While a good number of people are pivoting towards experimenting with rosin, not many know how to press them properly. An in- depth knowledge of the process of rosin extraction and learning the significance of each step and equipment can easily solve that problem. This starter guide has been constructed particularly to familiarize you with the basics of pressing rosin and what factors might contribute to a positive rosin experience with a maximum yield.
The current spike in its popularity is due to the fact that this is a solventless extraction where all you need to do is apply sufficient heat and pressure to cannabis flower and voila, you have obtained rosin without using any chemical additives. Because of its gooey consistency, it can be incorporated in a variety of edibles according to the user’s desire. So what you get is a very convenient method of extracting a solventless cannabis in a limited budget within a short period of time using minimal extraction tools and accessories.
This is why even hair straighteners can act as extraction tools for rosin. But the only drawback in this case would be that you would not get pure rosin to its maximum potency. The reason is that there are some factors upon which the yield of the rosin extraction depends on. One such factor is the quality of the cannabis flower used.
Quality of Strains
The product at the end of the extraction is ultimately a version of the source material. So it goes without saying that your rosin will be as good as the starting material. This is why it is imperative to choose good quality cannabis flowers to ensure a potent yield. Researching the quality of each type of strain can help you make the correct decision when it comes to choosing the best source material.
The best quality strains will have higher production capability of trichome which will result in a top notch terpene profile. Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in cannabis plants which are responsible for its aroma and flavor. So in order to spot a good quality strain, look out for the fragrance.
Now once you have managed to gather quality flowers for your rosin extraction, there are some things you have to keep in mind:
- Curing is a process where dried plants are aged to control the content of moisture in it. The flowers should be very lightly cured for extraction.
- In case of rosin extraction, the flowers should have around 60- 65% moisture. If it is wetter than that, the extraction would simply be very mediocre or worse than that. One way of determining the content of moisture is to use a hygrometer which allows you to read the humidity of the material used.
- The fresher your flowers, the better will be the extracted product. So as soon as you are done with the curing and the drying processes, make sure to start the extraction immediately so that they do not start to wither with time. Freshness is a prerequisite to getting a premium quality rosin at the end of the extraction.
Each strain has multiple phenotypes which might result in a very different yield than its sister phenotypes. So do not restrain yourself from experimenting with different strains until you discover your desired quality of rosin.
Quantity of Flower
After you have procured the right quality of rosin flowers, the next question that comes is what kind of rosin press should you use. And the answer lies in the quantity of flowers you will be pressing. So if you are thinking of pressing just a few grams, DIY rosin presses with hair straighteners might be the most feasible thing to do. But, if you have access to a lot of flowers and are thinking of pressing in bulk, investing in a good rosin press is highly recommended.
Optimum Temperature for Rosin Extraction
For good quality of strains, generally you require less heat whereas for lower quality source materials, extra heat is needed to process the trichome heads. So the optimum temperature for rosin extraction is determined by the quality of rosin flowers you are using. The distribution of heat should be balanced in order to ensure the speed and consistency of the liquefaction of the trichomes. Thus, depending on the temperature applied, the process of rosin extraction might take more or less time and the end result might also differ in its appearance based on the heat applied.
There are two such distinctive temperature ranges:
- Cold Pressing: In this kind of pressing, the temperature varies from 160 degree fahrenheit to 190 degree fahrenheit. But due to the lower temperature, it usually requires more time for the whole extraction to be completed (around 5-6 minutes).The extracted product also has a very batter- like texture.
- Hot pressing: In this case, temperatures between 190°F - 240°F is used as the ideal temperature for extraction. Since this uses high heat, it breaks down the trichomes more easily taking up a shorter time of 45 seconds to 3 minutes. This produces a very oily yield with a high terpene profile.
The recommended optimum temperature is between 210°F - 220°F as it displays the maximum preservation of terpenes in the extracted rosin. However, since different strains exhibit different characteristics it is suggested that you experiment with small amounts of the strains at different ranges of temperature to observe which produces the best yield.
Optimum Pressure for Rosin Extraction
Flower rosin generally takes more pressure to be extracted than bubble hash or kief because of its more natural and unrefined state. But using too much pressure that some rosin presses can apply might take away from the quality of rosin instead of ensuring it. The perfect way is to apply a light touch of force that translates into the optimum pressure for a refined extraction. A higher pressure would cause unwanted particles of lipid and organic non- cannabinoids to get blended with the extracted product. This will result in an impure yield with underwhelming taste and smell, overall reducing the quality of the rosin.
However, the difference of the strains has to be kept in mind as the same pressure might not be applicable for getting a maximum yield out of some strains. This is why the topic of optimum pressure for rosin pressing remains to be quite controversial as different users have different experiences with it. But in general, the range of pressure for pressing flower rosin is 550- 1500 PSI where the maximum yield is usually noticed with strains that require a pressure towards the lower end of the spectrum.
How to Choose the Right Rosin Press
Beginners can feel free to use DIY rosin presses at home whether it is a hair straightener or an H frame hydraulic press. If you are just getting started on these new experiments, it is recommended that you use something smaller and more handy so that you can get comfortable with how everything works. This also allows you to cut costs in the beginning and lets you customize the setup as you prefer.
However, if you do want to invest on one, in order to choose the right rosin press that best suits your situation you have to look out for these qualities:
- Choose a rosin press that is capable of applying the optimum pressure of 300- 1500 PSI.
- If you want the best type of rosin presses for commercial purposes, pneumatic rosin presses are the only way to go. But for beginners, using a manual rosin press should be good enough.
- Make sure to select a rosin press that can handle temperature between 140- 300 degree fahrenheit and allows the user to control temperature with precision.
