Essential oils aren’t everything. In this episode, Tony Frischknecht and Nick Gay, the owner of Soul Source Naturals, show us the Bubble Hash System for extracting not just essential oils but also herbs. Stay tuned to learn how you can do the whole process right in your own home as Nick walks us through each step. Plus, you’ll receive pro tips on how to make the workflow smooth and easy.
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Bubble Hash System: Processing Herbs In The Comfort Of Your Home With Nick Gay
Thank you so much for reading. You are the reason why we created the show, not just for sharing this with you but also for education and so much more. We’re going to bring you some more stuff that’s very educational. Before we do that, I want to make sure that if you like what you read, please click on the subscribe button. Let us know you’re out there and follow us around. It lets you know when we have new stuff. The reason why I want to make a big point of this is this is going to be our last episode. This is going to be season one here that you have been reading. We are going to be starting our next season coming up here. Please be aware. We’re not going anywhere. We’ve got some other stuff we’re working on and a new business we’re creating. Things are very busy but always feel free to reach out to us at ExtractionEssentials.com.
This episode is exciting. I want to make this disclaimer. We are going to be doing some herb extraction of what may be illegal in a lot of states out there still. This is a lot of my background. However, essential oils aren’t everything. We want to be able to show you guys that there are different processes that you can use and one of them just happens to be herbs. We think it’s a cool way to do the extraction. We want to make sure we share that with you. In this episode, I have Nick Gay. He helps me out with a ton of this information here. He is the guy running the R&D for us and showing us.
I hope you are getting some good information from him. You can always reach out to Nick, whether it be this episode on herb extraction or one of the many episodes. We’ve got 25 out. It’s super exciting because that’s a big push for a show. If you have questions about this in particular like what kind of bags he is using, how he is doing this process, temperatures and everything like that, we would be more than happy to share with you. He has got a lot of knowledge in this area. Nick, it’s great having you back always. How are you doing?
I’m doing great. How are you, Tony?
I’m doing excellent. I gave people a little bit at the beginning of this. Share what we’re going to be going through and then we’ll take them through the process.
What we’re doing is a simple and safe process to process your own herbs at home that you’ve possibly grown in your legal state or gotten from a friend. What we’re using are cheap bubble bags that I purchased off of Amazon. It was $30. With that said, there are much nicer bags you can buy. I got these because I don’t do this process all too often anymore. We’re going to be processing some lower quality trim, which will then be further refined in our Little Buddy system or you could use it as-is into edibles. There’s a simple and safe process to process your own herbs at home. Click To Tweet We’re going to be using cold water and ice in order to extract the herb extract out of there. What happens is there are these little trichome heads on top of all of the herb plant matter. We’re freezing those and breaking them off, and then filtering them through these different-sized bags in order to get the different-sized trichomes out of there. It’s super simple and easy to do. We’re going to do it in the time frame of this show here, dry it out on my little drawing thing here for about a week, and then it’s ready to go. We’re in Colorado where it’s very dry so it dries quickly but if you’re in a more humid state, they’ll take longer.
Are there any safety concerns while you’re creating this product?
The only thing is you wouldn’t touch your eyes because it stings when you get it in there. There are no safety precautions other than you’re dealing with ice and water. It’s probably the safest method right next to CO2 extraction.
Do you need to be outside or indoors? Does it matter?
Since we live in Colorado, I prefer to do this outside during the winter when it’s colder, but we’re going to do it here to show you. I’m inside a basement. It’s quite a bit cooler out here than the 100 degrees it is outside. Typically, I like to do it when it’s 32 or below outside on my porch.
How much product or plant matter do you need to create this?
It varies. You can do up to 0.5 pound to 1 pound in one run like this that we’re doing now. Now, I believe I have 0.25 pounds. It’s not the greatest trim. Don’t be expecting the wonderful golden stuff that you will sometimes get growing your own stuff.
For those out there that are reading, what kind of quality do you need to create a good product? I know there are levels. Share your school of thought on how to create a good bubble hash product at the end without wasting a lot of products.
