In this blog, we share an interview with Drew Emmer of Boveda, who talks about 2-way humidity control and how Boveda produces an industry-leading product that is actively impacting the cannabis space.
Once you cut down your cannabis plants, the battle for preservation begins. After you cut down your crop, your actions can do one of two things; preserve the quality and potency of your flower, or degrade it and lessen its value to your customer base. Because of this, GreenBroz continually advocates for the gentle handling and proper harvest process that will have your flower in top condition when it reaches your consumer.
To that end,GreenBrozhas joined Boveda (among other top industry brands), for the'Save the Terps'initiative. The goal of this initiative is exactly as it sounds, gathering renowned brands who all share in the mission of protecting the purity of the plant that powers this amazing industry.
Previous blog posts have discussed ways in which GreenBroz is actively working to preserve the terpenes of your harvest. In this blog, we share an interview with Drew Emmer of Boveda, who talks about 2-way humidity control and how Boveda produces an industry-leading product that is actively impacting the cannabis space. Additionally, Drew discussing how the technology works, how you can tell from the smell of your flower if it's working, and what consumers should be looking for in the product they are purchasing.
Drew Emmer - Boveda Expert Q&A
Q: Can you give me a little background on what Bovida is all about?
Drew: Boveda is a 24-year-old company that cut its teeth with a solution to a problem in the cigar industry. Five years later, the company found another need for this kind of portable, precise humidity control in the guitar and precious musical instrument business. The name of the company at the time was Humidipak and we developed a solution for guitars.
So, if you're going to go out and spend five, six, seven, 10,000 dollars on a beautiful guitar, the last thing you need to happen is to have those precious woods dry out and you end up with a broken guitar. So, we solved the problem in the cigar industry. We solved the problem in the guitar and violin, viola, cello, that whole industry.
Then, about 13 years ago, we discovered that a lot of our products were being bought in huge volumes at a handful of specific stores in cannabis country, Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon.
So, we reached out to people that we knew in the Cannabis industry and they helped us develop a very specific humidity level for cannabis preservation. And that's really where we stand today. Bovedais a salt-based product. Salt is key. Salt is in imperative ingredient when you are going to precisely control humidity. You can't precisely control humidity with other elements. Different natural salts that actually fit a humidity target for cannabis is really why we were able to transition effectively into the cannabis industry.
"What we discovered is instead of having a situation where we're stealing terps, what was actually happening with the Boveda pack is it delivers a monolayer of moisture that surrounds the flower, that surrounds the trichome, that creates a protective barrier that minimizes that amount of terpenes and cannabinoids that are escaping from the flower."
Q: Do you have any examples of ways that people tried to control moisture in cannabis in the past before Bovida packs?
Drew: I have personal examples from when I was in college. A long time ago, we used to have a friend in Hawaii that would grace us with an occasional package of beautiful buds, and they were all medically sealed and beautifully packaged. But, as soon as we would open them up, the speed of degradation... I mean everybody that loves weed knows that it gets dry in a hurry, depending on where you are.
We would open up a pound of that bud and it would get crunchy in a hurry. So, back in the day, we used to use a wet paper towel or we used to use tortillas. We used to have a Boveda shirt that said, "Save your tortillas for taco Tuesday," because people would throw in a tortilla, it had a certain moisture content, into a bag of weed, and it would make a difference, but you're also exposing it to all sorts of organic compounds that could affect your bud.
People put in pieces of banana, citrus, orange peel, orange slices. But, we were the first precise, portable, disposable, no-hassle, two-way, precise humidity control. And precision is really important. You guys, at GreenBroz, know all about precision. I mean, you've made a name for yourself by inventing and propagating throughout the industry, really precise equipment that delivers a real quality outcome.
It's the same thing for Boveda. We're very different in that we're a packet that you insert into whatever you want to keep at a precise humidity level. And when I say precise humidity level, I'm saying a Boveda pack that's rated at a 62% relative humidity is going to absorb humidity in a pack that's wet down to the 62% number, and it's going to add humidity to a pack up to the 62% number.
So, its genuine, precise, two-way humidity control for whatever it's packaged with. And in our case, we're talking about cannabis flower.
Q: What percentage is better for Colorado's dry environment?
Drew: Colorado is really the reason why we came up with the secondary Boveda cannabis humidity pack. We initially issued a 62% pack. The general rule of thumb is you want to get cannabis flower below 65% and above 55% for the ideal window of precision for keeping cannabis at its ultimate quality.
There were certain growers in Colorado that challenged us to come up with a number between 55 and 59, and we found a natural salt that worked at 58%. So, a lot of people in Colorado use 58%. A lot of people in Colorado still don't use moisture control. Colorado is just a really old school, traditional market, even though we have a strong following in Colorado. So much of your weed in Colorado is not protected by precise, two-way humidity control.
We've issued a challenge to people to have an opportunity to test our products side by side with Boveda and without Boveda. Or with Bovida against any other, and there are other knockoff brands that have come into our market and tried to compete with us. We're all about people having their own experience and making up their own minds. We've had aggressive brands come into our space. But, we're the original creators of the category and we've gone out of our way to deliver a really precise, quality product.
