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The Connoisseur Consumer

For the advanced Cannabis concentrates consumer, the Leaf offers a masterclass guide for higher level dab techniques.

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Picture this. 

It’s 2010. You just got to your weed dealer’s place because it’s faster to drive across town than to wait for him to come to you. You’re just there to buy a bag, man. Then, out of nowhere, he whips out a smoking contraption and suddenly you’re the guinea pig for your dealer-turned-backyard-chemist’s creations.  

He fires up a torch and blasts a titanium nail until it’s glowing red hot, tells you “It’s go time,” and drops a fat chunk of crumble on top as you inhale. As you pull the thousand degree cloud of vaporized Cannabis into your lungs, you are immediately destroyed – doubling over in pain as you cough harder than you ever have before.

This is unfortunately the way that many veteran consumers experienced Cannabis concentrates for the first time, nearly martyring themselves through the pursuit of higher heights. Thankfully, this fundamentally wrong approach to dabbing Cannabis concentrates has been retired as the industry continues to evolve and look for healthier, less abrasive methods of consuming these products.

The Next Level

In 2022, consumers have access to widely available concentrates-specific hardware – developed from the ground up to achieve the best dabbing experience possible. We also have access to the years of anecdotal data and a modest amount of papered research to help guide our evolution. It is in this era we find well-versed concentrates connoisseur, hash maker and Masters of Rosin judge, Adam Lee Simpson, and a technique he developed to enhance and diversify the experience of consuming Cannabis concentrates.

Born from the need to judge multiple entries in a short duration of time, Simpson has created what he calls the “bloom dab” – his way of assessing how robust and satisfying a particular concentrate is. The first step is to warm your banger enough to melt the concentrate, but not enough to burn your skin. Next, breathe in the aromatics as the concentrate melts into a thin film, using your senses to pick up on subtleties, both good and bad. Then (and this is where the technique becomes more advanced) the goal is to try to feel out how long those flavors last under the light heat you’ve given the banger. “The flavor will peak,” Simpson explains. “I call this the ‘Bloom Curve.’”

“Concentrates higher in sesquiterpene to monoterpene [ratios] will have a wider bloom curve than more monoterpene to sesquiterpene,” Simpson speculates.  

After 30-60 seconds of sussing out the bouquet of the concentrate, if there are no weird or off-putting aromatics, the next step is to consume the concentrate by applying a very light re-heat. This technique is not unlike when sommeliers and cicerones aerate the wines and beers they’re about to consume by swirling and inhaling them before consumption in order to help analyze them.

The Verdict

There are a lot of reasons to deviate from your current dabbing practices and try something new. After all, it’s becoming increasingly widely known that dabbing your concentrates at high temperatures can result in adverse effects to one’s health – which is why the practice of taking dabs off red-hot nails is now nearly obsolete.  

Beyond taking your dabs at low temperature, applying the ‘bloom dab’ technique can level up your consumption experience and help you more thoroughly enjoy the nuances and complexities each product has to offer.

While it could be argued that the ‘bloom dab’ technique is essentially an overly thought out cold start, there is every bit as much of an argument that this technique can be highly beneficial for someone that’s judging Cannabis concentrates in a competition format, or for those on the retail level being tasked with deciding whether or not to add a concentrate brand to their shelves. Or perhaps you’re just an avid connoisseur who prides yourself on your palate and wants to explore every facet of flavor each unique concentrate has to offer. Whatever your situation, we recommend giving it a try and experiencing this next level technique for yourself.

Photos by @natew415

About Nate Williams

Nate is a Bay Area born and raised Cannabis enthusiast and journalist working in the field since 2015. He worked as the Oregon Leaf Director until relocating to Sacramento at the beginning of 2020 to help launch California Leaf, where he currently serves as the magazine’s Sales Director. He enjoys organic sun-grown derived hash rosin, photography, and road cycling.

This article was originally published in the July 2022 issue of All Magazines.

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