You’re going to want to use the freshest material you can find as always with anything like cooking. This material is a couple of years old. That’s why we put that quality disclaimer out there. If you’re growing at home and you have the leaf that you trimmed off of your plants and even small little nuggets, then that can yield a lot of high-quality material if you’re running it fresh.
Is this a dried product or cured product?
This is dry.
What’s our first step?
The next step is you want to keep everything cold. I’m going to grab my bucket of cold water from the freezer as well as the 20 pounds of ice and the trim that I have in there.
We’ve got our products. What do you have in your hand right there?
Right here is the trim that I was speaking of before. It’s not the highest of quality. Typically, you would want to take some of these stems and stuff out. It’s going to be going to edibles anyways so it’s not the biggest deal. We’re going to pour a little bit in here. I’ve got the ice over to my left-hand side there. We’ll pour a little bit of trim in there.
It looks like you got a bag from your local convenience store there.
It’s just your normal ice. With that said, if you’re on a higher level of making these products, you’re probably going to be making your own reverse osmosis ice cubes. All tap water has impurities in it. The reverse osmosis water doesn’t have any impurities in it. You could be putting calcium and other little minerals in there that you end up catching in your bags. Making your own reverse osmosis ice cube fix is more of an industrial-level thing.
For the people that are reading, he is making layers. He’s putting a little bit of plant material in, ice on top, more plant material, and then ice. Why do you separate it like that, Nick?
You want it in layers because we’re breaking off trichomes. It’s like in a washing machine. You’re washing these things off. Also, I’m pouring cold water back in there because there wasn’t quite enough water because some of the dry matter soaked that up. The other reason you want to make layers is that mixing this stuff is pretty hard.
You’re mixing it in a 5-gallon bucket there. It looks like now you’ve got a mixing paddle in your hand.You want to use the freshest material you can find, as always, with anything like cooking. Click To Tweet
A lot of people will use a wooden or giant mixing spoon. I don’t even know what this is used for but it was in the kitchen section of Target. This is the strenuous process right here.
From what you have in front of you, I don’t see anything that expensive. You’ve got a couple of buckets, some ice and a paddle. Aside from the Little Buddy Extractor, that’s fairly reasonable to get a wash going there.
This is all within budget.
You’re mixing this up in the 5-gallon bucket. Of course, this is labor-intensive. What is the purpose besides mixing ice and water into the plant material itself?
What we’re doing now is we’re breaking those trichome heads off of the plant. Some people make sanitary washing machines or use a paint-mixing paddle attached to a drill, which would make this a little bit easier.
I’ve seen them. If you are out there wondering what Nick is talking about, you can find those at Home Depot or your local hardware store. They mix up like tile grout. It’s got a corkscrew-type head and it’s about the biggest that your drill will intake of a 3/8 drill itself. They are probably a couple of feet long so you can mix it up. That would be easier than what you’re doing. However, what he is doing is very inexpensive and he has got to put a little more muscle into it.
There’s nothing wrong with the workout.
What is the next step after this?
The next step is I’m going to mix this up. Some people will do it for up to ten minutes. I’m not going to do it very long. I’ve already run some of the stuff. It does not yield much at all. You still want to get everything you can out of there because after you’ve extracted it, this stuff is going to rot and it’s going to be gross. Another part of this is you want to make sure that when you’re done with it, you clean everything up or else, you’re left with some nasty stuff.
Speaking of getting rid of the waste, what do you end up doing with the waste after? Do you throw it out of the garden?
I typically throw it in my garden. Even though we’re in a legal state, it never looks good to throw a bunch of herbs in your trash can.
For those of you out there that are thinking about it, that’s a pro tip right there.
Just because it’s legal, you don’t want your nosy neighbor to hate you even more than she already does.
I know that some people out there would say, “That’s dumb. Why would you do that?” People do it. I’ve seen it in my dumpster in Denver, Colorado. It’s not happening anymore like it used to but it used to happen all the time. People would dump their stuff. Keep that in mind, guys. We don’t want anything bad to happen to you and something silly like that can happen easily. As Nick is stirring this up, getting it ready, and knocking off the trichomes, let’s talk about the Little Buddy and what it’s going to add to this process. As our readers, can they produce a product without the Little Buddy?
