Tangwena's Malawi-Style Cob Cure: Fermented Cannabis


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Since my first buzz at the age of 22 I've been searching for an elusive euphoric experience, one that connected me to a deeper awareness, insight, and hallucinatory inspiration one might more often attribute to ceremony than recreation. After years of dreaming, and following three years of learning to grow my own cannabis, I've danced around the edges of my dream, but so far the Dark Devil Auto was the closest thing to otherworldliness I'd come across.

There was a singular moment in my youth where I was transported by the after effects of Columbian Gold, which memory may or may not be influenced by the hunky tennis player that shared that experience with me. Just in case he wasn't the cause of the memories being so......delicious, I'll be growing a Columbian Gold this year. A girl has to know. :4:

I'll be cobbing that eventual harvest.

"Cobbing?" you inquire. "What is cobbing?"

I'm so glad you asked. :slide:

Well, it turns out there's a member over at ICMag, a sister site, but one I can't link to without violating everyone's guidelines, that has worked with his community to perfect a method of curing that he believes closes replicates the cobbed buds he grew up appreciating in Africa. Tangwena was frustrated for years at the inferior quality of the euphoric experience with western-style drying techniques. For decades he devoted himself to the process of replicating the flavors and euphoric effects he remembered from his earlier years, but using safer methods.

In Africa the buds were cobbed and buried for fermentation, creating magical alchemy that transformed good bud into intense bud. Be forewarned, this is not cannabis you want to smoke as a newbie. At least not alone. Lol! Burying your cannabis can be problamatic from a sanitary perspective, particularly in the control of microorganisms that promote mold. Tangwena overcame that problem with vacuum sealing, and then he worked out a timeframe that gets the buds fermented and ready to cure in less than two weeks from harvest.

Vacuum seal the finished buds and let it cure for three months and you'll have an end product that will change how you think of your cannabis. From reading their accounts you'll change that perspective when they first come out of the cob after a week or so fermenting. :slide:

His thread is titled "Malawi style cob curing." When you've achieved success with this technique you're going to want to thank him. It'd be a nice gesture to stop by and pay your respects. If you don't want to bother with a membership to do so you can let me know and I'll pass it on. I think he and I are going to be talking about this technique for many years.

Do yourself a favor, go to his thread and read his accounts of the euphoria. Come back ready to play. :4:

Tangwena's thread's been up for years and runs nearly 250 pages. They welcomed me with open arms, thrilled to share what they learned as a team, and even reworked the flow chart fellow member repuk developed to reflect current knowledge. In a nutshell, this is our process. No need to reinvent the wheel.

I know, impressed the hell out of me too. :circle-of-love:

I want to do this. I'm going to do this. It's so much more fun to take these adventures with friends. Want to play? Ok, let's learn to ferment our cannabis together.

I'm just starting the process myself. I'm being a bit more casual with this thread than others I've started because I don't want to wait until I'm all ready. I want to start while I'm in process, let you guys jump in and add information as we go. I'll be harvesting my Malawi in the morning, and the plant needs to hang to get to around 80% RH before I cob any. That'll take between 1 to 3 days. As Tangwena describes it "the sugar leaves should be limp, but not brittle." He likes to think the buds are still alive when he cobs them, and talks sweetly to the buds as he compresses their sweetness into a cigar-shaped bundle of future joy.

* You'll need something to wrap the buds in. The best wrapper appears to be corn husks. I got mine from the rain forest, but you can find them in many stores for wrapping tamales. Alternatively, Tangwena suggested construction-weight paper bags. They'll withstand the abuse better than thinner bags. The corn husks create more surface area with their grooves. Tangwena says he swears by the sweeter taste created by the husks.

* The best cobs hold 1.5 - 2 ounces of buds, at somewhere around 80% RH

* A vacuum sealer system eliminates the threat of mold. You're going to squeeze them snugly.

* The process begins with a 24 - hour sweating step, maintaining the cobs at 40 C/104 F. There are many ways to achieve this, some of which repuk suggested on his chart. I'll be using a seed-starting heat pad with an inverted container under the insulating weight of a couple towels. Simplicity and frugality rolled into one.

There were some good pointers I found in just the first 10% of Tangwena's thread.

