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What is a Kief Catcher


What is kief? The official derivation of the word "kief" comes from the Arabic term "Kayf" meaning pleasure or well-being. In scientific terms, kief is the powder made from the dry resin glands found on the leaves of the cannabis plant. In layman's terms, it's that crystal sticky stuff on the herb that makes you drool when you look at it.  Kief is the part of the plant that contains the highest concentration of the psychoactive THC chemicals, which means it can get you really baked and keep you that way for hours. So, without further ado, let's get kiefienated!


What is a Kief Catcher?

On a commercial scale, large amounts of kief are generally collected by rubbing leaves over a steel mesh screen, using a specialized kief catching machine.  However, for the recreational herb smoker, it can be collected by using an herb grinder with the catcher at the bottom.

The kief catcher is the bottom compartment of a grinder.  It is designed to collect the finest particles created during a grinding session, and without it, the kief would be lost within the ground up herb pile.  There is the area where the herbs are ground, the area where they fall to, and below that is the kief catcher collecting the finest pieces.

Side note:  If you’re still breaking weed up with your hands, it is time to quit. The kief is just going to stick to your hands and get wasted, and worse, you will likely touch your eye after breaking up and deal with an irritated eye for 20 minutes.  Plus the grinding method is so much faster. 


Kief Tips – How to Maximize the Yield

Stick some herb in the top of the grinder, push the top down and start to slice and dice until the buds turn to pieces and fall to next compartment – that is all which is needed if you want some kief.  Most grinders come with the bottom catcher so you will get kief whether you like it or not.  But it is good stuff, so you might as well get the most out of it with a few simple tips below. 

Vibrating Grinder

Yup, this exists, and with the element of vibration, you can drastically improve how much kief you get from every grind.  Guaranteed, this baby works.  Just press the button and the grinder will start to vibrate.  The vibrations keep the particles moving and they don’t settle until there is nowhere else to go but the bottom kief catcher.

Double Tap

After each and every herb grind, make sure to tap out.  Finish up by tapping the  4 piece grinder against solid object like a table, your leg or palm.  This motion will loosen the kief lodged in & above the screen so it collects nicely into the bottom catch. It also helps to prevent sticky particles from forming around the lip of the grinder, which makes it harder to open and close.  

Keep the Grinder Upright

The bulk of the kief is created as the herbs are ground and chopped in the top compartment of the grinder, and the natural path for these tiny particles would be down with gravity – on that note alone, it would make most sense to hold the grinder upright while grinding.  Also, it takes a long while for a pile of good stuff to build.  Maintaining the build of kief is as important as collecting it.  If you toss the grinder around or simply turn the grinder upside down you will displace the pile of kief – sure, open the catcher and you will still have a bounty, but in terms of efficiency, you will have lost particles to the various surfaces. 

The Coin Method

Some swear by the coinage method and it goes as follows.  Once you have finished grinding up the dry herbs they will be sitting in the lower storage compartment part of the grinder.  Now in that same compartment, place a coin, a nickel I believe is recommended, something small but heavy.  With the coin in place, start to shake the 4 piece grinder in a circular motion, so that the coin slides around across the kief screen. This will push more kief through the screen, plus it will agitate the herb to release more of the pollen.  Obviously, before doing so, make sure to use a clean coin.  Keep the coin clean with a drop of dish soap. This will help break down oils on the coin that will bind with the kief, causing it to stick to the coin.

Clear the Filter Screen

The fine screen within the weed grinder separates the ground herb from the kief catcher.  So, if you really want to maximize the build-up of your material, it will be really important to keep the filter screen clean, otherwise your kief is not going to collect properly at the bottom, and some may be sorrowfully lost.  The flower particles are sticky and as some fall through, a portion will build up on the screens surface, preventing other particles from falling down.  Use a dab tool or similar device to rub the screen after each grind in order to push more kief through to the bottom.  Not only do you get to collect more in the moment, but the screen scrubbing will ensure a clear passage is open for the next time you have to grind.


Pros and Cons of Kief Catching

Are there really any cons here?  Not really, but we put this together for you anyway.



1. Storage space for the accumulation of the most potent part of the flowers

2. Bowls of pure kief (kieferitas) can be had

3. Pure kief can be used to make various byproducts such as pressed hash

4. Great for budgeting for when the herb runs out – will keep you going for a couple days depending on the kief stash



1. Instead of into the catcher, the forgone kief could have been smoked, but the marginal impact is questionable

2. It takes a long time for a significant amount of keif to accumulate in the chamber – good things come to those who wait.

3. The grinder screen of the kief chamber gets clogged up and needs to be kept clean in order for the kief to build up efficiently – good things don’t come easy. 


How to Clean the Grinder – While Effectively Collecting all Kief 

If you just about gathered and tapped the last bits over a bowl pack, it is time to embark on another kief building mission.  Before you start, you want to make sure to have no sticky particles lurking in parts – stickiness sticks to stickiness.  Pop the grinder in the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes. This will help to loosen the ground flower particles. Take the grinder out, and give it a few taps over some non-stick wax paper to collect the bounty and put it aside – or smoke it – to make the cleaning process a little more fun.

Next take all the pieces of the grinder apart, and scrape the entire insides with a toothpick, dab tool or another similar device. This should also be done over the paper plate, which will serve as a catch for all the kief. (If the accumulation at this point is considerable, you may want to take another smoke break).

Cleaning the grinder screen is the next step. Take a toothbrush or dab tool to rub the top of the screen with the brush in circular motions from the middle to the outside. Eventually, the brush will dislodge the clogged kief from the screen onto the pile you are already building (Smoke break.)

Lastly, it is time for the final soak. Fill a container with enough rubbing alcohol or some other glass pipe cleaning solution and fully submerge the weed grinder.  Leave it to soak for at least 20 minutes – feel free to scrub while soaking to speed up the clean.  If your grinder is acrylic, you will want to soak it in hot water and dish detergent rather than alcohol.  Take it out, and swab it with Q-tips or rag. Older grinders may take a few soaks or a longer soak, so if one soak doesn't do the trick, you may want to run it a fresh bath.


Grinders with a Kief Catcher

An important thing to note about weed grinders, they come in 2, 3, 4 and even 5 piece options.  While all models should do a good job of chopping up dry herbs, not all come with a kief catcher.  The 2 piece grinder usually does not, however, the death star grinder with kief catcher defies that.

Vibrating Grinder

This five piece model is the absolute best way to catch kief. The vibrating technology keeps things moving and falling to the bottom.  It is guaranteed to gather more, faster, with far less lost and sticking to the sides.  If it's kief you're after, take this one with you.

4 Piece Grinder

The 4 Piece Grinder is one of the more popular types of herb grinders. It provides a nice thorough grind and often comes in a range of colors and sizes.  Often equipped with a magnetic top to keep your stash from getting all over the place, they have 4 pieces and 3 compartments.  The grinding area up top, the storage space right below, and the kief catcher right at the bottom. Top quality, 4 Piece Grinders can be had for a very reasonable $29.99, with FREE shipping, and the super sharp blades will guarantee you have a finely chopped time.

Sharpstone Hand Crank Grinders

If you want to make grinding super easy, go for a hand crank.  As usual, the grinder is cylindrical, but you turn the crank to grind the material. This method requires little effort versus the traditional way.  Simply spin the crank in either direction and your buds will be well shredded. Not to mention, keif will fall into the storage container with ease.