Frosty dry herb gets its sparkly appearance from tiny crystallized droplets called trichomes, which are filled with delicious cannabinoids and terpenes. When these crystals fall off the bud, they can be collected into a powdery kief.
Here, we’ll show you everything about kief, why it’s so valued, and the best ways to use it.
Let’s get started!
What is Kief?
Kief (often misspelled as “keef”) is the result of trichomes shedding from cannabis buds when they're broken apart or ground up, often accumulating in the bottom chamber of a grinder. Alternatively, it can be collected by rubbing buds against a mesh screen, forcing the kief through it, though this method is less common.
Kief goes by various names, including pollen and dry sift. Highly coveted among cannabis enthusiasts, kief is a natural, solvent-free cannabis concentrate that naturally collects in most grinders.
How to Make Kief
Kief is a natural, concentrated form of cannabis and can be easily collected using a grinder. Here’s how:
Step 1: Add Dry Herb to Your Grinder
Start by picking apart chunks of your dry herb and placing them into the top compartment of your grinder. Be sure the herb is sufficiently dry, as moisture can hinder the separation of trichomes.
Step 2: Get Grinding
Grind the dry herb as you normally would, rotating clockwise and counterclockwise. Ensure that the grinder's teeth effectively break apart the buds, releasing valuable cannabis crystals containing cannabinoids and terpenes.
Step 3: Give it a Tap
After grinding, tap the grinder gently on a hard surface. This helps to dislodge any stubborn kief that may still be clinging to the grinder interior onto the mesh screen to unclog it and get a more significant amount of kief.
Step 4: Collect the Kief
Open the bottom chamber of your grinder, where you'll find a fine mesh screen above the kief collection chamber. The kief, separated from the plant material during grinding, falls through the screen into the lower section, which acts like a kief catcher.
Use the provided kief rake or a small brush to gather and collect the precious kief once you’ve collected enough.
Kief Making Tips
Here are a few tips to try when collecting kief:
- Use a Small Coin: Place a small, clean coin (like a nickel or dime) on top of the screen in the second chamber of your grinder, where the ground-up flower is stored. This coin helps agitate the grinder during use, encouraging more kief to pass through the screen.
- Utilize the Kief Rake: Most grinders come with a plastic kief rake. Use it to gently scrape and collect kief from the bottom chamber. It's designed for efficient kief retrieval.
- Regular Cleaning: Clean your grinder regularly to maximize kief collection. Sticky kief can accumulate on the grinder's teeth, in its grooves, and along its walls. A clean grinder ensures that more kief makes its way into the collection chamber.
Other Methods of Making Kief
Are you looking for more ways to get kief? Here are some less popular but still effective techniques:
Dry sifters use screens or mesh to separate trichomes from the plant material. Start with cannabis material rich in trichomes. You can use small leaves, buds, or trimmings.
Gently shake or agitate the material over a fine mesh screen. The trichomes fall through the mesh while the plant material remains on top. Different screens with varying mesh sizes can be used to collect different grades of kief.
After collecting the sifted trichomes, press them together to form solid kief or hash. You can use a hash press or manually apply pressure.
Ice Water Method (Bubble Hash)
The ice water method, often called bubble hash, is a modern and efficient way to make kief with water and ice.
Start by freezing trichome-rich cannabis material to make the trichomes brittle and easier to separate.
Then, place the frozen material in a container filled with ice-cold water. Stir and agitate the mixture vigorously for a while, then pour the mixture through a series of fine mesh bubble bags with different pore sizes.
These bags trap the trichomes, allowing water and plant material to pass through.
Finally, remove the collected trichomes from the bubble bags and let them dry.
Benefits and Uses of Kief
Kief boasts several benefits and versatile uses in the world of cannabis:
- Potency: Kief's primary advantage lies in its potency, containing significantly higher cannabinoid content than cannabis plant matter.
- Enhanced Smoking: Smoking kief is easy if you already have herbs. You can sprinkle kief on top of a bowl in a bong (called “crowning a bowl”) or add it to a joint for an extra punch, elevating your smoking experience.
- Hash Production: Kief can be heated and compressed into hash or hashish, offering a concentrated, smokeable cannabis product.
- Edibles: Its powdery texture and high potency make kief an excellent choice for cooking edibles after decarboxylation, especially when infusing cannabutter or oils for brownies and gummies.
- Moon rocks: You can use kief to elevate nugs into moon rocks by dipping cannabis flowers in hash oil and covering them with kief to pack a bigger punch.
- Dabbing and Vaping: High-quality kief with minimal plant material is suitable for dabbing in a dab rig or vaping in a vaporizer, giving you a potent and flavorful cannabis concentrate.
Homemade vs. Store-Bought Kief
Kief can be obtained either through DIY collection in a grinder or purchased from a dispensary. Homemade kief often comprises a blend of the strains you’ve been using, while store-bought kief may be strain-specific.
Store-bought kief is often purer, as dispensaries employ sophisticated methods for extraction and collection, resulting in high-quality pure kief. However, homemade kief is easy to customize and often inexpensive, especially if you use the kief that naturally accumulates at the bottom of your grinder.