The Quest for the Best Cream of the Himalayas
During this last Strain Hunters adventure in India, one of our main goals was to retrieve local landraces used to make the best charras and cream. Obviously, to be able to find the best locations, the only way was to test the final product. There are thousands of small producers in each valley, so the task at hand was no small deal. But with the help of our guides, we were able to select around 50 of the best charras makers (called charsí in the local language) and we spent a great deal of time tasting the best products of the previous season. The best way to smoke the charas and cream is in the chillum, without any paper combustion to spoil the flavour. The burning temperature in the chillum is higher than in a joint, delivering all terpenes and cannabinoids in a very direct and fast way—a real pleasure for the connoisseur.
When we had selected the best growers and charsí, it was time to go and make our own hands of charras and cream directly from the ripe fields. Under the guidance of experienced old-school makers we learned the secrets of charras making. We walked up to the highest fields early in the morning, then waited for the hot sun to warm the land, until every drop of dew had evaporated from the plants and the buds, then started selecting the best plants, the most ripe and loaded with resin. We took the plants to a nice sunny spot, then we started manicuring them delicately, removing all the leaves without resin. After that the rolling process started. We had to learn how to squeeze the buds gently between the palms of our hands, rolling them back and forth. After a few buds we could feel the resin starting to stick to the hands, and the whole process became more fluid, smoother. In a couple of hours we were able to collect the results of the effort. The difference between making charras and making cream is in the process: charras making involves pressing harder to get all the resin, but some of the plant juices and hairs also come off, making the final product blacker and less pure.
Cream making involves sqeezing so gently that only the pure resin is detached from the plant, without any impurity or plant matter.
An experienced charsí can produce up to 20 grams of charras per day, while it is virtually impossible to produce more than 6-7 grams of cream per day, if top quality has to be achieved.
Being on these mountains one can understand the hardship of charras making; it is a very time-consuming process and entails real craftsmanship. It’s completely different from the industrialized hashish production processes in place in Morocco, where large-scale production techniques allow a single farm to produce hundreds of kilograms per season.
Charras-rubbing and cream-rubbing are the most labour-intensive processes of resin collection from the cannabis plant. Connoisseurs worldwide keep considering these the top smoke when it comes to hashish.