How to Make Hash
So you got yourself some Bubble Bags and your ready to make some Hash! Making bubble hash is not an overly complicated process at face value but the science and nuances that exist can become overwhelming, but fear not I'm here to break it down simplistically.
Generally this is going to be the roughly standard process but every hashihin has different preferences and techniques that may cause their process to differ from mine. Every strain is different and every grower grows every strain differently. Additionally trichomes or resin glands which of course are the little crystal looking specks on the flowers come in many different sizes. Most often 73 and 90 micron are the very best, but it really just depends on the plant and both the experience of the grower and hashishin.
This is a simple breakdown of the micron sizes and their values in the process. It can be noted that when one removes a bag from the system, being that you might not always use 8 bags at a time. The lower bag captures the trichomes of its missing higher micron cohorts. Be conscious of this as you don't necessarily want some lower grade product sneaking into your nicer stuff for example. For this reason I personally just use my 220μm and 190μm for cleanup then usually go through 160μm,90μm,73μm,25μm for collection but again that's just me!
Micron scales and grades
A micron is a unit of measure in the metric system. It equals one-millionth of a meter and one-thousandth of a millimeter, essentially shorthand for micrometer. The symbol used to represent a micron is “μm”
To visualise a micron:
- A human red blood cell is 5 microns
- An average human hair has a diameter of 100 microns
- Most humans cannot see anything smaller than 40 microns with the unaided eye
-25 micron bag (low to medium quality trichomes)
-45 micron bag (medium quality trichomes)
-73 micron bag (high quality trichomes)
-90 micron bag (typically the best quality trichomes)
-120 micron bag (high quality trichomes)
-160 micron bag (low quality trichomes)
-190 micron bag (often debris being filtered out)
-220 micron bag (often debris being filtered out)
Inside your cleanup bags I recommend a roughly 45 minute to an hour presoak in your freezing water to not only saturate your product and loosen the leaf matter from itself but get it to the preferred temperature of about 2°C though sometimes I rush this process in the interest of time. At this point I agitate the flower in the freezing ice bath inside a cool room for roughly 15 minutes before I get tired. I usually do this twice to make up a “wash” before collecting, I usually try to “wash” at least 4 times sometimes more or less. I choose to use plastic paddles because the steel ones are expensive and it allows me greater control of the water compared to a drill or mixer, aggressive enough to do the job of knocking trichomes off but gentle enough as to not break flowers and add unnecessary particle contamination. Add ice as it melts to maintain temperature and proper slurry consistency. When filling your machine with water, be sure to use reverse osmosis purified water.
From there, your collection bags come into play as the trichome heads are then drained and strained through your bags preferably in a separate collection vessel. We rinse the wash vessel as it drains to encourage the movement of trapped particles. After the wash vessel has been drained you simply rinse the hash to the bottom of your respected collection bags before scooping out the final, separated product for drying.
I loosely follow pure pressures standard operating procedures as I use their equipment and I feel that works best for me but I'll repeat that everyone's techniques may differ slightly. I wholeheartedly believe it is vital that you use only the finest flower. You won't stand a very good chance of producing full melt with a low quality input, Remember that even some of the top strains don't do the job for generating good bubble hash as well. While these things are the truth I also believe that bubble hash is a great way to process something like trim and LARF buds into something more appealing and easier to work with.
While the Flower or input product matters greatly your water can severely impact the process as well. Nearly freezing cold purified or RO filtered water at a temperature of 2°C is ideal. The filtered water helps eliminate things like chlorine or residual minerals that can impact flavour or aromas of the hash. Ice is added to help with freezing and snapping the stalks and subsequently the heads of the trichomes off the flowers.
The two more common methods used to dry your bubble hash, air drying/cold room drying or freeze drying. The first method of air drying is probably best suited for small scale hobbyists but the other options are a little more suited for commercial production or large medical implications.
Air drying/ Cold room drying
Air drying includes spreading the hash thinly and widely spread, allowing water to evaporate via natural air exchange. A cool working environment and cold equipment are helpful.
Things you need for air drying include:
- A large piece of cardboard (pizza boxes work great!)
