Sift Rosin: What It Is, How It’s Made, and Static Sift Tech
Sift is the type of concentrate that benefits everyone, from casual consumers and small operations to connoisseurs and big brands. While some know-how is required to create more intricate concentrates, sift can often be created by anyone working with cannabis flower or trim with relative ease.
Before we get started though, let's clear up our terms because often, kief and sift (or dry sift) are used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. "Kief" is the unrefined trichome heads, glands, and plant debris that are left after dried cannabis flower or trim are sifted on various sized micron screens. "Sift" or more commonly "dry sift" is the refined version of kief, after some of the plant matter and debris has been removed, either through further sifting or through static sift techniques.
Dry sift is a concentrate commonly used as a topping on other cannabis products when it's in its unrefined state. Alternatively, it can serve as a central ingredient in making top-of-the-line products once it has been fully cleaned up or is of premium starting quality.
Before diving in, let's explore the concentrate a bit more. Sift is a fast-burning, versatile concentrate that comes from the plant's trichome glands. Dry sift is a concentrate collected through various trichome extraction methods. It is most commonly collected using a series of screens using varying sizes. When collected, dry sift is regarded as having a higher potency than flower, often reaching 50% to 60% THC levels.
You may build up a kief collection at home using a grinder, leaving the sift that passed through the screens in the bottom compartment of the device. That said, technology has improved over time to allow personal use and commercial producers a variety of options to collect their kief.
Dry sift is filtered and created in a similar way to ice water hash, but the terms are a little bit different. First and foremost, the starting material used is always dried and usually cured, because if it's not dried first, there is far too much latent moisture in the material. The screens used are rated either on the traditional micron scale, such as "μm", or on screens with "LPI" ratings, known as lines per inch, or essentially threads per inch in this case. Many sift screens have LPI ratings instead of micron ratings, which are common in bubble hash filtration bags.
When collecting sift, be aware of its color. Those aiming for high-quality should look for lighter, purer dry sift. On the other hand, a darker sift indicates that the filtering process may not have been as effective or thorough as needed. As such, the process likely left plant matter in the final yield. When thoroughly cleaned, it should resemble a tan or even whitish hue.
Once collected and assessed, dry sift can find its way into a myriad of products. Dry sift is also graded on the same scale as ice water hash, in a 1 star through 6 star rating, with full melt or 6 star dry sift being extremely rare as of this writing. Frequent consumers tend to employ sift as a top-off to joints, bowls and other smoking devices for ages. In other cases, some toss a bit of sift into a hot drink, like coffee or tea, to activate the THCA for a boost to the morning blend. While this doesn't fully decarboxylate the THCA, if it's hot enough (over 200°F) you can get a partial decarb and a nice pep in your beverage.
In other cases, producers use food-grade dry sift rosin to make ideal edibles and topicals. These items have proven to be a boom for personal producers, as well as an array of cannabis brands. In this vertical, a myriad of products, from sift rosin to rosin edibles and beyond, have been born. The same boom is underway for premium products and the high-quality sift needed to create them. These top-tier creations have found a market among dabbers.
In both cases, business and home producers alike find value in using high-quality and food-grade sift. Let’s take an in-depth look at both to understand best the opportunity that awaits the supply chain.
Working with General Sift/Food-Grade Sift
Businesses can best capture profits from their existing trim. Relying on a present, accessible source material like trim allows brands to keep costs low and attract customers with diverse SKUs. All the while, brands can expand through a premium, solventless product that should appeal to a majority of the market.
Working with food-grade sift is a relatively accessible option that keeps startup costs low for businesses. A DIY operation can cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Meanwhile, a professional-caliber extraction operation should run in the low-five-figures, as opposed to a solvent-based lab, which can reach six figures on average.
On the whole, lower costs can be attributed to the product used and the technology needed to produce it. With equipment, virtually any sift that can pass contamination testing can be sifted into a food-grade quality product. To sift such quality, producers need to use food-grade equipment as part of the process. Such materials include using only food contact rated parchment and sift screens. Compared to procedures like CO2 extraction, which can run into the six-figure region, a food-grade sift setup should be a drop in the operational costs bucket.
A drop in startup cost won’t equate to a decline in pricing. It’s just the opposite. Typically, food-grade sift rosin, as well as rosin topicals and edibles, list at a 25% or more premium over the conventional options. One of the prime reasons for the mark-up is the natural process that goes into such creations. In most cases, products mentioned use solvent-based creations to complete the process. Using a rosin press to create oil from a medium or low grade dry sift is an extremely simple and easy way to turn your trim into gold.
For connoisseur consumers, this fact is likely to steer them towards the higher end sift-based products, such as 5 star dry sift rosin or full melt dry sift. While some customers don’t mind, many do prefer a more natural option, such as rosin as opposed to CO2 oil, when presented with one. In this case, a sift edible is likely going to appeal to such a consumer over a solvent-based treat because of its true full spectrum nature. That will probably be the case even if a mark-up accompanies the product due to what is anecdotally a superior experience with edibles and topicals, when they are made with sift rosin, flower rosin, or hash rosin.
Creating sift-based options has never been easier, thanks to technological advancements in the extraction space. Products like The Alchemist 420 from GreenBroz are marvels at commercial-scale operations. The PurePressure team recommends products by GreenBroz for their ability to create high quality dry sift using 80μm, 130μm, and 180μm stainless steel screens along with the same materials used in professional kitchens to halt bacterial and microbial growth. In addition to its scale and safety, the Alchemist 420 automates the process better than the competition. It does so by filtering and collecting your dry sift yield for retrieval just like you would from a grinder -- except on a much larger, more sophisticated scale.