Yes, you could produce the product but then you could take that product, put it through the Little Buddy, and create an even more refined product. You can even take something that may have been brown and turn it gold by filtering out even more of this plant matter. By doing this filtration with the screens, you can only get so much out. Through the Little Buddy, we can filter it for as small as 0.5 microns, whereas the smallest micron we’re going to be doing now is 45.
We’re not going to be using it for extraction now in the sense of extraction. What you’re telling me is we’re going to be using it as a filter to bring up the quality of a not-so-high-quality product?
Yes, exactly. The reason I know that I’m almost done mixing is that there’s quite a bit of froth going on. That’s one of the signs that you’ve got it nice and fully mixed, things are coming off of there, and you’re pretty much good to go. You don’t want to go too long or else you can get stuff out that you don’t want.
When you say stuff out, are you referring to more plant matter that you don’t want to go with the product?
Exactly. A lot of bubble bag systems will come with what’s called a work bag. This was a cheap set. It didn’t come with a work bag. You would put your trim inside of the work bag with a little bit of ice in here and you would be mixing that. This blue bag here is a 220-micron, which is typically your work bag. We’re going to be pouring through that. Below that is 190 and then it keeps on going down throughout each one. I’ll tell you the micron size as we’re going.
If people aren’t familiar with microns, can you suggest where they can look at them to understand that a little bit more?
YouTube university and the internet is a great place. What a micron size is just the size of a hole like a coffee filter. The bigger the micron, the bigger the hole if that helps you out there.
It must be some kind of a laboratory term when you start getting into these different microns, right?
Yes. There are certain size microns that can filter out different things. Below 0.1 micron, you’re filtering out bacteria.
We’re dumping in the cold ice and plant matter into the bubble bags.
When you’re doing this, you want to make sure to stir it as you’re going so you get everything through there. You’re going to want to use more water, which I’m going to grab more of that from the freezer because you always use cold water to wash over the top. Sometimes people use a handheld hose. I’m in a basement so I don’t have that. I’m going to pour this cold water over the top of this, washing all of that extra stuff that we want out of there.
For the reader out there, it looks like you have screens inside screens, inside another screen.
This top one is your work bag so you’re not going to get anything usable out of here. This is where you’re filtering out your water and trichome. The other thing is I have a spray bottle filled up with water and that’s going to help us out quite a bit.
You’re working the work bag back and forth.
I’m shaking out all the water that’s stuck in there. It’s still dripping some stuff.
That looks like you get rid of the majority of the ice in there and plant material out of that first one. Do you need to squeeze out anything or you’re just letting it dry?
I’m letting it get out for the most part. You’ll sit there and let it drain. You can always use that water again. Let this drain into a separate bucket, reuse that water, and then run it back through.
You get more out of the plant material itself.
Here we are. We’re at our first harvest here of the 190-micron bag. This is going to be the worst quality that you’ll probably catch the most out of this bag. What I’m doing with a spray bottle is squirting it into a central location where I can scoop it up with a spoon.
You’re using it to mobilize the material that you have left on the screen.
Once I have it in the central area, you can flip the bag inside out. You’ll want to have your spoons ready. The next bags are going to be quite a bit easier than that because they’re already folded. There’s your product.
Explain it a little bit.
It’s a grainy and greenish material. There’s still quite a bit of plant matter in it. The reason why we’re going through so many different filters is this is the bag that we want to catch the stuff we don’t want in the bags below, so on and so forth. With each bag that goes on, the product is going to get lighter, especially once we get to the end and I show you all the different ones. I’m scraping it off of the bag here. If you need to, you can flip it back inside out and get the rest of it.
You just have one spoonful of material there.
I used the other clean spoon to scrape it off onto my drying pan. This is a 25-micron screen stretched over the top of a bucket. That’s going to allow it to dry.
You have airflow underneath it and on top of it.
