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Tasting Notes 101

Now that cannabis has been thrust into the mainstream due to its legalization in particular states and presence in the media, the public has started to shift perspectives.   The days of viewing cannabis as merely a sketchy-looking substance for stoners in some crumpled up sandwich bag are behind us.  Now, the enjoyment of cannabis, to some, has become a refined hobby, akin to smoking cigars or tasting wine. 

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the flavor or aromas of the  cannabis they consume, similar to the way that some prefer old world Pinot Noir rather than new world or white wine over red.  So what are the commonalities? What should one be looking for when examining or tasting cannabis?

First and foremost, the look of a particular bud can tell you more about it than anything else.  Are the colors of the bud vibrant?  Does it have a dense coat of trichomes around it?  Is it well trimmed? If you can view the bud underneath a microscope, what color are the trichomes there?  

The more milky white the trichomes, the more ripe they are and, therefore, the higher the quality of the bud.  Also, be sure to look for signs of the presence of insects such as hemp weevils as it indicates not only that the bud is of low quality, but also that it may have been treated with insecticide.

The aroma and flavor of the bud is one of the biggest indicators of the quality.  Remember that the nose knows.  Low-quality cannabis will have unattractive odor characteristics such as smells of salt and pepper, mold, or ammonia. Ironically enough, top-shelf bud will have pungent aromas and even unpleasant smells like skunk, must, or diesel fuel. Don’t let any of these unpleasant these smells confuse you. They’re not bad! Especially if you like the smell.  We suggest the french inhale technique when tasting fresh bud. This is due to the fact that 80% of taste is smell so the more that you expose your nose to the aromas while you inhale, the more details you can discern.

The easiest indicator of quality is to discern the burn of the flower, specifically the color of the ash. If the bud’s moisture content is too high — you will be left with dark and messy ash.  In hydroponic grows, this has to do with the fact that all of the nutrients used to aid in the grow process were not flushed properly before harvest.  If the flower was dried and cured properly, the burn will be satisfying, contained, and will leave behind white fluffy ash.

Finally, the feel.  How did you feel immediately after smoking.  Check your head, how does it feel? Light? Heavy? Are you euphoric or ready for a nap? Do you feel creative or philosophical? Do your muscles feel different?  It is very important to pay attention to how it makes you feel so you understand your personal preferences and have a better understanding of what you are looking for when you are choosing your next strain.

Seems like a lot to remember, but don’t worry because we’ve all been there-- we all start somewhere. Our best advice is to have fun with it! Invite friends over and make an experience of it. With our downloadable and fillable Tasting Sheet, you have a convenient place to track all of your notes when trying various buds. Download our sheet today and start tasting like a pro!

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