Aaaaand I just realized they got deleted. Lol! I'll go back over the material tonight and tomorrow and add it into this thread. I'll get the process worked up with details. They're aware that we're building on their experience and heartily encourage us to create a flow between the communities.

Tangwena's intention is to share this wonderful gift of knowledge with the world, to change the hearts and minds of cannabis enthusiasts, one cob at a time. I'm honored, as an unofficial ambassador of :420: to bring the knowledge back to my friends.

I think we're going to look back on this day warmly as the start of something wonderful. Can't you feel it? :yahoo:

Ok, who's in?


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Alright lazyfish! First through the door. :high-five:


Member of the Month: May 2018


Wow, I'm too noobie for this right now, but I'm not against trying it...... you guys get on the bandwagon. I'll learn from your mistakes, their mistakes, and my absolute mistakes, that I know I'll make.


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A crowd gathers, eager with the excitement of exploring the unknown. :yahoo:

Tomorrow I'll do a better job of describing the details, with pictures of the equipment and supplies. . It's all pretty straightforward. My heat mat'll be here Monday, just in time for me to make sure I can get to temperature.

You can explore with us Pennywise, and when you have a harvest ready to process we'll have all the tricky stuff worked out. I can hardly believe I'm less than two weeks from testing my first fermented cannabis. Oh happy day. :bong:


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Welcome to the adventure Doob. It’ll take an ounce of nearly wet to do it right. You’ll get there. :4:


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The sweat box led05 uses with great success for his cobs.

"A seed heat mat, a rubbermaid type container inverted as top and something to put cobs on so it's not directly on the seed heat mat and you can hold within a degree anywhere from 90-108 F with this setup alone. Blankets are used as a covering to the rubbermaid to determine temp.

It's very easy to dial in exactly where you want based on how much you cover and thickness of blanket. The size of it is limited only to your seed mat and container top and can fit 100's of cobs if you wanted with a large heat mat, i.e. the 48" long one.

it's super accurate, (I've held at 105 for 24, 36, 48... hours straight with zero effort) - there's nothing to break or set etc, just need a therm to monitor temps...

Most anyone here likely has all these items already. I'm pretty certain you won't find a yogurt maker that holds temp anywhere near that accurate for that long, their size limiting too. Clear rubbermaid makes for easy viewing without changing temp at all"

"Pic of Setup I mentioned
very simple. This particular example is with the Hydrofarm 20"x20" 45w heat mat and a simple potting tray inverted inside rubbermaid type container. This is more than enough of a heat source.

I can easily fit half gallon Mason Jars (if you like pretty fermented nugs) upright, more cobs in plastic than I could ever need etc....

Depending on how much I cover and how thick blanket is it will stay within 1 degree anywhere from 90-108F+ range, crack open or vent and you can easily maintain temp below 90 as well; It will stay this way indefinitely within 1 degree once to temp and stabilized. A remote Temp sensor inside and you don't even have to go and look at it until it's getting close to ready. Sweat stage, second stage can be done here. You can use to dry outside of wet cobs very fast (it'll be very dry air inside there) when up to temp etc.... Just make sure you're always vacuumed up and there's nothing literally that can go wrong "

"Ambient room temp is very normal - 67-69F range or thereabouts"


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Welcome to the adventure Doob. It’ll take an ounce of nearly wet to do it right. You’ll get there. :4:

Make that an ounce and a half to two ounces, by Tangwena's directions. The man knows what he's talking about. Let me correct the initial post :4:


I can easily fit half gallon Mason Jars (if you like pretty fermented nugs) upright, more cobs in plastic than I could ever need etc....

This makes it sound like it's possible to do this in glass? So a jar full of "live" buds in lieu of the cob? Regrettably you would lose any additional flavors from the husks but jars sound appealing from the point it would all be flavors/effects from the herb. They must be vacuum sealing the jars then?


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This makes it sound like it's possible to do this in glass? So a jar full of "live" buds in lieu of the cob? Regrettably you would lose any additional flavors from the husks but jars sound appealing from the point it would all be flavors/effects from the herb. They must be vacuum sealing the jars then?

I don't believe you'll get the same effect at all TurboBucket. The cob allows the fermentation juices to permeate the plant material in a way you won't get vacuum-sealing a jar of bud, but it may make an interesting cured effect to take the oxygen out of the process.

