The Source, which is manufactured by ExtractCraft, is a simple ethanol botanical oil extractor, that utilizes food grade alcohol as the solvent. This is a cool little piece of equipment, and with a little work, you can make outstanding extracts at home. There are many ways you could approach this and many more steps you could take than I am going to show here. For the purpose of this review, I will show a simple method that I have developed with some basic items:
-Silicone rubber spatula
-Bottle of 95 percent pure food grade alcohol
-Cooler with dry ice
Extract Botanical: Trim This is 25 grams of basic trim. This is nothing fantastic, but still contains some desirable oils.
Moisture Removal: The simplist way to remove water is with dry ice in a cooler. This will help pull any remaining moisture through sublimation, and will also freeze most of the wax inside the material. Technique: Position the bag adjacent or on the dry ice. Keep the Ziplock bag open and close the cooler.
Prepare The Source Machine:
Remove the lid from The Source and unscrew the reservoir cup.
Add Food Grade (ethanol) Alcohol:
I like to fill the cup half way. This gets me about 8 oz of alcohol. If I was doing an extraction with some higher grade material, I would use one ounce of alcohol for every gram of botanicals. Since it’s trim, I am using one once of alcohol, for 4.25 grams of botanical.
Note: Never use methanol or anything but ethanol (just be safe and use the stuff you can buy at the liquor store). Anything but consumer edible ethanol may result in injury (blindness) if consumed.
Add Alcohol to Ziplock Bag:
Pour the alcohol into a Ziplock bag and put it in the cooler with the dry ice.
Cool With Dry Ice:
Dry ice is around (minus) -109 F. Getting everything this cold will help reduce the amount of wax removed during our extraction. I like to let it sit in the sealed up cooler for about 45 minutes, to an hour. You can go for longer if you wish, it all depends on the amount of moisture in your starting material.
Add Chilled Alcohol With Botanicals:
Pour the chilled alcohol into the bag with the trim.
Cool Botanicals with Alcohol in Cooler With Dry Ice:
After mixing the alcohol with our botanicals, set it back in on the dry ice and let it soak for 10-20 minutes. The alcohol is the solvent, and this is when the actual extraction occurs. If it soaks for 10 minutes or less you will usually get a nice golden extract. The longer its soaks the more chlorophyll you will absorb making your end extract much darker in color.
Longer Time = Solvent Releases wax and other products
Prepare Removal of Alcohol And Extract:
Cut Corner of Ziplock bag.
Pour Alcohol and Extracted Liquid:
Pour the liquid through the strainer. If you want filter the solution a couple times, you can use a coffee filter to get an extra clean solution.
Set The Source Machine:
Screw the reservoir back in place, put the glass lid with the upper seal on and close the vacuum release screw. At this point if it’s plugged in you can just hit the green button and the process will start.
Run the App:
Download the app, which allows you to control and monitor the process. When you start the process, the vacuum will turn on and the reservoir will begin to heat up. Remember the extraction process is all ready over. We are now boiling off and collecting the alcohol, so we can reuse it in future extractions.
Small Pan Cooled Condenser:
There is a small pan included with The Source. It’s intended to be filled with ice to speed up the condensation of alcohol inside the top of the vacuum chamber. Fill with water and freeze overnight to use.
Evaporating the Alcohol Using Heat:
Once the machine gets up to temperature, you can see small drops of alcohol forming on the sides and the top. It rolls off an gets caught in the collector at the bottom of the vacuum chamber. This is the alcohol evaporating and condensing.
While the machine is processing, it is heating the alcohol, and it is evaporating. As the process goes continues, you can see the bubbles get smaller, as the level of solution goes down.
Mid-Process Tincture Option:
If your end product is tincture, stop with the reservoir cup about 1/4 full. This will result in a potent tincture.
Nearing End of Process:
When the alcohol is almost entirely boiled off you will see slow bubbles forming both large and small. This is something to watch and decide when you’re going to stop the process. I usually wait until the bubbles are very small and forming very slowly.
End of Process:
As you learn technique, you will know when the process is near completion. Trial-and-error is your best guide. Write down the weight of liquid initially, then at the end, and log times.
Use the silicone spatula to scrape out your extract and transfer on parchment paper. Let it sit overnight to evaporate any remaining alcohol. 12 hours gives it consistency for dabs or topping bowls. If you have a vacuum oven you can get a shatter consistency quit easily.
Machine and Process Issues:
The downside to the machine/process is that some the alcohol finds it way into the bottom of the vacuum chamber, and is missed by the collector. It’s not a lot of alcohol, and is easy to wipe up. I use a paper towel to soak up the missed alcohol and use that to clean the reservoir cup.
Overall I will say this is an easy and fun piece of equipment.
I would recommend it for any hobbyist extractor, and is an excellent addition to any kitchen.