- Either a microplane or sieve/strainer. I recommend using a sieve
- Hash Drying Mats
- A freezer
- Wet ice water bubble hash
Right after collecting the hash from the micron bags, place the hash on the parchment paper, micron sheets, or slick pads and directly into the freezer. Also place the microplane or strainer into the freezer. Let the hash freeze for about 12 hours. At this point simply line the cardboard with parchment (cardboard allows minor airflow) and sieve or microplane your hash to achieve a sandy consistency. Increasing surface area for most even and efficient drying is the goal here and I may mention to keep everything as cold as possible during this process, working in a cold room helps with this greatly but is more suited for large scale processing.
Last but not least I really recommend investing in a quality freeze dryer, this piece of equipment may arguably be the most costly portion of this process but it really is a great asset in creating the highest quality of hash. Not to mention it really cuts days out of the drying process as well as cutting out any inconsistency. With this we can put our wet hash directly onto chilled parchment lined trays and into the dryer instead of having to freeze for 12 hours. Even more important is we better preserve the delicate structure of the trichomes by skipping the initial sieving process which better preserves flavour and colour. After it is dry people sometimes still sieve it but it's already airy and brittle so it falls right apart without much force. They really are wonderful things.
A Quick Note on Full Spectrum
All too often concentrates, shatter, oils, and hash are affectionately referred to as “full spectrum” this is more often than not sadly inaccurate. Full spectrum means that the product contains a plethora of different cannabinoids, terpenes and compounds to closely resemble the effectiveness of the whole flower and provide the “entourage effect” most daily consumers look for. This is a quality of higher grade product so it's obvious as to why things are marketed this way but again often unclear as to how they arrived at that conclusion and downright un truthful in our current industry. The truest asset and what gives hash its undeniable enjoyability is the fact that all proper bubble hash will be fairly full spectrum, contrary to other intentionally mono-cannabinoid/mono-terpene concentrates.
How Bubble Hash Is Rated
With the rapid expansion of the cannabis industry and its products, hash producers/licensed producers, medical growers/processors and of course our retail dispensaries in the supply chain developed a system for rating hashish. The one to six-star rating system helps establish a slightly more precise criteria for what it takes to reach the tops in dry sifting, kief, bubble hash / ice water extracts.
1 And 2 Star
Lower grade product standardly your 160μm and 25μm micron product. At the low end of the spectrum it's usually fairly contaminated with flower matter, potentially dust or other organic debris. This obviously impairs the melt factor giving way to the usual distinction of “food grade hash” if available in smokable form it will likely be quite affordable and not a drastic jump in potency from high grade flower.
3 And 4 Star
Known to some as “half melt hash” 3 and 4 star hash does just that, it only half melts. The presence of leftover broken plant matter inhibits the “full melt” effect. this usually just includes tiny particles of leaf material and anything that isn't full trichrome head or stalk. I love mid grade hash as it usually holds its shape which lends itself to being smoked along with flower in joints or bowls as a bit of added potency. Half melt hash could be dabbed provided you clean your rig diligently but truly it's better to press into rosin for the best results.
5 And 6 Star
With virtually only the trichome heads and stalks remaining, 5 and 6 star bubble hash should be free of just about any contaminants. Many claims of 5 and 6 star are actually 3 or 4 star, True, top tier bubble hash should leave you feeling the copious amount of cannabinoids with a robust, rich terpene profile to match. It also achieves high potency test results. Which can often garner the hefty price tag that has become associated with higher grade hash. The main differential factor between 5 star and actual 6 star hash is that 6 star hash should leave absolutely no residue on the banger or nail when vaporized. More akin to the aforementioned mono-cannabinoid concentrates like shatter for example hence the name "full melt". This high grade of hash is usually only collected from the 90μm and 73μm micron, but can certainly be found in your 120μm bags as well in particular cases.
Hope you all learned something and are getting excited to make some Hash! I'd encourage anyone, especially home growers to try their hand at this process. It can be hard work, but absolutely nothing beats some nice fresh bubble hash.It is greatly worth it and a truly rewarding experience. Starter equipment is not overly expensive but professional grade equipment certainly can be more of an investment, it all does the job you just gotta have some herb and get mixing!