What is a Pollen Press & How to Use ItHigh Glower
Did you know you can make hash (a heated and compressed kief) with just a simple pollen press? The process is simple and fast and can be done in less than a day. In addition, you can use the pollen press for other reasons like brandings and marking the hash with your brand’s logo.
The pollen presses were also invented to use the trichomes in the marijuana plant that often go unused and wasted. You can use the term pollen or kief to refer to trichomes that have been removed from the marijuana plant through manual or mechanical means. The pollen press is aptly named to signify the type of product it is meant to press.
The presses are often made out of stainless steel or aluminum, depending on the design and the manufacturer’s preference. There is a huge variety of them in the market, but they all function under the same basic principles. These pollen presses range from heavy-duty ones to smaller light-duty ones, but they usually have a size between 4 inches and 9 inches.
Today, we will take a look at what the pollen press is and what it is usually used for. We will also dive into the various benefits of using a pollen press, depending on the application. The last part will give you an overview of how to operate a standard pollen press with a few tips and tricks on how to make the best out of it.
What is a pollen press?
A pollen press is described as a device used to compress the marijuana plant material into tightly packed pellets, coins, or disks. The pollen presses are typically 100% hand-operated, but you may find some that are hydronic-driven. The device is used to make a variety of products, but the main ones are two; hash transformed into disks (coins) and ground loose-leaf marijuana that is transformed into pellets.
Weed enthusiasts use pollen presses for making commercial products to sell at dispensaries or for personal use. The pressed hash is beneficial since it provides a smoother and more sustainable burn than regular marijuana powder. Furthermore, hash has a pure taste due to its refined nature. However, most smokers will often use the presses to store their kief to avoid a messy setup or unnecessary waste.
You may be asking, what is kief?
Well, kief is the left-over weed particles that are stored at the bottom of your high-quality grinder. You will not find budget grinders with a compartment for kief since they are only found in four-piece or three-chamber grinders. However, as you grind your weed, the small particles are collected at the bottom of the grinder and will eventually fill the compartment over time.
The kief has a high concentration of THC, which makes it an excellent material for making concentrates such as hash and shatter. The kief is a product of manually or mechanically grinding the trichomes of the cannabis plant. The trichomes are hair-like structures on the marijuana plant that is white-yellow.
Trichomes are clear and translucent when they are not ready for harvesting and will start developing half clear colour as they become ripe. The heads of the trichomes are where THC and other cannabinoids are produced, making trichomes the heart of the weed plant.
Uses of the pollen press
The major purpose of the pollen presses is to help you utilize all the various parts of the cannabis plant. This helps in reducing waste but also reduces the cost of buying weed and growing it. In addition, the presses are beneficial for sellers and users who want to collect, store, and use trichomes or kief.
The kief, in particular, is hard to handle and even harder to store. This is attributed to its texture that can spill around easily and collect a lot of air and moisture to accelerate its deterioration. By compressing the kief, the pollen press can change the material’s physical consistency and alter its chemical composition.
The result of the pressing process is a tightly packed disk or coin of kief that can be heated in the sun to make hash. Hash, which comes from the Arabic word “hashish,” has been used for millennia to provide users with a highly potent form of marijuana. As a result, you can expect high levels of THC, the active chemical that affects the nervous system, ranging from 20 percent to approximately 60 percent.
The pollen presses are only useful if you have a lot of kief in your four-piece or three-piece grinder. Do not waste your time buying a lot of weed to grind, with the hopes of getting kief overnight. It takes a long period to have enough kief that can then be pressed. Patience is key. Let the kief accumulate over time, and then you can proceed to use the kief to make hash with it.
Pollen presses are typically in cylindrical forms, which means that the pressed material will come out in disks, pucks, or pellets. The pressed hash materials are often called coins because of their shapes.
Compressed kief is very beneficial since it burns for much longer and adds a rich earthy flavour that can’t be found in conventional forms of marijuana. And when stored properly, in a cool dark place, you can expect the preserve the compressed crystal pellets for up to two years.
Advantages of using a pollen press
- You will get a smoother and compact marijuana form once you compress the kief into hash pellets, cakes, or coins. Compressed kief material will not get spilled over easily or become hard to handle.