- Go for a rosin press that has rectangular aluminum plates for pressing. This allows maximum rosin flowers to be pressed evenly.
Other Accessories for Pressing
While a rosin press does most of the job when it comes to pressing rosin flowers, in order to get more a more refined and pure end product it is advised to invest on some accessories as well:
- Pre- press molds- These molds are rectangular or cylindrical hand- pressing equipment that compress the cannabis flowers into a shape which helps to ensure even distribution of heat and pressure throughout the flowers.
- Rosin Bags- These bags are nylon bags to hold the rosin flowers between the heated plates while pressing. The nylon in the bags also helps to filter out any contaminants from the extracted rosin.
- Parchment paper- Parchment paper is what the extracted rosin sticks to at the end of the process. Due to its texture, it helps in the easy collection of rosin from its surface.
Process of Flower Rosin Extraction
The entire process of rosin extraction from cannabis flowers can be divided into 7 simple steps as follows:
Step 1: Choosing the Correct Rosin Bag
When it comes to choosing rosin bags for the process, going for bags made out of food grade nylon with correct micron count is extremely important. Depending on the size of your cannabis flower, you will have to select the micron count. Micron refers to the size of the holes in the fabric of the bag through which the flowers are squeezed out to obtain the rosin. The larger the micron size the larger the holes in the bags. Each type of cannabis requires a certain range of these microns. For flower rosin, the recommended microns is between 90- 160.
Having said that, it is always wiser to experiment with different micron sizes for different strains as the ideal size might vary according to the type of strain you are using. So start off with bags of 90- 160 microns and then when you get comfortable with the method, explore other sizes to reach the maximum yield. Make sure to keep the seams of the bags on the inside or use rosin bags which are already flipped.
Step 2: Packing the Bag with Flower
The next step is to pack the rosin bag with cannabis flowers. Before doing so, make sure to gently remove the buds from the stems in a way that the trichome heads remain undamaged. While you are loading the cannabis into the bag, stuff it in a way that eliminates any air pockets or empty spaces within the bag. These spaces enable reabsorption of some of the rosin reducing the total amount of yield in the end.
Remember not to grind the flowers before the extraction begins. Just tear the buds down into small chunks suitable for being loaded in the rosin bag.
Step 3: Pre- pressing
This step cannot be downplayed in any way in the process of rosin extraction. Pre- pressing your cannabis will enable you to achieve a consistent result with maximum yield every time you press. These rectangular or cylindrical aluminum molds are designed to be used by hand pressing the flowers into the mold just before the extraction begins. To press your flowers more evenly, load them inside the rosin bag and place it in the mold in a way that fits the size perfectly. Distribute equal pressure throughout the bag by placing your palm flat on the top surface of the mold. Use your upper body weight to obtain a flawlessly molded bag of flower rosin ready to be extracted.
Step 4: Placing the bag in between parchment paper
Once you are done with the pre- pressing, now it is time to cover the plates of your rosin press with two sheets of food grade parchment paper. Then place the pre- pressed rosin bag with cannabis flowers in the middle of the rosin press plates. The plates of the rosin press should just touch the top and bottom of the rosin bag lightly. You can als use The Bottle Tech method to place your rosin bag vertically into the press. This will allow you to maneuver the pressure during extraction.
While the rosin bag rests on the plates, preheat the press for 30 seconds to melt the resin inside the flower and to get it ready for pressing.
Step 5: Pressing the Rosin Bag
Once the rosin press has been preheated for 30 seconds, now it is time to apply the optimum pressure in a slow and steady gradient. Do not rush the process in order to reach the ideal pressure at once. This will cause obstruction to the extraction and reduce the overall yield along with visible blowouts and a mediocre terpene profile. Aim to reach the ideal pressure by gradually increasing the pressure bit by bit.
Keep the temperature at an optimum level of 160- 240 degrees fahrenheit.
This entire process might take around 90 to 120 seconds depending on the gradient of the applied pressure. But it is recommended to keep pressing as long as the rosin is still seeping out from the press.
If quantity is your goal, opt for higher temperature and higher pressure. But if you do not want to lose the quality of your rosin in the process, then stick to the optimum temperature and pressure mentioned above.
Step 6: Collecting Rosin off the Parchment Paper
The technique of using a cool plate right after the extraction has proven helpful in the collection of rosin from the parchment paper. Before you start the extraction, keep a cooling plate in the refrigerator. Once you are done with the pressing, take the plate and place parchment paper with the eeped out rosin on it. Since these parchment papers are built to be non- sticky, the lower temperature of the cooling plate will make it easier for you to peel the rosin from it. Keep the collected rosin in a sealed jar for the next step to begin.
Step 7: Curing the Rosin
The easy way to cure rosin is to just leave it in the refrigerator for a while before it is consumed. A good cure can guarantee an increase in both taste and smell. The Jar technique is known to be the most popular way of curing where you keep the rosin in a sealed jar and then put it in the freezer for a day or two. This helps to preserve the terpene profile of the rosin and reduces the degradation of the cannabinoids.
Using Flower Rosin
The extracted rosin should have a batter like texture which makes it easier for the consumer to use in a myriad of ways. One popular way of using this rosin is by putting a blob on a heated surface and then inhaling the vapor as soon as it starts to evaporate. However, because of the spread of awareness to protect the lungs, most people prefer to consume it through edibles rather than taking it out on the lungs. But before you infuse it with different kinds of food, make sure to decarboxylate the rosin to further enhance the nutrition quotient of your rosin. Some people also like to swallow rosin as capsules as they are easy to be transported and lets you control the dosage.