Kief or Trim THC wash for distillation? And why?

Hello all. I’m looking for feedback from professionals and hobbyists alike. Basically wondering what experience anyone has comparing and contrasting washing methods between using kief or basic plant material. All I’ve heard from the few contacts I have is that using material in drum is more efficient and works very well. I don’t disagree, however, I’m curious if it is in fact more efficient. Possibly it will just even out. My assumption are that it might yield slightly less, it would cut down on post processing, and definitely reduce ethanol volume leading to less evaporation time. But I’d like some real figures from those that have actually done it. I believe first and foremost; what type of yield are you getting using kief?


I’m glad you found this place.
but come on. do your homework first.

it’s a single word search!

Bonus points: look in the data dump. find GW’s patents. and tell us if they kief first or not. Lots of PhD’s on that project. Which way did they go?


Hello @cyclopath. That’s encouraging GW agrees cutting mass down is more efficient. That’s what has me intrigued and searching threads to quantify. It does seem like a lot more work on the front end. And I’m curious what others have experienced. Also, I believe the biggest thing in this debate (I’m having with operators) is; what are the differences in yield between kief and plant material in regards to distillate? The team I look up to the most simply said it’s not efficient. Another swears by it. Im determined to quantify the yield, and compare and contrast the two sops if yield turns out comparable. What better way to get more feedback than here, right? Have you used kief to produce distillate?

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Yield is significantly less when kiefing. There will be a good amount of oils left in the plant matter afterwards. As far as yielf of kief vs plant matter well obviously kief will be much higher


I want to clarify my first question. Assuming 100lbs of trim would yield 10lbs of quality kief. How much would that yield in distillate? And how much would running 100lbs of straight trim through drum yield in distillate when all said and done? I’m assuming they’d be similar because they’re both effective at removing trichomes. To prove this, I’m curious if anyone has taken the notes. If so, put the yield percentages up :money_mouth_face:

100lbs trim extracted/washed in drum = distillate
100lbs extracted to kief, washed = distillate

(Edited: “extracted to kief”)

I understand yield is just the tip of the iceberg because both extracts definitely require different procedures for filtering and sounds like kief has its issues. Possibly “efficiency” is a matter of opinion in the end. Im interested in different manufacturers opinions. Because on the surface it seems using minimal wattage to tumble kief would be more efficient than the cost of running rotovap. It could be a lot quicker too depending on size of tumbler. And ethanol. It’s expensive, super taxed, storage is strict and the more you use the longer it takes to evaporate.

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yeah, the longer you kief, the lower the potency is on the collected material.

the balance is similar to any extraction method, where the quality of the extracted material goes down if you attempt to get ALL the goodies.

On the extraction side, when your input is 40-45% target, yields are definitely higher per unit solvent or unit biomass, than when your starting material is 10-12% target. It just about balancing what’s left in the kiefed material to the overall work load and energy costs. recovering ethanol is not cheap.

You are correct @Trichomie, GW chose to kief first. At least that’s what my reading says. If you’ve followed through the various discussions around here, eg Extracting kief

you may have noticed that when extracting with CO2 it might not make sense to kief first. because the solvent doesn’t really have a high affinity for our target. so you need to use more solvent if you pack more cannabinoids in the tube.

I’ve done a couple of small scale extractions.
Enough to know that there are hurdles.

I may also have said something rash like “yeah I can figure that out” to my partners in the last couple of days. I’m hoping Jan’s R&D goes well :wink:


I don’t have my notes with me. But I have written down everything I’ve done.

Going by the 17kg kief that yielded 3.5 kg dist that was 20.5% yield.

My last trim run I used 16-22lbs (22lbs = 10kg) trim per 10 gal etho and got roughly 1kg dist. So that’s 10% yield. But I get that trim done in an hour. Kief just takes longer due to more steps. I also used dry ice in my tumbler top make sure I got most kief out. It definitely crushed it and let more plant matter get in the mix.

I need to do less work with the trim compared to the kief which is why I opted for the trim/flower compared to kief. I won’t get back to my notes in a couple of weeks unfortunately. So this is at the moment what I can help with. I believe the highest yield from trim was around 12-15%. Need to verify that though.


How much material did it take to yield 17kg kief?


I wasn’t the one who ran that and I don’t remember what my own results were due to not having my notes with me. They used a tumbler that blows co2 through it to blast the triches off.


Like a gold trommel, but with co2 nozzles vs water.

“The trich trommel”

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@BG305. Come on dude. I know you have to have input in this area as your ln2 kief trommels are the most unique tumblers I’ve seen to date.

And probably the largest! :shushing_face:

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Man, this is a deep rabbit hole that I have not found the bottom of yet. The idea with “kief” is to take only the trich head and leave behind everything else. The problem with this is that different strains produce different size trich heads. So one would need an extensive data base on many strains. Then you need a whole lot of tumbling drums with different micron screens some you could swap out according to the strain your are tumbling. The other key just like when using solvents is the temperature your tumbling at. I have tried the dry ice method and would say it’s the worst way to get down close to -80c because it beats the product to a pulp and you get plant matter thru your screen. This is What has been my limiting factor up till now, a unit that can handle sub -100c temperatures. I just designed a new unit that will let me tumble on a commercial level and at super low temperatures. To answer the OP’s question in short. I have been able to extract 16.6% clean “kief” consistently with the equipment I have been using. I have not tried any ethanol extraction as of yet as we are on another path to distillate with a solvent less method using the Kief. I have done some experiments with solvents and at the end came up with the same yeild as tumbling when going to Diamonds. There is always a 4-8% left behind on the biomass that you tumble so that can later be ran with a solvents to extract that plus the extra stuff no one wants. I will try and load a video in a min.


This is a Tumbler that is available on the market that we experimented with. It didn’t survive the experiments so I ended up modifying it heavily. It will now work around the -80c area with out a problem. The blue hoses and manifold you see in the top was a CO2 injection mod that I did.


Let them all fall thru and let your silk screens sort em out


This is a good process for personal use. It isn’t scalable for large commercial operations looking to extract let’s say 1000 #'s a day. This is a good idea though with the multiple screens to filter out the plant matter.

yards of silk screen and some vibrators would disagree


How would you collect all the material left on top of the screen, employees? They do have machines with type of tech they just an scalable. It’s easier to swap out a 25 # drum with a pre loaded one and keep tumbling.

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I don’t know your scale, there are solutions at every scale. If you are going through the effort of collecting kief, you might as well grade it too. I am assuming you are trying to limit plant matter coming though, and that is exactly what grading is for.

The chinese in california have shown that grading kief at scale is possible with their water hash. There are solutions at every scale and at every budget. Kiefing is one of the safest methods of extraction if you have earpro


Nice, but you can see how dark that product is. We are tying to eliminate plant matter in the final product. We are looking more for this color.


That product is before drying. Yes it is missing some terps, but with clean water and a patient operator you can have spectacular results.

Are you arguing against grading kief? Don’t do it then! But I’m just saying it is possible and depending on how you do it, VERY scaleable.

I’m not saying that your sub zero machine isn’t amazing! But most of the stores extracting kief cannot afford an extraction license, equipment or permits, hence why they are extracting kief.