Some people will use a 25-micron screen and then paper towels, and smoosh it in between that as well but I like this method better. You spray bottles to collect the rest of it. If there’s any bag to not scrape all of it from, it’s this one because this isn’t your highest-quality material. There’s barely any left in there. I’m going to put that aside. When you’re done with this whole process, you want to make sure to always clean out all your bags. Do that with a hose, water, and isopropyl alcohol if you have some stubborn sticky stuff. Here we are at the second bag. When you end up folding this over, they get stiff. It’s going to be a little hard to pull them off. This is the 160-micron bag. In every set that you buy, it will have a different micron. The more bags that come in a set, the higher quality stuff you can get because you’re catching all that nasty stuff at the bigger-sized holes and getting all the plant matter.Even though you’re in a legal state, it never looks good to throw a bunch of herbs in your trash can. Click To Tweet
It takes more work but what it looks like is you’re redoing the same process over and over and using smaller micron bags. I’m sure because it’s a new one, it’s probably a little more challenging too.
I’ve only used these bags three times. Once you get the sides of these a little stretched out, then it’s easier. The higher micron bags are slightly larger so they can fit over each other. As I said, this is a very cheap set.
Even the more expensive sets are still under $100.
Unless you’re going to a 55-gallon trash can size. I’m doing that same process where I’m squirting stuff out, trying to get it all together, and then you scrape it up with your spoon here. In each bag, as you go on, it’s going to continue to get lighter. You can see in the first one how much more plant matter there was. With good fresh material, you can get golden colors out of the 160-bag. Everything depends on the quality, as always.
You got that one scraped out. The one in the middle was the first one, right?
Yes, and there’s the one that I scraped.
It’s a bit greener. There is a different shade between the two. The first one is darker. The second one is lighter. It’s a couple of shades lighter but you can tell.
On the next one, it will get even lighter.
I never dreamed that I would be sitting with Nick about creating bubble hash from herbs. If you guys are pro-herbs, you’ll probably love it. If you’re not too sure about your feeling with herbs, I hope this makes you feel a little better about how easy it is to make a product and keep it natural at the same time because we’re not adding any harmful chemicals to this. We’re using water when it comes down to it. If you can understand that and want to learn more about bubble hash, the internet has everything on it. You can google that and find more stuff. We’re going to the last screen here. Is this the last one?
I’ve got two more. It’s a tedious process. Usually, you’re hanging out, listening to music, and getting it done. It’s not a big deal.
We’ve sped up the process for you guys. We went through another couple of bags and Nick is finishing the last bag. What’s the micron size on this last bag?
This is 73.
It’s very tiny. It looks like you’ve got quite a bit of material that is captured, too.
The next bag I’m going to be harvesting is a 45. I did a 90 before that. Once I finished scraping this one, I’ll show you the comparison on all the different sizes so you can see the difference in quality there because it’s pretty astounding. It’s sometimes discouraging because you’ll be running it and you’re like, “That’s what I’m getting out of that stuff?” You keep going and you’re like, “There we go.”
The other thing that I would like to point out is that this material is a couple of years old. The simple fact that you could have thrown this all away would have been your loss.
This is a super easy process and it’s cheap. You go get a bag of ice. How often do you do that to fill your cooler? This is a nice and easy way to do it. What I’m doing there is sometimes you’ll want to shake it like that and it gets the rest of the little bits down at the bottom. I’ll show you and take this bag off.
You’ve taken the last bag off of the 5-gallon bucket here.
I have one more, though. It’s like one of those Russian dolls.
This one keeps popping out.
I’m going to spray this and then I’ll show you guys the comparison from the ones we’ve run so far. Starting from this direction, that’s the first one we’ve harvested. The second one, that tiny little bit is 3, 4, and 5.
You got a lot out at the end.
For every strain, you’ll get different amounts from each one. It’s interesting to see. I’m going to harvest this last one here and then we’ll show you that. After that, you’re drying it. If you’re in a dry climate, it is for about a week, and if you’re not, maybe two or more weeks.
What’s the potential use for this product?
You could smoke it if you wanted to, but this is going to go towards edibles most likely after we run it through the machine.