GreenBroz isn't the only trimmer company in the world or handling company in the world, but you guys have established yourselves as a category creator and you've really done some things innovation wise to set you apart from everybody else in the industry. So, it's been our experience too. We established the category 24 years ago. We've constantly improved on it.
We'll stake our reputation against any and all comers. But, when people attacked us they said that humidity control steals terps. And we set out to research that because we take it seriously when somebody criticizes us, and we came out with a whole bunch of papers and a whole bunch of studies that not only refuted the facts that we steal terpenes, but in reality, the science is proven that we preserve terps.
Q: Tell us more about how you 'Save the Terps' with Boveda.
Drew: So, I remember every bag I opened back in the day, you get a big nose head off the bag. And, so often people judge the quality of flower off that smell because they really don't have anything else to go by. They judge it by that nose head that you get off the bag when you open it. Good news and bad news. The good news is, the smell that you're smelling is indicative of what used to be in the flower.
The bad news is, those terps, all that pungent yumminess you're experiencing, that's history. There may still be a significant amount of that in the flower that you're smelling, and I think everyone certainly hopes and prays that that's the case. But, when you take a nose hit, that's in the headspace. That's not in the flower. That's coming out and that's just beautifully intoxicating and wonderful to experience and everybody has a positive emotional reaction to that. But, what we discovered was if you properly control the humidity in your storage packaging, and then likewise in your retail finished packaging, you're going to give your consumer a better quality outcome.
They're going to have more pleasure and, the key thing is to have an allegiance to a brand to actually come back and buy it again because they had such a great experience. If you smoke a harsh joint or... I call them joints because I'm old, if you smoke a harsh cone or a harsh pre-roll, you're not necessarily going to go racing back to the dispensary to get that. Regardless of the level of quality of flower, we've actually had people package mid-range quality products with Boveda that gets higher ratings from people and consumer feedback studies, it's getting higher ratings than some of the higher quality bud that's delivered without Boveda.
No matter how good it was at the grow facility, and we trust that it was primo when it left the grow facility, in the process of transportation and the process of sitting in distribution, sitting on the shelf... there's leak down on those packages. The bud continues to decay, and if it's not properly protected, you don't get as high quality of an outcome.
Does Boveda Absorb Terps?
Q: Do Boveda salts absorb terps? Now, you kind of just hit on that. But, do you want to touch on it again?
Drew: The direct answer is no. You're going to have a different experience with properly humidified bud than you are with bud that's dried out or is drying out.
What you've got to understand is you kill the plant when you cut it down. Okay? And my apologies to anybody who thinks that live resin actually exists. It's not really alive. I get what they mean by that, but you killed the plant when you cut it down. You put it through a process of drying and curing in order to equalize the certain gases that you want to get out of the flower, and put it in a position to be premium quality for consumption.
You're either going to support it with humidity control or you're not. Some people chose not to for a variety of reasons, maybe because they believe that their bud is so good, that it sells so fast, and it gets to markets so quickly that they don't need humidity.
That's a really fair opinion to have. Everybody has a right to their own opinion, but you really don't have a right to your own facts. We go into markets, buy up all sorts of brands, and we take their flower back to the hotel or back to our local reps that are in those markets and they have water activity readers to test the flowers.
You might have flower that tests out between 55 and 65 at the grow facility before it ships. But, if I'm in the heart of Colorado, I'm going to find a lot of stuff that tests out at 28, 32, 35, 45. If you find good bud that tests out better than 48% in Colorado, you've got an extraordinary brand. An extraordinary brand that's delivering awesome quality.
But, if we isolated what the difference is between 48% humidity and 55 or 58%, that delta is really significant in terms of the amount of weight. Everything is being sold by weight. And also, the condition of those terpenes and the cannabinoids. As much as the water is evaporating out of the flower, it's not leaving on its own, it's leaving with terpenes and all sorts of cannabinoids.
Its processes of degradation like that we're trying to slow down. We're not, in fact, eliminating the degradation because organic compounds continue to degrade over time with oxygen and different things. You may have a two to three-week window with the unprotected flower to have a decent experience, and after two to three weeks, and that's not very long when you think about packaging, distribution, store shelf.
Everybody up to this point has been talking about access. Access, access, access. It's all been about getting cannabis. Now that we've established a fairly consistent supply chain of action in the cannabis industry where it's legal. Now the conversation is shifting to quality. The future for cannabis is all about quality.
So we did all this research on terpenes and where they were going and what was happening to them and we determined that, first of all, none of them are going into our packs. None of it's getting absorbed by the salts. Even if your fingers touch cannabis flower, they'll smell like cannabis because there are a little bit of terpenes on your fingers. They're also going to get a little on the paper of the pack. But that's a minimums amount of terpenes.
What we discovered is instead of having a situation where we're stealing terps, what was actually happening with the Boveda pack is it delivers a monolayer of moisture that surrounds the flower, that surrounds the trichome, that creates a protective barrier that minimizes that amount of terpenes and cannabinoids that are escaping from the flower.
