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Saturday January 29, 2022

By Paul Barach

Grinder coin in a cannabis grinder Education

You’re with a friend just starting your smoke sesh. They place a fresh, dank nug in their four-piece grinder, give it a couple twists, then unscrew the storage chamber. Something shiny catches your eye. It’s a coin. What’s a coin doing in a grinder? Did the grinder lose a tooth and leave it under its pillow for the weed fairy? Are you supposed to tip your grinder as a gratuity for its service? Otherwise, why would you put a coin in a grinder, or anything that isn’t weed?

While it may seem odd at first to put a coin in a grinder, a grinder coin is actually a very useful piece of stoner tech. Including a grinder coin in your pot-smoking arsenal will pay dividends when it comes to collecting and using your kief afterwards.

For those that aren’t yet in the know, PotGuide is here to discuss what a grinder coin is, why you’d use a grinder coin, and how to best utilize this valuable piece of stoner tech.

What is a Grinder Coin?

A grinder coin (aka a kief coin) is a small, flat metal circle or other object that is placed in the storage chamber of a four-piece grinder. While traditionally a grinder coin is an actual coin, any flat metal circle (such as a washer) will do the trick as long as it’s heavy and solid enough. You can even use a small metal or glass ball as your kief coin.

What Does a Grinder Coin Do?

From the name, you might expect a grinder coin to be used for grinding weed, especially since you can actually grind weed with a coin and a pill bottle. However, a grinder coin’s actual purpose is to help with kief collection (hence the name kief coin).Kief is the powdery dusting of crystallized trichomes that falls off the ground up bud and sifts through the grinder’s kief screen.

(Fun fact: The word “kief” is said to come from the Turkish word keyif meaning “joy” or “delight.”). As the loose grinder coin slides across the kief screen and knocks into the walls of the collection chamber, it knocks loose the kief that’s stuck to the pollen screen, walls, and teeth. This allows more kief to sift into the kief collector, where it can then be sprinkled on flower or a joint for a potency boost, pressed into hash or resin, sprinkled into cannabutter, and more.

What Makes A Good Grinder Coin?

The first step in maximizing your kief collection is to choose your kief coin. If you are using spare change (or shrapnel as the British would say), you’ll want to find a coin with round edges like a penny or nickel. Over time, kief coins with ridged edges can scrape the inside walls of your grinder, or damage the pollen screen.

Image of quarters staked next to each other.
Try not to use a quarter for your grinder coin. Instead, find a coin with rounded edges photo credit

You can also use a steel washer, which may prove more durable than a coin. Other people skip the change altogether and prefer to use a steel ball bearing, which is far more durable than a coin and will knock kief loose from the screen just as well. Other partakers of the herb claim that a glass ball like a marble is ideal, but it’s not worth the risk of potentially getting glass shards in your flower so we don’t recommend it.

Make Sure Your Grinder Coin is Clean

Of course, if you are using an actual coin as your kief coin, don’t just toss in a penny you found on the street (even if it’s lucky) or a quarter from your bowl of loose change. You’ll want to disinfect your grinder coin before using it to make sure you don’t spread any germs into the kief or your flower, especially since you’re going to then be inhaling it into your lungs. The best way to disinfect your grinder coin is to dunk it in some isopropyl alcohol beforehand. Wipe it down with a fresh paper towel or let it air dry, then pop your kief coin into your collection chamber after washing your hands.

How Do I Use My Grinder Coin?

Once you’ve chosen your metal disk or ball bearing and sanitized it, it’s time to put your grinder coin to use. Once you’ve finished grinding your weed, pull it out of the collection chamber, reassemble your grinder, then give it a couple hard shakes. Your grinder coin should bang against the walls and the screen, knocking the kief loose and keeping the screen from getting clogged.

If you’re really looking to maximize kief collection with your grinder coin, put your grinder in the freezer overnight.

The next morning, take it back out and give it a hearty shake, like you’re mixing a cocktail or really enthusiastic about playing the maracas. The grinder coin will bang against the inside of your grinder, knocking all those brittle, frozen trichomes loose from the metal.

Cleaning Your Grinder Coin

Over time, your kief coin will start wearing a THC-rich jacket of resin. This means that more kief will be sticking to an already sticky grinder coin instead of sifting into the kief collector. If your kief coin is looking more kief than coin, pull it out, scrape off the resin (why waste it?), and then dunk your coin in some isopropyl alcohol.

Image of a cannabis grinder with a large amount of collected kief.
By using a grinder coin properly you can maximize your kief collection. photo credit

Before putting your coin back in, be sure to give it a once over to make sure there are no nicks or sharp that could damage the pollen screen. If the buildup is severe, consider a deep cleaning (a toothbrush can come in handy here). If it’s as smooth as seaglass, pop it back in.

The Wrap Up

When it comes to grinding weed, collecting kief is an added bonus, and a grinder coin can turn that bonus into a jackpot. By placing a sterilized kief coin into your grinder’s storage chamber and giving it a hearty shake, you’ll make sure all those THC and terpene rich crystals sift down into the kief catcher.

Once that dusting of trichome crystals is deep enough, scoop it out and give whatever you're smoking an extra kick. And if your grinder does lose a tooth, just go ahead and replace the whole thing. The weed fairy won’t visit, no matter how many teeth it leaves below its pillow.


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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