Pure pot powder perfection
There is a new cannabis treat you may have seen lately. It's a powder, and usually comes in a little vial. No, it's not some crazy way of snorting herb. It's commonly called kif (pronounced "keef") in North America, and it's getting more popular every day. A more accurate name for this product would be resin powder, as the word kif is actually used to describe a tobacco and marijuana blend smoked in Morocco. Resin powder is a more appropriate name, but it hasn't really caught on yet.
So what is this mysterious powder? Essentially, it is hashish before it has been pressed. Kif can be made from buds, but this is rarely cost efficient, so it is usually made from leaf and trim, and can range in quality from schwag to totally awesome.
There are several different ways of making resin powder, but the general idea is usually the same. Plant material is somehow threshed or vibrated over a screen with the proper mesh size, and the delicate resin glands that fall through are then collected and smoked.
Mila's marvellous machines
Mila Jansen, owner of After the Harvest and Pollinator Co in Amsterdam, is an innovator in this field. She has invented two ingenious machines that collect resin powder.
The first is called The Pollinator and in many ways it resembles a front-loading washing machine. Dried plant material is placed in the machine, which then spins. There is a 150 micron screen around the perimeter of the inside and the resin simply passes through, to be collected with ease from a resin trap below.
There are different sized machines, and the smallest will fit in a refrigerator. The cooler temperatures allow the resin to be collected more efficiently.
The less time spent in the machine, the higher quality the powder ? this is the golden rule. The first sample taken at 2 minutes is very pure, as only the heaviest glands have fallen through; very little vegetative matter has made it through the screen. The longer the machine spins, the more vegetative matter falls through, thus lowering the quality of the resin powder.
The other machine is called "Ice-O-Lator" and uses a water-based system. It works on the principle that resin glands are insoluble in water, and are also heavier than water.
Fresh plant material can be used in this machine, a huge benefit because you don't lose any precious resin in the drying process. There is ice water in the machine, and the buds or leaf are placed directly into the water. The water is then agitated, knocking the resin off the plant.
The resin slowly sinks to the bottom, where it passes through a series of screens that clean up the product, which at this point is a milky liquid containing mostly pure resin. This liquid is then poured over a coffee filter and dried, producing resin powder.
For the more patient, resin powder can be made by hand. I recommend using the two screen system. The first screen (135-150 micron pore size) catches any plant material larger than resin glands. The second screen (50-60 micron pore size) is slightly separated from the first, and holds the large resin glands while letting small glands and debris fall through. If done properly, the resin left on top of the bottom screen can be of very high quality.
The screens are loaded with plant material and either shaken, vibrated, or threshed. Also, plants are manicured over the screen to collect falling glands. Smaller "head-stash" versions of this device can also be built.
I believe that a lot of the "kif" being sold today is made from buds that are then sold. This is highly lame, as they are essentially "cutting" marijuana, something previously believed to be impossible. Have you ever gotten a beautiful bag of nuggets that for some strange reason had little or no effects? A look under the microscope might very well reveal that most of the resin glands have been "kiffed" away. This practice must be stopped!
30 meter hash
The inherent problem with collecting high quality resin powder is that the extraction ratio (the amount of plant material needed to produce X amount of resin powder) is so high in making top quality powder that you will pretty much never see it for sale. Quite simply, the market would not bear what it would have to cost.
In Amsterdam, they call this 30 meter hash. This is because it never makes it more than 30 meters from where it was made! So instead there is only low quality greenish "kif" for sale, green because of the high amount of vegetative matter in it. By leaving the system running for a long time, much more resin powder is made, but of lesser quality. Powder of lesser purity can take up to a half hour to press, if it will even stick at all. It is usually crumbly, and will practically never bubble when lit. Nevertheless, it can still make a nice smoke.
Squish your own stone
Alas, the only way to get the super dank powder is to make it yourself or be really good friends with someone who does. The pure stuff will be amber to red coloured, with little or no visible green specks. When smoked, this pure powder is a very special treat, but there is still one step to perfection. This final step is pressing the powder into hashish, and the reasons are numerous for doing this.
There is a magical chemical reaction that happens when high quality powder is pressed by hand. (Especially the hand of the smoker!) The flavour and stone are considerably increased and improved. You must have fairly pure powder to do this, and the purer the powder, the less time it takes to press.
Top quality resin powder, when pressed, becomes a ball of black sticky hashish in seconds. When warm, it will bend easily. If left out to sit and cool, it will break like a chip of glass. If lit, it will bubble and ooze. The higher quality the hashish, the less time it will take to bubble. When smoked, it is the ultimate stoner treat. Shockingly strong, but not crippling. This is the real connoisseur deal here. Very complex, intellectual and often extremely conversational, this is the stuff that legends are made of.
Pure resin powder perfection
So the next time you are offered some "kif" for sale, test it first. Will it press into hashish, or is there just too much vegetative matter present? Try smoking some by itself. Many people test it by sprinkling some on a bowl of ganja. I don't recommend this, because the effects of the ganja could be confused with those of the resin powder.
A couple of tokes of pure resin powder will have almost immediate results. If you aren't immediately impressed with the high, don't waste your money. Remember, the greener the powder, the lower the quality.
Anyone wanting to learn more about kif and hash making should read Rob Clarke's new book, Hashish! This is the bible when it comes to hash.