Ethanol extract question(to go Cup 15 or just a manual extractor)

Hey guys! So real quick, I’ve been in the game for a little over a year(extracting game, overall game a lot longer). I’ve so far learned how to make distillate from A-Z. I’ve also learned a bit about hydrocarbon extraction, mainly extracting material on a decent 10lb closed loop system. However now the goal is volume.
So like topic says, I’m having a dilemma on this issue.

I’ve read that ethanol is the way to go for high volume extraction. However I hardly know anything about ethanol extraction. What rules to follow and what SOP’s to run etc etc.

So here’s the dilemma: I can save up for a few more weeks to put a down payment on a Cup 15 with the help of my 2 partners(silent partners), and get in line for a 10 week wait time. The upside is it’s obviously automated and Delta Seperatons will train you on sight or on the phone if you get lost along the way.

So here is where the dilemma gets worse(or better), this past week I went into Xractor Depot, this is the brand that makes my current closed loop extractor. I needed parts. I asked the rep “so when you guys getting into the game of ethanol extraction?” The rep tells me they already have them, just manual. Anyways he shows them to me(I will post pics), and tells me that Cup 15 is honestly not worth the money or the 10 week wait. He told me that a manual extractor is the way to go. He explained to me how it works, and it seemed pretty simple.

Anyways, what I need from you guys is an unbiased opinion of which route to go. According to the Xtractor Depot rep, I will be able to do more volume with their setup than cup 15, and the price for manual is significantly cheaper at 23k out the door and no wait time.

Here is what it looks like.

He told me that the big boys, the ones who extract entire farms(thousands of pounds per week) do not get the Cup 15 or Ethos4/6 because those can’t handle their volumes. Here is a pic of a custom piece they did for a client:

The price for this big boy is 70k out the door

Now again, I’m not looking to do diamonds/thca/sauce. Just gold distillate. Can anyone make a case why it’s a bad idea to get a manual extractor vs a cup 15?

The rep made a good sales pitch to me but the question that lingers in my head is, if manual extractors are the way to go because they’re cheaper and can do more volume, why is there a 10 week line of people waiting to get their hands on a Cup 15 or Ethos 4/6?

Also before I get either one, I will pay for a crash course in ethanol extraction just like I did with hydrocarbon and distillate, so I won’t be just shooting in the dark.

Thank you for all your help
EDIT: Forgot to ask main question, is it true that ethanol extracted crude will not be as potent as hydrocarbon? Because our distillate has to test at 85% thc or better


I think the difference is solvent recovery from your biomass. Not sure what is all included in the “manual extractor”. Are you supposed to use that giant bubble bag to hold biomass?

depends how you make it.
Warm, and you can get 50% cannabinoids or possibly less if you try hard enough.

At -40C, I usually hit 65-70% cannabinoids on unrefined EtOH crude. Which is pretty much the same as unrefined hydrocarbon crude in my hands.

why use a 'fuge?**
3-5% solvent loss vs 10-15% solvent loss.

If you’re a good hippie, and buying organic ethanol, then the CUP pays for itself pretty quickly (I recall six months payback just in solvent savings in this scenario) .

If you’re using heptane denatured, you’ll need to do the maths yourself.

**full disclosure: I’m now peddling a 'fuge for this task. I should have built it 5 years ago when it first occurred to me it was the right solution. :man_facepalming:


Yes the bags hold the bio mass
It comes with 4 of them

At -40C, I usually hit 65-70% cannabinoids on unrefined EtOH crude. Which is pretty much the same as unrefined hydrocarbon crude in my hands.

if I understood this correct, at -40C if you’re using organic ehtanol, it’s the same as using butane?

I recently got a 55 gallon bag on amazon for $30 grow sun brand :thinking:

At -40C or below, using 190proof ethanol, extraction efficiency and specificity are comparable to hydrocarbons imo.

The extraction profiles are not identical, but generally folks are tossing their terpenes if they’re distilling, so for the most part the extraction profiles are close enough to substitute. bonus? no winterizing if you use cold ethanol.