- You can use a brand pollen press to put your company’s logo or symbol on the hash coins and pellets. This is beneficial for marketing and general brand awareness when you sell it to your customers.
- The packaging, storage, and shipment process are made easier when you can have a huge amount of compressed kief in a small space. The pollen presses apply a considerable amount of pressure to force a huge amount of kief or trichomes into a tiny space. This saves on the cost of packaging and also allows you to ship a huge portion of the product in small shipments.
- Compressing kief into hash products lengthens the shelf life of the marijuana. Regular forms of weed like kief are prevalent in accumulating air which will oxidize the drug thereby shortening its lifespan. There is a protective layer that is formed once the kief or trichome is compressed. The layer limits the amount of air that can affect the material thus extending its lifespan. Note that you will still have to store the hash in a cool dark and dry location that is devoid of sunlight.
- You can make hashish products by mixing the hash with other ingredients. The result of this is usually products like edibles. The pollen press can provide a well-blended hashish product by correctly portioning the mixture in the press using force.
Types of pollen presses
As stated earlier, you can find pollen presses that are hand-driven or use a hydraulic system. It is advisable for the hand-driven pollen presses to only use your hand instead of tools to tighten the presses. Tools such as wrenches and grip bars will apply excessive force to break the device components and lock the press eventually.
One of the most common pollen press designs is the T style handgrip design. The T-style handgrip is found in pollen presses like the T-Bar pollen press, which uses a T-shaped handgrip to apply pressure.
The T-bar pollen press is operated by twisting the T-shaped handgrip in the clockwise direction to compress the kief and remove all air from it. The pressure is applied in one direction, and it works by pushing down a metallic column into the kief, thereby compressing it.
Other pollen presses utilize a two-direction pressure system to compress the plant matter. A good example of this is the flat cap pollen press with two lids on each end, two shafts, and an enclosure column. The press is operated by loading the kief into the column and using both the shafts and two lid caps to compress the material. Then, by twisting the two lids, you apply pressure from two directions to force the plant material together.
The is no shortage of other modified presses that use any of the two principles. All in all, you want to look for a pollen press that is easy to use, has enough trust from its customers, and comes with a solid, long-lasting contraction. Stainless steel pollen presses are more durable than aluminum presses but will also cost much more. However, the cost might not be an issue for most buyers since the pollen presses usually range from $15 to $30.
Step-by-step guide on how to use a pollen press
The number one source for good instructions on how to use a pollen press is the user manual. This is largely applicable to hydraulic pollen presses since hand-driven presses are relatively simple to use. Of course, the steps will defer with what type of pollen press you have. However, the underlying principles are the same, and if you know how to apply the force, you will be able to compress kief in no time.
The important thing when it comes to operating a pollen press is the force. Make sure to check the instructions that come with the packaging to avoid breaking the device. The manual will also tell you how to apply the force and in which direction. Remember not to use any tools and keep the force to the bare minimum unless there are still air pockets in the kief.
- Open the kief compartment in your three-piece or four-piece grinder to remove all the stored kief. You can also use trichomes from a grower if you do not have them yourself.
- Take the pollen press and open the device to reveal the loading chamber. Pour all the kief into the chamber carefully to avoid spilling the kief or getting the kief blown away by the wind. You can pour the kief into a funnel-shaped parchment paper to help you load the plant material into the open end of the pollen press.
- Use the lid (s) to screw the open end (s) shut.
- Proceed to twist the ends (s) to apply pressure onto the kief. Do this gently and slowly by taking into account the amount of resistance you get after each twist. Compress the material till you feel like there is no more room left and most air pockets are filled.
- Leave the marijuana plant material in the pollen press for about 8 hours. You may decide to leave it for a whole day depending on the consistency you desire. Make sure to tighten the lid (s) every hour to fill the air pockets that pop up after each compression.
- Unscrew the lid (s) after 8 hours and observe the solid disk of compressed kief.
You can choose to take the pollen press outside in the sun during the 8 hours of compression. The heat plus compression will create a highly potent hashish that can be smoked or infused into edibles. Enjoy.