myself. I measure out 2 ounces of tobacco, which presses to 3/4” thick and you can fit two pucks in those tiny 4oz jars, they fit perfectly. Yeah I wish I would have known about this when I first started cellaring, could have saved a lot of room! I’m happy to hear you’re having fun with it!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  57. krizzose

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    That cake looks great. I just ordered a noodle press, and I’m looking forward to experimenting. I think the first batch will be a VaPer with a bit of rum

    Posted 1 month ago #
  58. renfield

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    I was wondering how long it would take the Noobacco press to land here. Let the fun begin!

    A bit of advice, drier is better, more time in the press is better than more pressure, give the plugs time to age after taking them out of the press, they’ll improve. Straight out of the press the flavors are a bit muted, like a freshly opened bottle of wine but for different reasons.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  59. hawky454

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    Great advice, Renfield! I’m glad to see the noodle press is taking off here too, it’s so much fun.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  60. ben88

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    I vacuum seal the plugs right out of press. Hopefully it will compress them even further.

    Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate
    Posted 1 month ago #
  61. anthonyrosenthal74

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    give the plugs time to age after taking them out of the press, they’ll improve. Straight out of the press the flavors are a bit muted, like a freshly opened bottle of wine but for different reasons.
    Interesting. As good as mine was straight out of the press, and again on the second day, it should be fantastic after a little time then.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  62. trouttimes

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    Just tried my first pressing. Lane BCA and Golden Va. It really helped both blends smooth out and boy does it burn slow not to mention takes a lot less room in the cellar.
    Now to see if I can help make Haunted Bookshop smokeable. What should I mix with HB to smooth out the jagged edges?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  63. renfield

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    Trout, that’s exactly what I’ve found. The press really knocks off those rough edges. I was surprised how much the burn slowed down as well.

    I need to do an experiment. Make a plug, let it sit for a few weeks, then break it back apart to preserve the original cut. Then compare it to the original blend.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  64. trouttimes

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    Refield, I just finished my third bowl of the stuff and wow, what a difference. I can't wait to press other blends and see if I just got lucky or if this is the results most of the time.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  65. hawky454

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    Pressed Match Victorian is an excellent Vaper, I highly recommend giving that one a try! It’s amazing how much darker the puck comes out after just 8 days. By itself Match Victorian is a good blend, when it’s pressed it's superb!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  66. anthonyrosenthal74

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    not to mention takes a lot less room in the cellar.
    No kidding! I'm contemplating pressing all of my bulk blends so they take up less jars, so I can then fill those emptied jars with more stuff

    Posted 1 month ago #
  67. krizzose

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    The press finally arrived today. I washed and dried it, then put in about 2 ounces of various Virginias, a touch of burley, Perique and a little bit of a super sweet rum aromatic. I can’t wait until later this week

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  68. trouttimes

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    Krizz you will be surprised at the results and wonder why you haven't tried this before.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  69. jpmcwjr

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    I'm getting itchy to try this.

    Has anyone stoved during the press?

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  70. anthonyrosenthal74

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    Has anyone stoved during the press?
    I've considered the idea but my press has some plastic parts. Probably best to stove before pressing.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #

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