Maximizing Yield and Quality: How to Make Bubble Hash at Scale
As one of the purest, most popular cannabis extracts, bubble hash can be a huge asset for commercial cannabis operations interested in diversifying their product line for continued success in the ever-expanding industry. This solvent-free extract is created from cannabis trichomes and gets its name for the way it bubbles when exposed to a flame or heat. It typically contains THC levels that average around 60%.
Bubble hash is one of the most popular concentrates, especially amongst health-conscious cannabis consumers because it’s made without the use of any solvents. Unlike other concentrates created with solvents like butane, propane, and CO2, bubble hash is extracted using only ice and cold water.
Whereas traditional hash is created by rubbing dried plant matter over a fine mesh screen, bubble hash is created using an ice water extraction method that involves freezing cannabis flower, soaking the frozen flower in ice water, agitating the cannabis/ice water mixture, and filtering the flower through fine micron screens known as bubble bags.
Knowing how to make bubble hash is key for commercial cannabis operations interested in diversifying their product line, increasing profit margins, competing with other cannabis brands, or meeting the demands of their customers. Making bubble hash is a relatively easy process with only a few requirements: high-quality cannabis, ice, water, and filter bags.
Here, we’ll explore everything you need to know about making bubble hash, including the best cultivars for bubble hash, essential equipment, how to prepare your cannabis flower, the best practices for making bubble hash, and more.
How to Make Bubble Hash
Choosing the Right Strain
When learning how to make bubble hash, understanding how important it is to choose the right cultivar is key. Keeping in mind that bubble hash is created from cannabis trichomes, the best strains for making high-quality bubble hash are those that are the stickiest and most resinous. Contained inside these trichomes are all of the compounds found in cannabis, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, that give each strain its unique profile.
Certain cannabis trichomes are better suited for making ice water hash than others, and while bubble hash can be created with any strain, the best strains are those that produce numerous capitate-stalked trichomes. These are trichomes that are visible to the naked eye, with a long stalk and bulbous head that resembles a mushroom.
The best strains for making bubble hash have trichomes with glandular heads that are easily released during the washing process. Some strains contain a considerably strong connection between the head and stalk of the trichome, making it harder to release, while in others, the connection is too weak, and too much oil is released from the trichome head during production.
Cultivars that contain plenty of trichomes and have a strong aroma and flavor profile are the best for producing bubble hash. Avoid strains that don’t have a strong terpene profile.
These are some of the best strains for producing high-quality bubble hash:
- Gorilla Glue and GG varieties and crosses
- OG Kush
- White Widow
- Cookies and Cookies varieties and crosses
- NYC Diesel
Essential Equipment for Making Bubble Hash
To produce the highest-quality bubble hash on a commercial scale, utilizing the right equipment is essential. The first step is to ensure you know when and how to harvest plants for maximum trichome retention. Once the flower is harvested at its peak, you can begin the process of bubble hash extraction.
Essential equipment for making bubble hash includes:
- Large bucket
- Silk-screen filter bags (typically referred to as bubble bags)
- Cannabis plant material
Additional Equipment that can help create the best environment for producing bubble hash includes:
- Ice machine
- Reverse osmosis water system
- Freezer to hold fresh frozen cannabis flower
- Bubble hash washing machine
When making bubble hash, cleanliness is extremely important and should be thoroughly attended to. Any dust, dirt, or foreign particles can easily become part of the final product if the equipment isn’t routinely cleaned and cared for. While cleaning can be one of the more challenging parts of harvesting cannabis and producing concentrates, keeping your workspace tidy and ensuring each piece of equipment is regularly maintained can help warrant a high-quality end product free from potential contaminants.
How to Prepare Cannabis to Make Bubble Hash
Correctly preparing cannabis prior to making bubble hash is key for success in this category. While bubble hash can be made from freshly harvested and cured cannabis, it’s also commonly produced from fresh frozen flower. Some hash producers contend that fresh frozen flower contains higher terpene content and can produce larger yields.
It’s important to create an optimal environment when making bubble hash. While it requires proper planning, the effort put into designing the extraction space will make the entire process more efficient, and will ultimately lead to the most potent and profitable end products. With the right equipment and workflow design, you can create an ideal environment for producing high-quality bubble hash.
Since bubble hash is a concentrate created using ice water, a cold room is the best environment when considering your processing production for making bubble hash. An air-conditioned space will offer the best conditions for bubble hash extraction. Cold temperatures will help best preserve the delicate trichome heads. The colder the room and equipment used to handle the starting material and final product, the better.
When setting up extraction equipment in the room, you’ll want to keep the workflow in mind and set up the equipment accordingly. You should be able to move around the room freely, with equipment organized in a way that allows workers to streamline the entire process. For example, fresh flower can be frozen before washing and starting the extraction process, so consider configuring your processing space accordingly to follow the steps of production. This will ensure an ideal work environment.
Making Bubble Hash
Making bubble hash is one of the easiest methods of creating a cannabis concentrate. When created in the right environment with the right strains, bubble hash can offer a profitable return for commercial operations.
Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make bubble hash:
01 Mix Cannabis, Ice, and Water
The first step of making bubble hash involves mixing the cannabis, ice, and cold water in your wash bucket that is layered with your bubble bags (starting with the smallest filter size on the bottom, working your way up to the largest size). Add ice-cold water to your wash bucket until it’s a little more than ⅓ full. Next, add a layer of flower, then a layer of ice. Repeat this layering process until you reach the top of the bucket.
