🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur
Heat is one of the key ingredients that makes pressing rosin possible. While pressure is needed to amplify the flow of rosin between heated rosin plates, it’s the heat generated between your rosin plates that allow cannabis trichomes to liquefy in a way that we can isolate them for collection. An understanding of ideal temperature ranges, and the ability to control the temperature within those ranges during extraction, are must-haves in the extractor’s toolkit.
The right amount of heat needed to press quality rosin depends largely on the type of source material being pressed. By experimenting within broad temperature ranges we get a sense of how our source material performs under certain specific temperatures.
The amount of heat used during extraction impacts the final quality of rosin in several ways. We need heat to transform the state of the cannabis trichomes from a solid to a liquid, but too much or too little can have negative effects.
Temperature Guidelines for Rosin
The following are our temperature guidelines for rosin, measured in degrees Fahrenheit:
Flower: 180-220 Fahrenheit
Bubble Hash: 140-200 Fahrenheit
Dry Sift: 140-200 Fahrenheit
With bubble hash, we’ve already separated the trichome heads from the rest of the plant material, so less heat is needed to create rosin. The same is true with dry sift. Pressing cannabis flower requires more heat, in order to allow the trichome heads to separate and flow out of the source material.
For example, if you’re aiming for a buddery texture when pressing flower rosin, aim to use cooler temperatures within the flower rosin pressing ranges.
Digital thermometers are great for measuring the temperatures during extraction with accuracy. Use a digital thermometer to get a true reading of your temperatures at the rosin plates by placing a piece of tape on the plates where you aim the laser. Point the laser from the digital thermometer onto the tape, which helps to minimize diffusion from the shiny aluminum of the rosin plates and provides a more accurate reading with the digital thermometer.
Experimenting with Temperatures for Rosin Extraction
Solventless extraction relies on the interplay of heat and pressure, and both inputs work together rather than independently of each other. Therefore, consider adjusting only one variable at a time, to get a clearer sense of how that single variable is impacting extraction. Sometimes, greater levels of heat allow you to use lesser amounts of pressure, and visa versa.
Many outcomes in solventless extraction are the result of the source material’s genetics, so experimenting with the different inputs as you press different strains of cannabis is key. Some strains will need either higher or lower temperatures to produce rosin that has the qualities most important to you.
For example, certain terpenes have a lower boiling point than others, and will evaporate from the rosin at temperatures at the lower end of the spectrum. The specific terpene profile of the cannabis cultivars you’re pressing will be impacted differently by temperature. So if you’re optimizing for rosin’s taste, as opposed to total yield, try to use cooler temperatures during extraction.
Taking notes is always a great practice in rosin extraction, and can lead you to many insights when working with different cultivars and types of starting material. Don’t try to keep everything in your head! As you’re learning which temperatures work best for your source material, taking notes is an invaluable practice.
Hot Pressing vs Cold Pressing
Discussions about temperature generally divide rosin enthusiasts into two camps: Hot Pressing and Cold Pressing. There are advantages to both approaches, and both sides offer compelling arguments for their preferred temperature.
Within normal ranges of pressing, cold pressing refers to pressing with temperatures on the lower side, while hot pressing is pressing with temperatures at the higher, hotter end of the spectrum.
Here is a breakdown of Hot Pressing and Cold Pressing temperatures for the three types of cannabis source material, in Fahrenheit:
Cold Pressing: 180-200
Hot Pressing: 200-220
Cold Pressing: 140-170
Hot Pressing: 170-200
Cold Pressing: 140-170
Hot Pressing: 170-200
Ways That Temperature Impacts Rosin
The amount of heat used during extraction impacts the consistency, color, terpene content, and flavor of rosin. Cold Pressing and Hot Pressing affects those qualities in different ways.
Hot Pressing: High temperatures are more likely to produce a shatter, or taffy effect in consistency. Low temperature plus high pressure can be used to make THC-A diamonds.
Cold Pressing: Lower temperatures used during extraction tend to produce more of a buddery texture.
Consistency can be adjusted after extraction through the curing process as well, using a warm cure or a cold cure.
Hot Press: Higher temperatures are known to produce darker rosin
Cold Press: Lower temperatures are more conducive to lighter color
Hot Press: Higher temps are more likely to cause terpene loss during extraction.
Cold Press: Terpenes are relatively volatile and therefore lower temperatures optimize for terpene preservation
Hot Press: High temps cause greater terpene loss, which has a negative effect on flavor. Using higher temperatures can diminish some of the floral profile in rosin’s taste
Cold Press: Because lower temps can preserve more terpenes, this generally leads to better tasting rosin
Hot Press: Higher temperatures can help increase yield
Cold Press: Lower temperatures are great for optimizing for flavor and consistency
Temperature is one of the main variables and possibly the most important to really control during rosin extraction. Temperature can make or break your outcome at the press, and developing a thorough feel for how different degrees of heat influence the final product will make you a skilled extractor.
The sweet spot for us between overall quality and yield for flower rosin is between 200°F and 210°F. If terpene preservation and quality is your #1 goal, you should probably start colder and evaluate your results, however we have observed very little terpene loss in that range. Anything above 210°F can bolster yields, however you may notice reduction in terpenes.
Measure your results at various temperatures, continue to experiment, and see what works best for you. What are your favorite temperatures to use?