It’s safe, simple and clean: ice water extractions are some of the favorites not only in flavor, but in practicality too. Here, we’ll tell you the secrets and tips to perfect this process.
Ice, ice water hash, ice-o-lator or even bubble hash... all those different names mean the same thing: a delicious and fresh cannabis concentrate capable of holding all the plant’s greatness. It is made without the use of solvents, which makes both production process and consumption much safer.
Besides being one of the safest extractions, it is a true expression of the quality of the plant. Therefore, all the love for those who dedicate their time, love and heart to grow!
With the advancement of technology and the establishment of regulated markets, strategies for making this type of concentrate have developed. Here, we’ll try to address simpler tips and ways to improve your bubble hash processes. After all, a good hash starts with quality, but requires a few other complements to be a perfect six-star full melt.
Want to know more about this fascinating resin concentrate universe? We will tell you!
What’s ice water hash?
As we said above, ice water hash or bubble hash is the result of a process that separates trichomes from buds or trim using only ice, water and filter bags. This type of process is known as one of the most effective ways to preserve terpenes and to extract hash with a sensational flavor. Remember that trichomes and cannabinoids are not soluble in water, so they are not damaged by the right amount of agitation - don’t go in too hard, but also don't worry about being a little rough with the plant!
The idea of using filter bags with different microns is to be able to separate different sizes of trichome heads and also to separate this resin from the rest of the plant matter. The combination of cold water, ice and agitation make the head of these trichomes (filled with oil) freeze and detach more easily from the plant.
There are different ways to carry out this procedure, either with machines (such as Bubble Magic) or even by hand, with a spoon and a bucket. If you do not have a specific machine, the best option is to use what you have available.
Are you a little confused by so many variations in such a process? Not a problem. It is important to say that making an extraction is an art - and each hash maker will have their own recipe and make it their own favorite way. Cycle time, type of strains, ways of agitating, drying, it all can vary a lot, but there are a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid, and that’s gonna be our focus today!
You’ll need a really cold room!
When you start the stirring process, low temperatures are essential for your trichomes to be separated intact from the rest of the plant material.
The colder the environment, material and equipment, the more stable the trichome is. The higher the temperature, the greater the chance that the trichome membrane will break, the oil will come out of the trichome's head and stick to everything. This makes the process difficult due to handling and also wastes material - and then the yield decreases!
The colder the air, the thinner the air and the lesser the oxidation - for this reason, hashishes made with fresh frozen using this technique can be very light. When our goal is to consume fresh hash, we need to think about slowing down oxidation as much as possible.
Use your creativity to try to keep everything as cold as possible. You can leave all the objects you will use to handle the hash in the freezer before starting the process.
Wait for a freezing cold day or improvise a cold room. You can use a tool called Cool Bot. It ensures that the air conditioner does not turn off when it reaches its limit temperature. The ideal is to keep the room temperature between 35 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can use dry ice in a larger bucket by placing the bucket you will be using for separation inside it. Thermal insulating materials can also be a good idea to keep your water cold and slow down your ice from melting.
Filter bags and their concept
The different microns in the screens that filter this hash are what makes it possible to separate the different sizes of trichome heads - and also your full-melts from your not-so-full-melts.
The system filters the plant matter in the largest microns, usually takes the best and rypest trichomes to the middle bags, and leaves the immature trichome heads and other impurities in the lower bags with the smallest microns.
Usually, they’re separated by color - the highest microns are at the top and the lowest at the bottom. You can read more about them here! Also, you can choose to not use the complete kit when your goal is to make rosin, but it’s still necessary to use the cleaning bags so you won’t have as many contaminants in your samples.
Dry material or fresh frozen?
Before washing, you also need to choose what kind of materials you want to use. Both dry plants and fresh frozen can become beautiful hash, but they have some specifics you’ll need to acknowledge!
- Dry and cured buds/trim: using dry plant matter, it is possible to take advantage of what is left over from your harvest period, like the trim or smaller buds. But, if you want true quality, the cured flowers are a great way to go! This is the kind of material chosen most of the time to make bubble hash in its most traditional way. If your temperature is higher, it can be tricky to handle this material - the trichomes can explode and the resin is gonna stick to everything (especially the bags), so watch out.
- Fresh Frozen: this is a way to work with the plant still alive and with the freshest trichomes.The plant is harvested, the excess leaves are removed and it is frozen immediately after this process. To wash, you’ll just need to take it out of the freezer right before you wash. Since the trichomes will be frozen, it’s gonna be easier to remove them while preserving all its properties! Dealing with this material is more challenging in hot places - hence the need for a good cold room.
It’s always essential to remember that one of the main things about bubble hash is: quality in, quality out. Choosing between dry material or fresh frozen can impact your processes, but, whichever you end up choosing, just make sure it’s great quality. Bad, underdeveloped, immature or overall damaged flowers won’t bring the fabulousness you want for your ice water extraction. Ice water extractions in general can have large variance in yield as well, some well grown strains do not produce the types of trichomes needed for this extraction to work well and despite being grown well can still yield poor results.
The best water to do it: RO
Tap, filtered, distilled… We have a lot of options to choose when it comes to the water we’re using. But, in our opinion, the best one to use when making ice water hash is Reverse Osmosis (RO) water. RO is an ultra-filtered water, purified through a process that gets rid of all contaminants, solid substances, large molecules and minerals by using pressure. It's much cleaner than even regular filtered water!
To get it easily, basic RO filtration systems can be installed for under $500. Aside from providing clean water, RO systems are a great addition to your solventless extraction set up - and can be a really good investment if you plan on doing that on a regular basis. You can also use the RO water to make clean ice.
The process can vary and you can learn a lot of different ways to get the same beautiful results, but we believe that those tips can actually help you achieve your prime ice water hashes! Remember to choose your best materials and equipment for this process, and we’re sure you’ll do an excellent job.
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