A group of cannabis aficionados and writers have gathered in a deli in the SOMA (South of Market) neighborhood of San Francisco in the early evening. The smell of premium herb grown in Mendocino County permeates the small space where, during business hours, walk-up counter service delivers reuben sandwiches oozing with cheese. It’s the launch of a new vaporizer, the Prima by Vapir, and guests have been invited to freely vaporize the herbal selections throughout the sandwich shop that’s nested in between hip beer bars and fondue restaurants serving Grenache on tap.
A vaporized hit of ’78 LA OG Affie, an offering from the House of Aficionado gene pool, tastes of earth and lemon. But, even more so, all the strains sampled throughout the cool October evening also share the distinct taste of freedom – the freedom to openly enjoy one of California’s finest agricultural offerings in a social space.
It’s a big time for farmers and growers in Mendocino County to “come out” says Nat Buttrich, the founder behind Madrone California, a network of cultivators and farmers from Northern California. Madrone has brought out for strains to sample the ’78 LA OG Affie as well as Mr. Nice, Blueberry and Sour Flower. Beyond Buttrich’s verbal descriptions of the cannabis being sampled, Madrone has provided menus highlighting the THC and CBD ratios in each strain as well as their terpene profiles. The Prima, at its lowest temperature setting, helps to bring out the flavor profiles of the vaporized cannabis. Mr. Nice is a strain that has it all, says Madrone’s president Ruby Steinbrecher.
“It’s got the look, it’s got the nose, it’s got the flavor,” she says while grinding up a sample and noting the complimentary flavors of the strain’s peppery notes alongside the crab cake.
Everyone in the group of about 20 is testing the new vaporizer, experimenting with the heat settings and getting the feel for the product that spent a year and a half in development, Vapir’s chairman Hamid Emarlou explains. Two journalists from WIRED, with offices no more than a few blocks away, are present to explore the technology and science behind the new device. The handheld vaporizer uses both convection and conduction heating. In addition, it can be used for both dry herb and concentrates. Put a ball of hash in the chamber and the Prima drives like a Ferrari, says Vapir spokesman Matthew J Cote.
The chamber of the Prima was intentionally crafted as compact and provides about eight to 10 good puffs per session. However, on this particular evening, the sessions appear never-ending as the tastings continue long after the presentations have concluded.
“As you know, all of this is personal because it depends on your body chemistry and what works for you,” Steinbrecher said as the group puffed together into the night.
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