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Sunday, March 16, 2008

pH Balance & You

The balance between Acidity and Alkalinity effects our lives in innumerable ways; from the environment, soil, and our bodies, to the food we eat and liquids we drink.
“pH” is a measure of Acidity and Alkalinity [of a solution] on a scale where 7 is neutral; lower numbers are more Acid (down to 0), and higher numbers are more Alkaline (up to 14).
We learn in Tobacco & Taste Colleges that cigars are more Alkaline and cigarettes are more Acidic: this effects the consumption, nicotine absorption, and addictive differences between the two.
When it comes to luxury tobacco, pH monitoring is critical for the Soil and even the water used for Irrigation and Fermentations. But the greatest effects of pH do not come from the product itself, but rather, from your mouth. Your palate’s (tongue, mouth, saliva) neutral setting is around 7. Lemon Juice is around 2, Tomatoes are around 4, and milk is around 6.5. Anything we consume will effect the pH level in our mouth, and subsequently, the way we perceive the Taste of a cigar or pipe tobacco.
Have you ever smoked a cigar you know is good, and it just tastes “off”? Usually we just blame the cigar maker, Tobacconist, or our humidor, but, maybe it wasn’t the cigar. It is very likely that our mouth can be “off”.
Fortunately, our mouths/palates have the ability to restore their neutrality within a short period of time. You can expedite this process by drinking water, milk, or eating plain bread, to bring your mouth closer to neutral.
If you just finished smoking a cigar and want another, you can eat a little lemon sorbet to restore some Acidity to your palate. Ultimately, maybe you like the contrasting Acidity of coffee with the Alkalinity of a cigar; if so great. But it is good to know the facts and be aware of how our senses can be biased.

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