A sophisticated product doesn’t equal a complicated device either. GreenBroz’s creation is simple and straightforward. Extractors just need to put their mid- to low-grade trim in the Alchemist and tumble the crop until the trichomes separate. From there, producers can scoop up the dry sift to create sift rosin or any other product they prefer to make. When creating rosin topicals and edibles, be sure to decarb your concentrates in an oven, usually at 200°F for about 25 minutes.
While there are numerous brands in the dry sift and sift rosin space, one standout is Papa & Barkley, which makes all of their topicals and edibles from sift rosin for a truly premium, full spectrum experience. Their Releaf Repair Cream and Releaf Body Lotion, which use rosin in both product recipes, are lauded by consumers.
Papa & Barkley's Releaf Body Lotion, which is made from dry sift rosin
Cleaned Sift for Top-of-the-Line Rosin and Other Concentrates
For the most part, the previously mentioned methods are ideal for quick dry sifting. Such processes, whether using the traditional or a more tech advanced option, are ideal when working with low- and mid-grade sift options. That said, when working with high-quality flower or premium trim, it’s worth the additional time and effort that goes into the process to make a true dabable concentrate. Doing so allows producers to create another potential product offering that has dominated consumer interest in recent years: dabbing.
The extra time invested in the process should become evident rather quickly for producers, but the juice in this case is very much worth the squeeze. Once these products reach sales shelves, they tend to list at a higher price point than most common items sold, including well above flower rosin or other solvent-based extracts. That said, the price isn’t at such a high that customers face pricing out. In most cases, sift rosin prices should fall somewhere below ice water hash rosin and above most other concentrates.
When making sift rosin, producers tend to follow a process such as the following:
Sift in a Cold Environment
First off, you'll want to work in a cold setting. Doing so should provide producers with a world of benefits otherwise inaccessible to them. This is mainly in order to help preserve volatile terpenes for a more flavorful end product. Many producers looking to make 5 star or full melt sift will sift in a walk in freezer or place their sifting equipment in a chest freezer to run it. This also helps induce trichome detachability by making the trichomes more brittle.
Pro tip: never use dry ice if you want to make a premium dry sift. While it will increase your yields, dry ice destroys and opens trichomes, thus decreasing clarity, darkening color, and introducing more plant matter into your final product.
Freeze Your Trim or Cannabis Ahead of Time
Placing the source material in a freezer helps make the plant's trichomes more brittle, making the separation process more comfortable and more efficient. Unfortunately, fresh frozen cannabis is not usable for dry sift techniques, because too much moisture is present. Make sure you only use dried, cured material!
Separate the Trichomes
Begin the process to remove the trichomes from the trim. This process can take a variety of avenues, as mentioned in the section above. Consider a helpful device like GreenBroz Alchemist if your operation has the scale or budget. Doing so will help reduce time while adding an automated, professional touch to the process. You can also use a set of sift screens or sift bags, too. Being gentle is the name of the game here, and it can take some time (5-20 minutes depending on what type of dry sift you want to make).
Collect the Sift
Once settled and detached from the trim, collectors gather the dry sift into bags or formed patties for pressing. Alternatively, you can employ static sift tech as well to further refine your sift from here before pressing if you intend to make a premium dry sift or dabable dry sift rosin.
Press Into Rosin
Using your preferred settings, begin pressing the pucks or bags of sift until the golden rosin is fully extracted from the source material.
Clean Up and Store
Lastly, scoop all the oil into a UV-protected container. Store in a moisture tight container, in a cool area away from sunlight until ready to dab.
As mentioned before, producers want to work with a sift light in color, ideally a light tan or whiteish hue. To ensure that the product is as contaminant-free as possible, producers use various methods to remove any concerning elements. A popular method in recent years is static sift tech.
The process is created by laying dry sift in a relatively thin line on a flat screen board. The material is then spread across the screen using a spreading tool wrapped with a static screen. Some use spreaders, while DIY tools, like a DVD case, can work as well.
In other cases, producers turn to products like paint rollers to clean and collect their sift. From there, the tool is scraped of the trichomes it gathered for later use.
The process earned a reputation for its efficiency and effectiveness in sorting trichomes from possible contaminants. Be sure to purchase frames and screens that match the scale of the kief and microns needed to sift your premium trim.
Versatile Trichome Extraction
Cannabis production has finally stepped out of the illicit market's shadows and onto the largely legal stage it currently resides on in America. As such, technological advancements pushed trichome extraction technology in recent years. The technology added to the space helped advance the professional caliber of kief and sift collection without breaking the bank for businesses.
The ushering in of such sophisticated technology by companies, like GreenBroz, allows producers to create edibles, topicals, concentrates and other products from a variety of trim. While high-grade is always recommended for the best yields, low- and mid-grade trim is an excellent source material for producing a range of products. By creating these products, especially numerous SKUs, your business has the opportunity to stand out while offering scores of consumers a product they want at a fair price point. Such diversification should drive the company towards a profit, and we're happy to help get you there.
The PurePressure team is thrilled to support your extraction endeavors, be it personal or as a company. Contact us today to learn more about all things trichome extraction and much more. We've got our fingers on the pulse of the extraction industry, and we're eager to help.