02 Agitate the Cannabis and Ice Water Mixture
Once your bucket is full of the cannabis, ice, and water mixture, let it soak for 30–40 minutes, which prepares for a clean separation of the trichome heads from the plant material. After the mixture has soaked, gently stir it for 5–10 minutes.
03 Filter the Mixture Through Your Screens
After agitating your mixture, repeat the process with each layer of screens. Strain the mixture from each bag one at a time, turning each bag inside out to collect the resin and gently press the moisture out of the bag. This filtering process should be done for each layer in the wash tub.
04 Collect and Allow Bubble Hash to Dry
Once you’ve filtered the mixture through all screens, it’s time to collect your bubble hash and allow it to dry. Freeze-drying bubble hash is recommended, but it can also be air-dried.
If air drying, drain the water and place the bubble hash on the smallest micron screen bag, then press out any remaining water and freeze in a regular freezer. Once frozen, break the hash over parchment paper. Creating as thin of a layer of bubble hash as possible will aid in the most effective drying. It should then be placed in a cold room (40–50°F) for approximately 5–7 days.
If freeze drying, once bubble hash is frozen, it should be placed on trays for approximately 4–6 hours and then dried in a cold room for around 16–20 hours.
Tips and Tricks for Making the Perfect Bubble Hash
While making bubble hash is a relatively simple process, there are a few things to keep in mind that can help you make the perfect batch. We’ve created a general guideline of what to consider when making the highest-quality bubble hash.
One of the biggest things to remember is the importance of temperature control with any cannabis product and process. While ice water is used to make bubble hash, you’ll find the highest quality bubble hash is created when the entire process is completed as cold as possible.
An air-conditioned room will offer the best conditions for creating quality bubble hash. Temperatures in the washroom can be set as low as 30–40°F, which can positively contribute to the quality of the final product. If you can make your bubble hash in a large, walk-in storage freezer (like those common in restaurants), that’s an even better option.
You might also consider insulating the bubble hash bucket or washer to ensure temperatures stay as cold as possible throughout the entire process.
Properly agitating bubble hash is key. When washing cannabis by hand, the mixture should first be gently stirred in the top bag for around 5–15 minutes. This first step in agitation will remove a considerable amount of trichomes, which will allow them to begin the filtration process through subsequent bags. It’s extremely important to keep in mind that stirring with too much force can break off trichomes, which will decrease the quality of the final product. Be gentle and start slow, as you can increase agitation as you go if necessary.
After the top bag is removed, the agitation process should be repeated in the same way until you’ve gone through all bags and the bubble hash is ready to be collected from the bucket or wash tub. Properly agitating the mixture in each bag is critical for producing the highest quality end product.
Know When to Stop Agitating
Over-agitating your mixture is possible, and knowing when to stop agitating is key. The perfect window for agitating the cannabis and ice water mixture will be between 5–15 minutes. If the mixture is agitated longer, you risk removing too much of the plant material which can contaminate the bubble hash. You can always go back and repeat the agitation process, but too much agitation from the start can decrease the quality of the final product.
Use the Correct Micron-Size Bubble Bags
Bubble wash bags are the most fundamental piece of equipment in making bubble hash. Bubble bags come in different micron sizes, and the different microns on the screens separate different sizes of trichomes with as little plant matter contamination as possible. When making bubble hash, the wash tub should be lined with various micron sizes for each step in the agitation process.
Smaller micron-sized bags only allow smaller particles to pass through the bag, while larger microns allow larger particles to pass through. The best quality hash is collected by multiple filters, and bubble bag wash kits are commonly sold in 4-bag or 8-bag options. Bags are stacked inside of each other, with the smallest micron size on the bottom.
If you’re washing a cultivar for the first time, using an 8-bag kit is recommended. Doing so allows you to determine the best micron size for filtering that particular cultivar.
Micron bag sizes typically range between 25-220, whether sold in a 4-bag or 8-bag kit. A 220-micron bag contains the larger filter and also holds the ice and plant material. A 160-micron bag helps remove any contaminants remaining from the 220 bag and creates a low-grade hash (1-2 stars). The 120-micron bags will produce a decent bubble hash (3-4 stars), however, the 90, 73, and 45-micron bags are widely considered superior for producing the highest quality bubble hash (5-6 stars). The 73-micron bag is widely referred to as the “full melt bag,” as this is the size typically used for creating full melt bubble hash.
Last Thoughts on How to Make Bubble Hash
When made correctly with the right strains of high-quality cannabis, bubble hash is one of the most flavorful and potent cannabis extracts available. It’s made a huge comeback with cannabis connoisseurs that demand pure, potent products. Composed entirely of cannabis trichomes, and extracted using just ice water, bubble hash is typically higher in THC, although not as strong as other popular concentrates extracted using solvents like butane, ethanol, or CO2. As a solventless concentrate, bubble hash is considered one of the purest cannabis products available. Learn how Mobius can help meet your cannabis business needs with the most innovative solutions in the industry. Whether diversifying your product line by creating new products like bubble hash or streamlining the production process, investing in the best processing equipment will help meet consumer demands and overcome production challenges.