If you follow us on Instagram then you have probably seen some of our social posts and a process known as "validation". This process is more known as blend validation, where we check the consistency of the blend for a certain maraca and vitola. Below we will showcase and explain to you our process of blend validation as it related to La Hacienda Superiores.
Please remember that each manufacturer is different in their validation and the process goes much further in depth then shown, but this will give you a good base of exactly what is going on during the Warped validation process.
What are we looking for?
Today we will be validating La Hacienda Superiores, the 5 5/8 x 46 Nicaraguan puro compromised of 100% AGANORSA Corojo '99 and Criollo '98. So what exactly are we looking for? What you see in front of you are 3 Superiores (and 1 in my other hand, so a total of 4). Each cigar is from a different pair from the same production run that just entered our warehouse. We are validating these cigars from different pairs to ensure that the blend experience is the same from pair to pair and run to run. We also have a reference point from past runs that we keep on hand to compare against.
What do you use to keep your palate clean between cigars?
This is often a VERY personal thing, but in my experience I have heard the following...
- Flat water
- Mineral water
- Dark chocolate
- Butter cookies
- Alkaline water
For me, it is the below...
- Espresso (usually pre first cigar)
- Mineral water
- Dark chocolate
- Biscoff cookies
During the validation process, mineral water is used during the entire process, dark chocolate is used between 1/3's and the cookies...well sometimes you gotta get your snack on.
We have officially started the validation process, with the inaugural lighting of the first cigar.
What Happens Now?
We will now begin smoking the first 1/3 of sample 1 and begin taking a series of notes in regards to the experience. Initial combustion, first draw, you know the typical aspects you look for in your cigar experience. We document each of these factors for not only the current validation but notes to apply against future validations as well.
So we are now a 1/3 of the way into our sample 1 of La Hacienda Superiores, what is next?
Now we will light another sample rolled by a different pair part of the same production run. This will allow us to make sure that the blend consistency and placement is the same experience as sample 1...
Okay, I lied...sometimes I go for espresso whenever it's in front of me.
Our newest team member Scott is to my left and I am explaining Warped's validation process as I am explaining it to you. As you can see sample 1 and 2 are lit and being smoked side by side for comparison. Notes are taken of sample 2 and compared against that of sample 1.
This process will continue for sample 3 and 4 and will be compared against sample 1 and 2.
The process continues.
Do you need an opinion?
To us its imperative that the blend is experienced the same whether by me or anyone on the Warped team. Their sample may be different then mine and we need to taste that to see if something is wrong. Often times we will cut the end and trade samples to ensure that everything is proper between my sample and theirs.
This is accomplished simply by taking a pair of scissors and cutting the mouth end. This is often done during the blending process as well. We all know the blend, and we all need to be in agreement over its consistency.
All in all validation from start to finish took around 2.5 hours. The below photo summarizes the end of our very quick example of blend validation.
We hope that this give you a little bit of education on the aspect of blend validation. We do this on a regular basis to ensure blend consistency across all of our brands and vitolas. Thank you for your suppprt!
Welcome back! And welcome to the next installment in the "How To" series of Cuban coffee drinks. Once again, as you can probably guess with spending so much time in Little Havana and around Cuban's in Miami and even down in Nicaragua, the team is consisted of 95% Cubans and their traditions come with them...coffee included.
So what is a "cortadito"? A cortadito is "essentially" a mini café con leche which is spanish for "coffee with milk"). This is designed to be sipped and enjoyed rather then the Café Cubano which is meant to be taken in shots.
In our last article, we learned how to make Café Cubano, and those skills will come in handy for the Cortadito. If you are not familiar with how to make a Café Cubano, please take a few minutes and review the article as it is a large part of crafting this delicious concoction.
Now that you have refreshed your memory, lets begin!
First we start by pouring that delicious Café Cubano into our glass. We typically fill to 1/4 to 1/3 of the glass depending on how strong you like your drink.
Now that the glasses are full here is what you will need for the next step. Your milk (we use whole) and your pitcher. We like to keep our pitcher cold so we put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so before using...why? Who knows, we kind of do things different here.
Pour your desired amount of milk into the pitcher (this is based on how many Cortaditos you plan on making and their size).
Now lets get some milk steaming going on!
Now that your are done steaming its time to grab those glasses with the Café Cubano in them and add your steamed milk.
After adding your steamed milk, pick it up and enjoy!
Now go give this a shot at home, its super easy and is extremely enjoyable anytime of the day.