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3 C’s of Concentrates

Color, clarity, consistency 

Evaluation metric for concentrates

Educating on shatter and what to expect from the lab


Let’s talkabout the different types of cannabis concentrates. These desirable substances have been gaining in popularity year over year. Whether as a complement to flower or as a substitute, concentrates have evolved from basic extracts into a variety of live resin, rosin, and specialty extracts such as water hash. We also discuss different extraction processes extensively. 

Cannabis enthusiasts everywhere have fine tuned their own preferences, through flavor, taste, or effects of a particular strain. These connoisseurs can discern high quality cannabis through a combination of factors including trichome volume, THC levels, physical appearance, aroma, and genetics. Fact: flower and concentrates have vastly different appearances. If you’re new to the concentrate scene you may ask “What do I need to look for, particularly when it comes to shatter?”

Good question! At Seed & Smith, we use an evaluation method called the 3 C’s — COLOR, CLARITY, and CONSISTENCY. When it comes to concentrates,the 3 C’s provide a well-rounded metric to help even the newest consumer educate themselves and tailor their preference.


The first C is for COLOR. From deep amber to beautiful golden yellow, Shatter comes in a variety of eye-catching colors. So how do you make sense of all these varying hues?

To begin, we should understand that color is affected depending on the extraction process of the flower. One process uses a solvent which includes alcohol, hydrocarbon, and the popular carbon dioxide methods of extractions. Another technique is to use a non-solvent method of extraction by using a combination of heat and pressure to achieve the final product. Probably the most well known type of extraction is the rosin press. You can learn more about the intricate extraction process by clicking  here

Depending on the extraction method, the end product may look different even if you use the same plant to start with. When it comes to color, there are some guidelines as to what to look for and what to avoid. For instance, If your concentrate is greenish in color that usually means there is too much plant matter in the final product. This could be due to not enough cure time between harvest and extraction, or from improper procedures, such as grinding up your nugs before extraction. A dark concentrate may indicate that the temperature was too high during extraction, or that the plant material used was of low quality. It may even indicate the flower used was sitting on a shelf for too long! 

Judging the color of shatter or another cannabis concentrate by itself can be tricky, so it’s a good idea to chat with your budtender. As you become familiar with the variety of hues, you will begin to get a familiar sense of a pure-colored concentrate when you see one.


On to CLARITY. This refers to the opacity and lack of impurities in the final concentrate. When it comes to shatter, in most cases, the final product looks like amber colored glass. We’re looking for any signs of contaminants or other impurities. Your concentrate should be uniform in appearance, with a healthy, shiny look. Avoid shatter that looks dull or varies significantly in appearance and clarity when you start to manipulate it. Clear and shiny GOOD – dull with impurities BAD.


The final C in our grading scale is for CONSISTENCY. As mentioned before, there are many different types of concentrates; shatter, wax, live resin, sugar wax, rosin to name a few. Each of these exhibit a different type of consistency. Shatter should be firm to the touch and retain its shape at room temperature, even when you manipulate it. Shatter is placed on white parchment sheets so you’ll have a chance to compare the consistency before manipulation. The key advice here is to make sure your concentrates aren’t exhibiting any characteristics they shouldn’t. Your shatter should be glasslike, not waxy or gooey. Many different grow and extraction teams have slightly different processes, and not all concentrates will look and feel the same. 

At Seed & Smith we believe the 3 C’s will help you identify which concentrate you want to take home with you. We hope these guidelines will make your job easier and help you find the perfect shatter. Come visit us at Seed & Smith and one of our experienced budtenders will be glad to help! Happy dabbing!


November 11, 2021
Cannabis Education
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