“organic” has nothing to do with extraction efficiency. that part is about making your customers happy or whatever other excuse you want to use.

see “good hippie”.


The reason people are waiting 10 or more weeks for a CUP or CAPNA is because most licensed operators have to deal with fire departments and State regs that mandate extraction systems be Peer Reviewed - most manual systems will not fly in most cities unless you spend the cash to get it Peer Reviewed.

All ethanol systems will require a centrifuge otherwise your waiting money. Perhaps a Hemp press? If your fire dept is cool with it.

The biggest hurdle will be solvent recovery. Be ready to shell out over 100k on that solution. No way around it.

Cryogenic ethanol is great in that you will get 65-70% thc and not have to winterize. Love that but solvent recovery sucks. So it’s a trade off. The path you pick can get expensive fast.

Manual systems are better for more thoroughput but it depends on your situation. Hemp guys don’t have to deal with what us THC guys have to that are licensed. If your not licensed (I don’t condone that) then be careful and do what’s best for your scenario.

Hope that helps.


Check out if you’re going manual.

Lmk if you need a falling film evaporator I can get it to you for a reasonable price.

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Be ready to shell out over 100k on that solution. No way around it.

Yikes. The regulations and peer review I completely understand, but I would have to drop 100k on top of the 23k? Yikes

That alone makes the manual 1.5x higher than the Cup or Capna.

The rep at Xtractor Depot said that to recover I just open the valve and let solvent drain out, and just use a press to get solvent out of material. Guessing it’s not that easy?

Sorry not trying to sound like a dummie, again I’ll go take a crash course all about ethanol before spending a dollar on any ethanol extractor

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It’s a learning curve for everyone - don’t feel bad. You will need that much solvent recovery no matter if you go manual - CUP - or CAPNA.

You need a centrifuge because much of the ethanol stays in the plant material. The CUP is the only one to address that within their closed loop. Most all other systems require an external centrifuge. A press is to get the very last bit plus other stuff typically after the centrifuge step.

All systems will require pretty hefty solvent recovery requirements. If you want to do 100 pounds a day you could potentially need to recovery 100 Gal of solvent/oil mixture a day.

Just have someone help you with the post processing math. Ask the guy selling the system how much ethanol will need to be recovered out of your oil and then you’ll understand (same with all systems).


Ok if I understand, you’re saying you need 100k worth of ethanol to start extracting correct?
That’s where that number comes from?

And ya I would have to buy an external centrifuge with manual because it doesn’t come with one

Seems like cup or ethos is the way to go.

Just keep in mind no matter what ethanol system you get - you have to take the ethanol out of the oil after you extract - that can be a time consuming and/expensive problem.

You would need several roto vaps or a good FFE systems to take all that ethanol out so you can use it again and then fiurther process the oil or use as is.



Unless your plan is to blow it all off to atmosphere the way the pink house used to do with their butane.

You will need a way to RECOVER your solvent. A moonshine still is cheaper than a Faling Film Evaporator.

An FFE and it’s acoutremants is where the $100k comes from.

Doesn’t matter if you’re doing bucket Tek or using a CUP. You still need that liquor back in order to go again.

At less than $1k for a 50gal drum, you’ll need about $2k to start processing at 100lb a day.

If you’ve got a fuge and get 98% back (needs to go in the still still!) rather than 85% you’ll need more later, rather than sooner.


Ahh I get what you and GPG are saying…the rotovaps that’s right. That’s how you recover the solvent.

What’s the better option…rotovap or FFE?

You’ve got some reading to do.

Or if you’re in a hurry you might want to excersize what I refer to as the “buy a clue” option. by which I mean hire a decent consultant.

Nobody has time to learn all the pieces needed to make this work in the time frame they need to absorb it in order to have a hope of succeeding, so “you should buy a clue” is not a perjorative, it is an imperative.


Any consultants you or anyone can recommend?

I’m all ears

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Is no is ears required…


Holy crap I love this place

I’ll pay someone to consult. Robert Kiyosaki always said to pay the experts who have the know how
Thx so much guys