Pollen: You may know it by a different name, but one thing’s for sure once you’ve tried it you’ll never forget it. The golden colour, the way it fluffs up and expands when a flame is put to it and the knockout punch it delivers when you smoke it. It’s a firm favourite for a reason! Here’s the beginners guide…
First off, let’s get the definitions out of the way. What smokers refer to as pollen, isn’t pollen in the sense that it comes from the reproductive parts of the male plant. It’s a term used to describe a type of pressed hash that is comprised purely (or near enough) of resin glands – trichomes – that have fallen or been shaken from the plant. Seeing as these resin glands contain the majority of the psychoactive compounds stored in the plant, you know that this type of hash is going to be fairly potent… not like the shitty soap bar that you used to get when you were a kid.
The glands that have fallen from the bud are commonly known as kief or skuff. So, you may have come across pollen before by the name kief, kief hash, or simply as skuff.
For the purposes of this article and to avoid any confusion over terms, we’ll refer to the collected glands as kief and the resulting pressed hash as pollen.
Anyway, definitions aside, it is lovely stuff and it’s pretty easy to make yourself. You collect the glands, press them and you’re done. It’s nice to have a bit of hash around too; it takes up less space than bud, is easier to stash, smells less and can generally last a bit longer than bud when you store it. It’s also a great way to use up all the goodness on the trim (leaves and stems) that would otherwise be discarded. So, if you’re growing a few plants at home right now then mentally keep one to the side and dedicate it to making some homemade pollen. You won’t regret it. Let’s go through the basics…
Collecting kief is actually pretty easy to do without even trying. Purchase yourself a decent 4-tier grinder and you’ll start to collect kief every time you grind up a bud. It’s the golden, powdery looking build up that collects in the bottom compartment of the grinder, the part below the layer of mesh screen. You can also invest in a kief box to store your bud in. This is a similar concept to the 4-tier grinder, where there is a mesh screen on the base of the box and a catchment tray underneath. You simply store the weed in the box, give it a little shake from time to time and let the kief build up in the tray.
Obviously these ‘passive’ collection techniques will only yield you a little bit of kief each month or so, depending on how much you toke. So, if you’re looking to get a few grams of pollen to smoke you’ll need to harvest your kief using more active methods.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that to get the maximum amount of kief from your bud and trim material you’ll need to bag it up and put it in the freezer for a few hours. The cold temperature will make the resin glands brittle and more likely to break off from the plant material. It might seem weird to put your weed in the feezer but – believe us – you’ll harvest more kief this way.
Sifting for kief is basically a more advanced method of using a kief box. Get yourself a kief box or some screen printing material from an art supply shop (100-150micron sized screens work well), take some ground plant material that has been in the freezer for a few hours and place it on the screen. Then simply tilt the screen back and forth, rolling the ground material across its surface, the kief will fall through the screen and will be caught in the catchment tray (if you’re using a kief box). If you’re using a homemade screen, hold it over a mirror and watch the kief fall onto it. Once the kief stops falling, you’re ready for the next batch. Simple.
There is a next level of dry sifting… The Pollinator machine!
I can recall staying at a mates house one time, lot too long after he’d brought a decent crop down, and he asked me if I’d like to have a bit of pollen to smoke. “Yes” was the obvious answer and he left the room saying “I’ll be back in min.” Now I fully expected him to come back with a coin sized piece of pressed pollen and I would’ve certainly been happy enough if that was what he brought me. When he re-entered the room, my jaw hit the floor.
He had a Tupperware container full of pollen! It was like a fucking brick!
“Where’d you get that”, I asked. “The Pollinator”, was his response.