You seem to have a fair bit amount even in that last one.
There’s even one more bag that I could run, which is the 25-micron bag. I never run it because you don’t get that much but it takes an hour to filter through with gravity as your pressure. Spray bottle the last of the product, and then we’re onto drying through quite a while.
As the product dries, do you leave it on that screen?No matter how discouraging things can be, keep going. Click To Tweet
I’ll usually leave it on the screen for a while. I like to flatten it out while it’s still wet so that there’s more surface area to dry off. As it dries out, you’ll chop it up into little bits. On the industrial herb side, people will typically use freeze dryers. That will get it done within twelve hours, which is nice. That’s another one of those $15,000 investment things. We’re going cheap and low-key now.
This takes more time as well.
It’s like anything. You could rent a bulldozer and dig a hole or you could dig it with a shovel. One is more rewarding and one is more fun.
Now, you’re flattening it out. We’ve got six different samples that you were able to pull out. In each one, you see less plant material which makes sense. The smaller the screen size, the higher quality you get at the end there.
I got to spread one more out. The sixth one is still quite a bit wet but it’s going to drain out.
It’s golden almost there.
We’re going to put this in a safe and dry place for about a week. I’m going to check on it every once in a while and flip it in a couple of days. Make sure you clean all your stuff. Don’t leave it out or else you’re going to have some sticky, nasty, and stinky stuff.
Can you describe it? I know we don’t have a sample of the stuff we’ve got that run through the Little Buddy. What’s going to happen to that once you run some of that material through there?
What would happen is we would essentially filter out all of the plant material within it and then also the cannabinoids. Since this is older trim, you’ll usually come out with a reddish material. If it’s a fresher trim, you’ll come out with a golden, if not clear, extract.
The next thing you’re going to be doing is sharing how the Little Buddy can filter this out.
What we’re going to do in a week’s time is I’m going to put the dried material into this side of the machine. We’re going to fill it up with liquid CO2 and run that through here. We’re going to have two filter frits in there, which are going to be about 5 microns or below. Your finished extract is going to come out here.
This has been great, Nick. It is very cool. I enjoyed watching the process of how it happened. I know this took longer than what most people were expecting. It takes a little time when you’re doing it by hand and that’s okay. Guys, I want you to reach out to us if you have questions about how Nick is creating the bubble hash itself or looking at the Little Buddy for a filtering process. Any plant matter that you can filter, if you’re trying to pull the impurities in the plant matter out of the mixture itself to make it either clear or better quality. There are so many things you can do with this. It’s very cool stuff. I’m seeing more applications. Nick is coming up with more ideas on what we can filter. If there’s something that we can filter out there for you or you have some ideas, we encourage you to please reach out to us at ExtractionEssentials.com. Check us out there. Send us any kind of clip. We’re also all over social media. You can reach out to us there. Please check out all our episodes.
This is our 25th. We will see you guys. We’ve got some exciting stuff happening. We will be at MJBizCon so you can see this product and understand what the Little Buddy is. We’re all about essential oils, but this is one of the big parts of the area where this machine fits into extraction and filtration. That show is coming up on October 17th, 18th and 19th, 2021. If that’s something you want to join, it’s incredible. There are all kinds of extraction happening there. There are usually between 30,000 and 40,000 people there. It’s the biggest event hands-down in the industry. If you’re curious about herbs or you love them, I recommend that you check this out sooner than later. I believe it’s going to sell out because we were in lockdown in 2020. Please get your tickets to that. We will send out some more information about it. We’ll also have it on our website if you’re curious there, so please check it out. Thank you so much for joining me. It has been awesome. Nick, thank you for sharing your expertise with the people out there.
Thank you, Tony.
About Nick Gay
A leader in the CBD and herb industry with 8 years experience in new facility set-up, employee training, SOP creation and integration, product production, extraction, and distillation.
A collaborative team player who strives for operational excellence and works across all departments to scale production and create safe work environments.
Skilled in Compliance Management, Management, CBD, THC, SOP Development, and Research and Development (R&D). Strong business development professional with a Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Manufacturing practices focus.