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Leaf Picks


Red Congolese

from House of Congo

A downright delicious smoke, with vivid flashes of terpenes foreshadowing the energizing, zippy ride to come.

In a landscape where all roads seem to lead to purple flowers with candy terps, Chris Geraghty focuses on the electrostatic, green and orange end of the spectrum. 

After cultivating for more than two decades in California – during which he scaled from a closet, to a commercial contract cultivation providing flowers for Harborside, to his own state-of-the-art facility in Sacramento – the NYC-born Irishman has found a niche with his own brand, House of Congo. 

HoC specializes in what Geraghty dubs “Equatorial Hybrids” – specifically Red Congolese, a lowkey favorite among some of the Leaf staff – and crosses the strain as a basis for breeding. 

“Equatorial hybrid is a term I started using to describe the regionality of the Cannabis we grow at the House of Congo, typically associated with the term sativa,” Geraghty said. “Nearly all Cannabis can be considered a hybrid since they are all results of breeding projects from different phenotypes or genotypes. … Effects are too complicated to narrow down to those terms and require some context, like the interaction of terpene and cannabinoid profiles.  Without attempting to create a difficult mapping of all these combinations, we felt it would be easier to group strains together by their origins. In our discovery, many terpene/cannabinoid profiles group together based on where they are from. Equatorial zone strains have different growing characteristics and flavors than their tropical zone cousins.”

HoC focuses solely on these strains to preserve the lineage of these varieties during a time when homogenization and trend-chasing seems to be the modus operandi of the industry. And it’s a good thing they do, because their Red Congolese is a phenomenal expression of the plant – bringing huge, bright-green kolas with shocks of kinked orange hairs emitting tantalizing, deafening terps. 

Believe us when we say that the aroma will fill your home if you crack the jar for more than a moment. 

This all translates to a downright delicious smoke, with vivid flashes of terpenes tickling your throat and foreshadowing the energizing, zippy ride to come. It’s one of those cases where you can instantly see why he built his entire business around this strain. 

“We value Congolese strains due to their unique flavor and effects,” said Geraghty. “Many have attributed the Red Congolese in particular to energizing effects without speedy, anxious feelings. We attribute its unique qualities to its limited hybridization and to where its parent genes originated.”

While we can’t get enough of his Red Congolese, we’re also excited to check out some pheno hunt projects Geraghty and his team have run using the Red as the bedrock. HoC currently offers King Congo (Leroy TK x Red Congolese) and White Congo (White Fire Alien x Red Congolese), which are both in-house crosses. He also plans to expand to offer Nigerian Haze and other Super Silver Haze crosses in 2024. 

Until then, we’ll keep an energized eye out while we puff on this Red Congolese.  


This article was originally published in the December 2023 issue of California Leaf.

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