With medical and recreational marijuana becoming a booming industry and states raking in millions of dollars a month in sales, it’s no surprise that companies are investigating more and more ways to deliver new cannabis products to their customers. So a few short years ago when consumers started seeing cannabis rosin on the market, their interests were peaked.
Rosin presented a way for cannabis consumers to have access to a solvent-free concentrate that didn’t utilize chemicals, heavy equipment, or time-consuming processes to extract the resin from the cannabis plant. Instead, all that was needed to extract rosin was two things: heat and pressure. If extracted correctly, rosin can rival the potency, yield, and flavor of other products that require solvent-based extraction.
Rosin’s popularity and history
Cannabis rosin (as opposed to rosin used for treating the bows of stringed instruments), is a solvent-free cannabis concentrate that requires high heat and pressure. These two mechanisms extract the resin oil from the cannabis and produce a high potency, yellow sap that takes only seconds to render. Rosin can be used in shatters, butter, and other textures and will allow consumers access to a concentrate that hasn’t been exposed to harsh chemicals.
While rosin was introduced to the market a few years ago, it’s been around for a long time. Initially, people would use hair straighteners to produce their rosin at home. These simple, DIY processes combined the required heat and pressure needed for rosin extraction but were time-consuming and manually driven.
Recent advancements in rosin extraction and production have meant that a considerable portion of the population now has access to a versatile concentrate with significantly fewer health risks. In 2015, rosin was already becoming a massive trend and has now ballooned into an industry large enough that rosin is being stocked at most legal marketplaces.
How is rosin made
As mentioned earlier, rosin requires heat and pressure for extraction. Temperature is critical when making rosin. Lower temperatures (in the 150°F- 220°F range) will produce a lower yield, but the end material is a more buttery consistent with more flavor/terpenes. Higher temperatures (220°F- 250°F range) will give a higher yield with a more sap-like consistency and fewer flavors/terpenes. For a cleaner, higher potency rosin, you’ll want to use the good quality flower.
Pressure is much harder to quantify since it depends heavily on the conditions of the material, humidity, quality of growth, and age of the material. However, we believe that the optimal range for pressing rosin is between 300 to 1000 psi.
How to choose a rosin press
Having your own rosin press at home will mean that you will be able to make incredible concentrates on your own without having to worry about using dangerous solvents. When you’re looking to purchase a rosin press, there are a few things you should look for to make sure that you get the highest, purest yield with the least hassle.
Don’t buy a homemade press
Save yourself the hassle of buying the mixed components required for a homemade press. Homemade presses require heat plates, a hydraulic shop press, and all the other components and accessories you’re going to need to build a DIY rosin press.
While it might seem like an attractive way to save money, building your own rosin press can often end up costing you more money in the long run since there are many small components you may not have factored into the price. Also, if you’ve built your own kit, you’ll have no one to turn to if something goes wrong with your press or if you’re not getting the yields you expected.
Also, a cheap shop press won’t last you long, and you’ll end up having to purchase more parts just to keep it working, which risks wasting valuable materials!
Look for long, narrow heat plates
Solventless rosin is being recognized as the champagne of rosins, which means the preservation of the terpenes is of the utmost importance to create the best rosin. Most rosin presses that you will see on the market have square plates. The issue with square plates is that they cause lower yield and burnt terpenes. This happens because the oil has further to travel and will end up sitting in the heat longer, which will cause the burning.
Long, narrow heat plates prevent this because they allow the rosin oil to get pressed out quickly, which will preserve the rich, terpene yield in the concentrate. This will give you the highest yield and terpene profile. This source will also help show you other tips and tricks to increase your yield.
You’ll also want to look for aluminum plates. While stainless steel is more durable, it actually has terrible heat distribution. You will notice most cheap presses use only stainless steel.
Pro tip: press with parchment paper, which will keep your rosin food-grade safe.
Buy from a quality producer
When it comes to buying a rosin press, you get what you pay for. For the same reasons that we don’t recommend building a homemade press, we also don’t recommend you buy a cheap rosin press in the hopes that it will save you a bit of money. Your rosin press should be an investment that will last you a long time, so don’t try to pinch a few pennies by buying a cheap, mass-produced rosin press that is often re-purposed T-shirt presses.
Pressing rosin is all about yield and quality, so cheaping out on your rosin press could mean that you will lose 10 to 20% of your yield–that’s a lot of extra dabs you’re going to miss out on by saving a few bucks!
Choose a pneumatic press
Hydraulic presses (which are most shop presses and what is used in homemade presses) are not the best option for rosin presses. Hydraulic presses are not only more likely to break, but they may also disperse minute amounts of machine oil into the air that could contaminate your rosin.
Pneumatic presses have oil-less cylinders, which will mean that they won’t risk contaminating the rosin and will extract it cleanly. Keep in mind though, a very cheap pneumatic press require oiling too, which may cause the same problems as hydraulic presses. So you want a high-quality pneumatic press for the best results.
Look for a fully automated press
Manual rosin presses are available, but they will take you much longer to use and to get your final yield. Your rosin press should be considered a lifetime investment, so be willing to spend a bit more money to invest in a fully automated press. A fully automated press will extract the rosin with the push of a single button. This will be faster, more efficient, and more consistent yield.
Look for a machine with a patented filling station that will make using the machine much more accessible. An automated machine can provide up to 40-pounds, and if your press can’t provide that yield a day, then you’ll know that this press won’t work for you.
As we mentioned before, heat is one of the most essential components of correctly pressing rosin. There are people on both sides of the fence when it comes to hot or cold pressing, but no matter what team you stand on, you’ll want to know precisely what consistency you’re going to get out of your rosin press. Applying heat to your flowers is necessary for making rosin, but you’ll want to look for a rosin press that has a clear temperature gauge so you can accurately tell what heat you’re pressing your rosin at. This is important depending on the material you’re using so that you don’t burn the rosin. Keep in mind, whether you like rosin of a honey consistency or a sap consistency, your rosin press will never need to go higher than 300°F. That’s well within the burning territory and nothing you need.
When it comes to making rosin, quality is king. There are many times people start pressing flowers only to find that they are getting average or subpar results. When this is further investigated, it’s almost always shown that average flower is being used. Using average flower is no problem, but if you want stellar results than you have to use top-shelf material.
When it comes to rosin, the quality of your flower will ultimately decide what kind of results you’re getting.
It’s also important to consider how fresh your flowers are. It should go without saying that stale, dried out flowers will not produce the finest rosin. The best quality rosin comes from flowers that are pressed shortly after they are dried and cured. Even the method of growth can make a difference in your rosin.
One thing that you will notice is that different strains will have noticeably different yields. Usually, indicas and hybrids will do better than sativas, as will very strong plants. However, when it comes down to it, the biggest determination for yield, quality, and the flavor is how fresh the material is and how well it was grown. No matter how good your rosin press is, it can’t help subpar material.