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From Plant to Press: The Complete Journey of Crafting Rosin

Cannabis plants
Image by JR Byron from Pixabay

The innovation of rosin extraction in the early 2010s marked a significant shift towards a safer, more accessible method of concentrate production. The process is elegantly simple: applying heat and pressure to cannabis material to extract a sticky, resinous substance without using any solvents. 

This method can be applied to various starting materials, including flower, kief, and hash, making it versatile and widely accessible. This article will explore this process and highlight the techniques for producing a high-quality, solventless concentrate.

Starting Material for Rosin Production

There are a few steps from getting the plant to drying it and passing it through a machine for concentrate extraction. First, select the cannabis strain. High-quality, well-cared-for plants, regardless of the strain, tend to produce the best results in terms of yield and quality. Consequently, look for strains known for their robust terpene profiles for more aromatic and flavorful rosins.

After harvesting, curing enhances the flavor and potency of cannabis by allowing for the gradual breakdown of chlorophyll and the preservation of terpenes. The curing process involves drying the cannabis flowers slowly under controlled conditions, followed by storing them in air-tight containers opened periodically to allow for air exchange. 

The duration of the cure can vary depending on the strain and the desired outcome, but a well-cured cannabis can significantly improve the quality of the rosin.

Preparing the Material

Here are detailed steps to making hash rosin. The fundamental steps of rosin production remain the same whether using hash, kief, or flower. However, there are differences in the pressing temperatures. We'll mention that below.

Step 1: Drying

After harvesting and curing, drying reduces the moisture content of the cannabis to a level that maximizes rosin yield while preserving the integrity of the cannabinoids and terpenes. Over-dried material may lead to a brittle consistency that can be less effective in the press. On the other hand, too much moisture can result in sappy rosin and lower yields. The ideal moisture content for rosin pressing is around 62-70%.

Step 2: Grinding

Grinding increases the surface area of the cannabis, making it easier for the heat and pressure of the press to extract the rosin. However, it's wise not to over-grind, as a fine powder can lead to lower yields and potentially allow plant material to mix with the rosin. A coarse grind is advisable, as it's a balance between maximizing surface area and minimizing the risk of contamination.

Step 3: Forming into Pucks

Press the ground cannabis into compacted pucks for an efficient pressing process. This compaction process helps ensure an even distribution of heat and pressure during extraction, maximizing the yield. Forming pucks can be done manually or with the help of pre-press molds designed to create uniform shapes and densities. 

A pre-press mold can also help reduce blowouts (when the filter bag breaks due to pressure) by creating a more stable structure for the cannabis material.

The Extraction Process

The primary equipment required for rosin extraction is a rosin press, which comes in various forms ranging from simple manual presses to sophisticated hydraulic and pneumatic systems. The choice of press depends on the scale of production and the specific needs of the extractor. 

For home enthusiasts, a manual press or modified hair straightener may suffice. In contrast, commercial operations often opt for larger, more automated presses capable of handling significant volumes of material.

In addition to the press, other essential equipment includes parchment paper to collect the rosin, heat-resistant gloves for safety, and filter bags. Filter bags hold the cannabis material during pressing to prevent plant matter from mixing with the extracted rosin. 

Technique and Variables

Extracting rosin involves placing the prepared cannabis material, often within a filter bag, between two heated plates pressed together. Specific variables like temperature, pressure, and time are critical to the process. They vary depending on the type of cannabis material used and the desired characteristics of the final product. Let's discuss these variables briefly:


For example, higher temperatures (220-250°F or 104-121°C) can yield more rosin faster but may compromise terpene preservation, resulting in less flavor and aroma. Lower temperatures (180-220°F or 82-104°C) preserve more terpenes and result in a higher quality product but may reduce yield and require longer press times.

Flowers require moderate to high pressure and can tolerate a broader range of temperatures. On the other hand, kief and hash benefit from lower temperatures to preserve their already high terpene content.


The amount of pressure applied also affects the yield and quality. Too much pressure can force plant material into the rosin, while too little pressure may result in a lower yield. Finding the right balance may require experimentation. Since kief and hash are more concentrated forms, they require less pressure to prevent blowouts.


The duration of the press varies, typically ranging from 45 seconds to several minutes. Longer press times at lower temperatures can maximize terpene preservation, while shorter times at higher temperatures can increase yield.

Collecting and Storing Rosin

After extraction, proper storage techniques are essential to maintain its freshness, potency, and flavor. Typically, a cold environment is beneficial for collecting rosin because it helps solidify the concentrate, making it easier to handle. 

Collectors often use tools like dabbers. These stainless steel or glass tools are non-stick and resistant to temperature changes. The technique involves gently scraping the rosin off the parchment paper, taking care not to degrade its quality through excessive handling or exposure to high temperatures.

Light, air, and heat are the main factors that can degrade rosin, leading to loss of potency and flavor. Therefore, air-tight containers made of materials that do not react with the concentrate, such as glass or silicone, are suitable. 

To minimize exposure to light and heat, keep these containers in a cool, dark place, ideally in a refrigerator or a cool cupboard. However, avoiding freezing rosin is important, as this can cause moisture to build up within the container, potentially affecting the concentrate's quality.


Rosin has emerged as a premier choice for cannabis enthusiasts seeking purity, potency, and a solvent-free experience. Unlike other cannabis concentrates, the rosin extraction process is a simple yet effective method that uses heat and pressure, eliminating the need for chemical solvents. Furthermore, the simplicity and accessibility of rosin production have democratized the process. 


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