The guys at ICMag say the canary buds they include with their cobs don't cure with the same intensity of the ones wrapped in husks.

I see it akin to swaddling a baby. Sure, you can simply wrap a blanket around a newborn and walk off with it, and it'll be ok, but swaddle that infant snugly and you'll have a much more content child on your hands.


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This technique will not turn poor quality bud into better bud. It'll turn superior bud into OMG bud. Start with your best buds. I can only imagine what the Carnival cobs will be like. :yahoo:

Let's take a look at the process, shall we? :4:

* Harvest and hang to dry for 1-3 days.

You're looking for that point we're all familiar with, where the buds are just smokable. I know you all recognize this timeframe. We've every one of us pushed the drying schedule to get that first taste. :4: The sugar leaves'll be this side of crispy.

* Wrap the cobs

Use 1-2 ounces of prime buds per cob. Tangwena sees his best results with 1.5 - 2 ounces, which is why that's what I used in the intro. It likely has something important to do with microbe concentrations to get the fermentation soup going, so I'll be shooting for 1.5 ounces of Malawi for my first attempt.

Tangwena recommends we play with the dryness. Each stage of RH will bring different results, and he claims they'll all be good, excepting dry. When the buds are below 68% RH they won't sweat in the initial step, and it's this soup that begins the magical transformation.

Moister buds will change color faster and the more completely the fermentation soup will penetrate into your buds. The happy, sweet spot many over at ICMag have found lies at around 80% RH.

The drier your buds are going into the cob, the less dense and hard the end product will be. If you want softer cobs you start by wrapping drier buds.

It's worth noting that you want to resist the temptation to rehydrate your buds to get in on the fun with material too dry to make a decent presentation. That way lies the enhanced possibility of mold. No Bueno. Wait until you have a harvest you can use.

You're looking for a nice, even compression of the buds. Wrap it firmly. I'm going to strip some bark off my stalk and use that, at Tangwena's recommendation, to maintain some connection to the contributing plant.

* Sweat the cobs

Create your sweat box environment. You don't have to be right on the money at 40 C or 104 F, but you'll want to stay close to those temps, and hold steady for this critical 24 to 48 hours. The initial 24 hours seems to be the preferred time. The longer the sweat, the more narcotic the cob.

Higher temps will work too, but they sweat faster, and your "cooking" the fermentation juices more than you will at lower temps. Experiment. :4:

If you enclose a "canary cob", an unwrapped cob of plant material, you'll be able to eyeball the color change. I'm waiting to hear if that canary needs to be the same size as your cob.

At the end of 25 hours check the bag for visible water droplets. If you see some, open and dry the cob with paper towels. I'm pretty sure you need to let the outer skin dry before putting it back into a vacuum-sealed bag.

* Ferment the cob

Reseal the bud and store in a warm, out-of-the-way place for 7 days. Recommended temperatures are 25-30 degrees C/77-86 degrees F. Vacuuming the buds cuts out the possibility of mold.

If you have a large cob, between 1-2 ounces, it pays to let them ferment another week. Cobs less than an ounce will be done fermenting in a week. Thin, small cobs may only take 4-5 days.

*Cure the cob

Time to slow down the fermentation process and prepare for the cure.

Unseal the bag and let the cob dry to the touch. A cool, dry, dark place is perfect for this stage. After 4-5 days it's ready to test.

In Tangwena's own words:

"After a further 4 or 5 days drying the cob will be ready to test, the buds should be spongy and solid like a piece of good hash. As they dry they will become hard like beef jerky and need a knife to cut slices off and break into rocks. They smoke really easily and should taste refined and very smooth and get you more higher/stoned than the same buds jar cured."

Now reseal it and put it away to cure for at least a month. This is a standard curing process of controlling humidity. Tangwena opens them up after the first week to snug up the wrappings and check progress, then seals it up for another week, or a few days, depending on what his nose told him.

In this process, as in many processes with cannabis, your nose leads the way. Trust your instincts. You're going to know when it's done to your satisfaction by smell alone. Let the cobs talk to you the way the girls do when you're growing them out.

When you want to stop the fermentation - when your nose says "Now!" - just let the cob dry all the way.

Don't stop at a month. Do your best to get some to the three-month mark, so you can compare.

Vacuum-sealed, cobs will keep for years.
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