The small, independent factory in Steinach
The quest for the perfect blend
Heimat founder Roger Koch has finally found the perfect blend, having spent more than four years experimenting with Swiss Burley and Virginia tobacco leaves. The lack of spice and oriental tobaccos, neither of which are grown in Switzerland (yet), presented him with a significant challenge. He soon had to abandon the idea of creating a traditional American blend (60% Virginia, 30% Burley and 10% oriental tobacco), concentrating instead on the locally grown Burley and Virginia varieties. As tobacco is a natural product and subject to seasonal fluctuation, the perfect blend constantly needs to be re-evaluated. For a tinkerer like Roger Koch this is not a problem – in fact it is precisely what he loves.
The tobacco used in Heimat cigarettes is 100% natural, with none of the additives commonly used in the tobacco industry. “Popcorn” tobacco, in which the cells have been expanded, is also a no-go, as is homogenised tobacco, which has no place in a Heimat cigarette. Homogenisation is a process in which tobacco waste and leaf ribs are made into a pulp, as in paper production, before being dried, shredded and added to the tobacco. We prefer to use the leaves themselves.
How Heimat cigarettes are manufactured
But how are Heimat cigarettes made? First, the tobacco needs to be blended in the right ratio. This tobacco blend is then moistened using steam in the cylinder so that it doesn’t turn to dust when it’s cut. Another machine then rolls the cut tobacco into an endless cigarette paper. The endless cigarette is then cut into individual cigarettes before a filter is added. One of our other venerable old machines then sorts the cigarettes into batches of 20 around which the cardboard pack is assembled. Each pack is then wrapped in a protective wrapper – and becomes a finished pack of Heimat cigarettes.