Robaina's plantation

Thursday 24 January 2013

H.Upmann cigar factory (Havana)

                 The H.Upmann factory is considered by many to be one of the best cigar factories in Cuba, a few would even say the very best.
                  The H.Upmann brand is one of the oldest, having been created by a German banker, Herman Upmann, when he opened a branch of his bank in Havana in 1840 and decided to invest in a cigar factory. That factory was built in 1844 on Amistad street no.407-409 and remained so until November 2003 when it moved to it's present address on the corner of 23rd and 14 streets in what used to be the old Partagas cigarette factory. The name of the factory has changed as well, it has been renamed the Jose Marti factory since 1961. When they first opened they started out with 80 workers, there have been times when they've had 1000 workers at one time through the years.
                   It's been over a year now that the Upmann factory has been operating out of the Romeo Y Julieta factory in Centro Habana while it's been under renovation. It seems that not too long after they moved into the new place, about 10 years, they've had terrible floods from water coming in through the roof. Sadly, I never got to see the old place on Amistad but I've had the fortune of visiting the new location several times before the renovations and the current one at RyJ. I remember seeing some of the same faces I saw years ago on previous visits. One thing hasn't changed, the quality of the cigars coming out of this factory are still some of the best, especially their Piramides. The Upmann factory is know to be the best for rolling the Piramide Vitola and that's why it's the only factory other that El Laguito that's been given the task to roll the Cohiba Piramide Extra. Of course there were plenty of Montecristo 520s being rolled, Upmann was the original Montecristo factory. The head of Quality Control, who gave me my tour this past November, was quite proud of the quality of the smokes leaving the factory and made sure to let me know several times. She went through the various departments and the several spots where a quality control check was done. I can understand now why Cuban cigars have been much better than the ones rolled years ago, especially from the 90's. At least I can say that about the cigars coming out of the H.Upmann factory.
                    Below are two sets of pictures and I've indicated the split. The ones above were taken in the new factory before the renovations and the ones below are actually in the Romeo y Julieta factory but it's the Upmann workers that are there in the fotos.

23rd and 14 street

adding moisture to the leaf

portioning out the rollers bundles

removing the center vein and organizing the leaf


the main rolling room

quality control

taking the boxes away to the warehouse

Romeo y Julieta cigar factory

Romeo y Julieta factory or the temporary H.Upmann factory 

main rollers room

a smaller rolling room

quality control


  1. Hola,
    Tienes mucha suerte, hacer fotos estan dificil en interior.
    Fui en abril Hupmann,no vi nada, sólo un taller !! Prohibe fotos

    "Les cigares selon Edmond"

  2. Si Edmond, tienes razon, tengo mucha suerte....y Amigos.