The New Zealand vaporizer scene can be a bit overloaded with jargon, conduction, convection, pens, mods and desktops, it can all be a bit overwhelming to a neophyte. One of the most bewildering phrases though is ‘Vapor quality’ what does it mean exactly? Well in short it’s an engineering term.
In thermodynamics vapor quality refers to the amount of a mass of liquid that is vapor! For example if a mass is totally vapor then its vapor quality is 100%, but if it’s totally liquid then it has a vapor quality of 0%. When we apply this to a dry herb vaporizer then the thicker the vapor you’re inhaling with each hit, the higher the vapor quality.
How do you control the vapor quality? Simple, most vaporizers, both portable and desktop, come with a variety of temperature settings. In some cases they even let you adjust by increments of a single degree!
If you prefer a subtler, lighter hit then keep your temperature down low, this will evaporate less of your dry herb and result in a thinner vapor that will go down much easier! Something to be aware of when you’re vaping at low temperatures is to take long, slow draws. This will give the vapor a chance to build up in the chamber. After a few long and slow draws the vapor should have gathered sufficiently to allow you to take short tokes while maintaining a thin vapor quality.
At higher temperatures more of the active ingredients in the dry herb will build up and allow you to inhale a thick, flavorful vapor. Be wary when you’re turning up the temperature for a higher vape quality, too high and you could risk combustion! This is a big risk with conduction vaporizers as they put the dry herb in direct contact with the heating element. All combustion will get you is nasty acrid smoke and wasted herb! As with thin vapor the first few draws with thick vapor should be long and slow to allow it to build up!
Change Your Herb
Vapes work by exploiting the boiling points of the active ingredients in your herb. The solid mass of the herb is left relatively untouched as all the good stuff you want to enjoy is evaporated away from it, leaving all the toxins associated with combustion behind. This is by and far the most efficient way to enjoy your herb as less of it is lost to the fires of combustion! Vaporisation will only go so far and eventually all the good stuff in your herb will begin to run out! At this point you’ll begin to notice a serious drop in vapor quality and a nasty burnt popcorn taste. The only solution here is to switch out your herb for something fresher!
Clean Your Vape!
Over time your vaporizer will develop a build up of resin, this is perfectly natural; your dry herb will constantly be releasing resin naturally. Eventually this will begin to clog your air path and your chamber. You don’t want that build up to get too severe as it can impact your vapor quality in a variety of ways. For one thing resin build up in the camber can create hot spots that increase the risk of combustion. You bought an expensive vaporizer to avoid the nasty acrid smoke that comes with combustion, right? Another issue is resin build up in the air path, this can block your vapor and make each draw you inhale harder and harder. Eventually most of your vapor will be trapped and wasted simply trying to get down the air path! The solution to this issue is simple: Clean your vape! Simply get some cleaning solution and a small brush and gently break up the resin build up and wipe off any leftover residue. If your vaporizer uses screens between the air path and the chamber it’s important to switch them out regularly as they will naturally accrue resin over time and eventually clog.
Grind Your Herb
While there’s nothing stopping you from simply tossing your dry herb into your vapes chamber it’s generally a much better idea to grind it. Grinding your herb increases the surface area that’s exposed to the heat of your vape’s oven; this increases the quality of the vapor massively! It is important to tailor the fineness of the grind to the type of vaporizer you have. If it is a convection vaporizer then a slightly more chunky grind is ideal, this will allow the hot air to move freely around the chamber, releasing more vapor! If you’re using a conduction vaporizer then you’ll want to use a fine grind; this will put a much larger surface area against your heating element, leading to more even vape results. Of course you should make sure to avoid over-packing your vape as this will lead to, suprise suprise: Combustion!