So we're actually the original terpene shield. That monolayer of moisture comes around the trichome head and preserves it, keeps it in as high quality of the situation as it can possibly be in.
Our goal at the end of the day is to have all of our partners and quality brands choose to work with Boveda because they want to have brand loyalty. They want to have people come back and buy the flower again.
The other thing that we love to tell people is, especially in markets where you're buying ridiculously dry bud, if you want to have a better smoking experience, ask your dispensary. "Where's the Boveda?"
So, if you're at the dispensary and you're buying something unprotected, grab some of these because they'll either sell them to you or give them to you.
Take that flower and put it in a glass jar, or whatever you're using for storage. This will rejuvenate your weed overnight. So, if you bought dry bud, put a Boveda in there overnight and taste the different the next day. It is dramatic, the difference the next day.
"If you asked us, they last too long. One of the reasons Boveda is not only the highest quality product in the marketplace but also one of the higher-priced products in the marketplace is because they last a long time. This pack will last six to 12 times longer than any other pack in the industry. So, when you go to compare us to other packs, make sure you take into consideration that we last a long time."
Q: How long will a pack last? We talked about how much it will help, but how long will a pack last?
Drew: That's a great question. So, it depends on the conditions at the beginning of the process. And it depends on the conditions in your area. We've had people take a pound in Santa Rosa, California, or Humboldt County, California, or at the grow facility in Colorado. We've had people put our 67-gram pack, which is the size that goes into a pound, they put that in a pound and we've had people leave it for up to almost a year and the way you can tell if a Bovida pack is spent is if it gets crispy and rigid.
The only thing inside this pack is a natural salt, there's a different natural salt for each humidity level, purified water, and a binding agent. So, as the water dissipates out of this pack, all that's left in there is the salt. So, it gets brittle. When it starts to get brittle, it's time to get a new Boveda. That's the shortest answer.
To go into more detail, it depends on how often you open and close your container. We've had guys show us packs where they have lasted, seven, eight, nine months.
So, if you asked us, they last too long because one of the reasons Boveda is not only the highest quality product in the marketplace but also one of the higher-priced products in the marketplace is because they last a long time. This pack will last six to 12 times longer than any other pack in the industry. So, when you go to compare us to other packs, make sure you take into consideration that we last a long time.
Q: When should the Boveda pack be introduced to cannabis after drying?
Drew: I can tell you what common practices are, but we don't pretend to be experts on curing even though our product is so precise. You have to have a period of time of straight drying that happens on a rack or hanging, or whatever your particular practice is. There has to be a period of dry. The curing process really begins probably after 10 to 15 days. I don't know. It used to be that people were in such a rush to get to the market that the drying and curing process was really brief.
We've had people with craft cannabis though, that are doing cures with temperature control, humidity control and specifically designed packaging for long term cures. We've got people curing for three months, six months. That's really rare. But, it's starting to happen.
Typically the Boveda comes in after the drying process. The one to three week drying process, whatever the circumstances are in your ares. That's typically when the Boveda comes into play because Boveda is precise, it will absorb excess water, so you're still going to have stuff coming out of the flower that the Boveda pack is going to allow it to keep doing its curing process, but it's not going to let it go down below that number that's printed on the pack.
The curious thing with a lot of these markets is, there's some craft growers in California and Colorado that insist on driving the flower down to 50% and then letting it sit at 50% for a period of time, and then rehydrating into storage. So, they'll take it down to 50 and they'll bring it back up to the 58 to 62% range for storage. It's all personal preference. You're all crafts people, even the home grower, by trial and error is going to learn what works best for them.
So, we want to support you in developing your own best practices. We don't want to dictate to you that this is how you got to do it, and there's a lot of great stories.
"what we discovered was if you properly control the humidity in your storage packaging, and then likewise in your retail finished packaging, you're going to give your consumer a better quality outcome. They're going to have more pleasure and, the key thing is to have an allegiance to a brand to actually come back and buy it again because they had such a great experience."
Q: Anything you want to mention before we go?
Drew: Yes, take the Boveda challenge. We're going to show you empirically how Bovida can change your bottom line because our saying is, "If you give us 50 cents, we'll give you a dollar," because so many of you are overpacking your retail packages in order to compensate for shrinkage, and we can solve that for you.
Boveda is a hell of a lot less expensive than cannabis flower is and we can also help you on the backend with your storage. For every percent that you lose of humidity, there's a significant amount of weight that's coming out of your product. So, we can show you that in black and white and you can decide for yourself whether the investment in Boveda is going to pay off.
The other thing that we'll do, we'll put our money where our mouth is, we'll guarantee the outcome. So, not only will we show you how we're going to impact your return on investment, but we'll guarantee it and stand behind our guarantee. So, you're never at risk with Boveda, but you're at tremendous peril with cannabis flower if you don't take care of it. We have distributors all over the world, so no matter where you are, you can get Boveda packs and test it out for yourself. Once you see the results, you will be hooked!