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By Melissa Hutsell
Pictured above: Caliva’s family of Fresh Flower vape cartridges. Photo provided by Caliva.
Concentrates are, “the hottest product category in cannabis.” That’s according to analysis from BDS Analytics and Arcview Market research, which also found that the sales of isolates, waxes, rosins, extracts and the like will outpace flower sales and reach $8 Billion by 2022.
I have not jumped on the concentrates bandwagon. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer flower. However, I was curious to try Caliva’s new line of Fresh Flower vape extracts, which were designed to stay true to the flower experience.
Fresh Flower vs Botanical Terpenes
The Fresh Flower line is created with the company’s award-winning, indoor-grown strains, including Z Cube, Sour Diesel Lemon Kush, Alien OG, Strawberry Banana, and Blackjack.
Unlike Caliva’s other extracts, which include botanical terpenes, the Fresh Flower lineup is created using only strain specific cannabis terpenes. That means that the terpenes used in the extracts are derived specifically from the strain itself, no other plants.
Extracts are made by stripping cannabinoids of plant matter. The process produces highly concentrated oil, chock full of cannabinoids like THC. However, many operators add plant compounds, like terpenes, back into the extract to add flavor and aroma. Sometimes, those terpenes are sourced from other plants.
Caliva only re-introduces the terpenes that naturally occur in the particular strain they extract. There are no other additives, according to the company.
All extracts are tested by Harren’s Lab in Hayward, CA. They are available by request. According to those results, each extract has more than 83% THC, and trace cannabinoids like CBD.
The Strain Specific Extracts
I tried Strawberry Banana, Blackjack—both limited edition varieties—and Z Cube, the company’s signature strain.
Z Cube is the result of a year-long pheno-hunt, which compared the physical characteristics of 40+ strains. Caliva researchers found this particular one to standout. They weren’t alone; Z Cube won first place at the 2019 High Times Cup for “Best Hybrid.”
Strawberry Banana, Banana Kush x Bubble Gum. This extract is super delicious, and offers a layered tasting experience. At first puff, I tasted strawberries and cream. But then I got banana, and then strawberry, and then banana again with subtle plant-y undertones. Yum! Effects were euphoric, and energizing.
Z Cube, cross between Zkittlez, and Zkittlez x Eddy Lepp OG plant. This award-winning strain was my partner’s favorite of the line-up. Though the product’s description says it has rose and berry undertones, he tasted sweet cucumber mixed with melon. I, on the other hand, tasted orange peel and heavy pine. Like the strain, its effects leaned more toward an indica—relaxing, and balanced.
Blackjack, Black Domina x Jack Herer. This extract stays true to the ever-popular Blackjack strain. It’s citrusy, earthy, sweet—like Blue Dream. It’s also potent AF—the strongest in the line in terms of effects. Though it’s heavy, this extract offers a balanced head and body high, and promotes focus—i.e. it’s stimulating.
All provided smooth, satisfying smokes. That’s noteworthy because, for some, vaping doesn’t offer the same hits a bong, pipe or joint would. Most impressive, however, was the flavor in each puff.
We puffed on these while watching Space Force on Netflix, and Grant on the History Channel. Both made great pairings!
Each came in a half-gram sized cartridge with c-cell batteries that fit perfectly onto a G Pen. I used the G Pen’s lowest heat settings for each strain, which worked well.
Packaging: Cartridges come in artfully designed boxes, created by Caliva’s own graphic artist, Akiva Levi. The boxes were fairly easy to open (hint: break tamper-proof tab, push down at top while pulling out from the bottom).
At this time, the company does not offer recycling options for the single-use cartridges.
Price point: Fresh Flower cartridges come in at $39 per half-gram. The cost is moderate, considering the average half-gram ranges from $20-$60 at California dispensaries.
Philanthropy: Caliva offers ongoing senior and veteran discounts at 20%. The company also donates to causes such as Clear My Record, a nonprofit working to clear convictions. Additionally, the company matched up to $10,000 in donations to Silicon Valley Strong this April amid COVID-19.
Caliva also formed a partnership with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Cannabis Equity Initiative. In addition to donating 4.2% of delivery and retail sales on 4/20, Caliva donated $20,000 to HBCU this June.
For those reasons, it earns 4.7 out of 5 stars!