The Rosin Press and Other Extraction Methods
A rosin press is one of the best ways of maximizing the yield of your herbal extracts. It is also one of the safest and most environmentally friendly ways of extraction, not requiring solvents or other nasty chemicals.
What is Rosin?
Rosin itself is a solid resin extracted from pines and other plants and has been around for thousands of years; in fact, the name in Latin, “colophony”, derives from the ancient Ionic city of Colophon. So, it is an ancient technique that has been applied to everybody’s favorite herbs in more recent times.
When it comes to the medicinal herbs we are talking about, rosin means all the delicious terpenes and cannabinoids extracted together into a sticky resin that hardens at lower temperatures.
How did it All Begin?
Nobody knows where using rosin technology started, but it has been around since at least 2005, so people have gotten quite good at it and refined the techniques and equipment to be as efficient as possible.
Why Use Rosin?
Alternative ways of getting herb extract can be pretty nasty. Using butane to get what you want out of the herbs is dangerous. Butane is explosive. If it is handled improperly, it can set you on fire or send hot shards of glass and boiling oil at your nice soft body. Best avoided then.
A “closed loop” extraction system can cost hundreds of dollars and can be really fiddly. Getting all the oil out of it while dealing with the still solvated butane is a technique best left to lab-trained guys in white overalls.
Alcohol is hardly any better. Not only does it stink, give you headaches and leave bad tastes if you do not extract it properly, it can be very difficult to get it right without setting yourself on fire.
So, we are left with rosin. It requires a flat heat source , parchment paper (no toxic plastics here) and either flowers or hash. It can take just a few minutes and gets amazingly tasty resin/dab out of the end.
How to Make Rosin
To make rosin, you will need a Rosin Press, a few sheets of high quality, chlorine free parchment paper and your cured flowers. You can use trim, shake, flowers, dry sift or keif, bubble or hash. Each will get a different yield, depending on the amount of oils left in them. Proper hashish will get the most rosin and trim the least, so bear this in mind if you are expecting mega-yields from your trim jar.
Each different form of cannabinoids will give a different flavor, tastes and smokes, a little experimentation should tell you what will make the best rosin. Sometimes, the best bud doesn’t make the best rosin (though it usually does), so try a small batch before going all-out.
Just like vaporizing hash or bud, temperature is vital.
Low Temperature (70°C - 105°C)– yields tastier, more stable, buttery rosin.
High Temperature (105°C – 120°C)– higher yield but less stable and less flavorsome.
With temperatures, it is vital not to go anywhere above 150°C as this will activate the cannabinoids early and make your rosin less potent. Save the heating for the vape you stick it in to enjoy.
Timing is key, it can make all the difference to your yields. Too long and it will heat up the extracts too much and result in rubbish rosin, too fast and you will not get a good yield at all.
Generally, do not heat for more than 90 seconds at any temperature. Flowers take much less time, from 15 to 50/60 seconds to get a good yield. It depends on the freshness of the herb and the strain, so again, try a little in different conditions before trying to rosin press everything.
Sift or bubble can take up to 90 seconds heating to get maximum yield, depending on their quality. Experiment a little, it is a simple process and you will probably not explode or set yourself on fire.
This can be tricky and it is basically impossible to tell you how hard to press if you are not using a rosin tech press, just a pair of hair straighteners. With a pair of hair straighteners and your hands, you have to press quite hard. Try a little before amount before you press a whole batch, you will get the feel for it.
If you have a dedicated rosin press machine, it will have settings on it that will give you all the options you need. The best rosin press just requires you to put your herbs in the bag, stick them into the rosin heat press and press the button.
What to do with your Rosin
When you have pressed your rosin out of the hash/shake/whatever, it will have accumulated on the parchment paper. It should just peel off, you can scrape the residues up easily and get a delightful ball of tasty, concentrated, solvent and plastic-free rosin.
Rosin is quite stable but does not respond well to high temperatures. Like on the back of a package, store in a cool, dry place, preferably in a sealed container. It will last for a few weeks at maximum potency, then tail off. Best to prepare it fresh and consume within a few days.
While rosin preparation is easier and safer than butane or alcohol methods, it is important to stress that high temperatures and pressures are dangerous.