A secret, exclusive, cannabis curated event at a secret location in the city of gold. Sounds dope right? The City of Gold was a fitting location to host such an event. Fitting because what was being judged by the lucky participants was that sticky, beautiful, golden extract from the same bush Moses sat next to for like two whole days or some shit – wondering if the non-physical entity he was conversing with would ever stop microphoning the burning bush and puff puff pass that shit.
You’ve been reading for a couple of seconds now and if you smoke like I smoke, and you’re high like every day, then I bet your curiosity is peaking wondering what I’m talking about. If, like me, you’ve heard through the grape-vine that across the country, over the past few years, there have been secret cannabis cup type events (whether they actually happened or not is irrelevant) that you weren’t lucky enough to crack an invite to, let me break your heart again.
You just missed the last such type event: The Amber Cup.
You may be asking yourself what The Amber Cup is (and if you’re not, this article is not for you and you can exit through the gift shop right about now).
Primarily The Amber Cup was an exhibition of some of South Africa’s most reputable growers and extractors showing off their individual cannabis extracts, also referred to as dabs.
It was also a fundraising initiative arranged by the good people, fighting the good fight, over at Fields of Green for All.
The funds raised going towards assisting them in doing the fine work they’ve been doing, working tirelessly in pursuit of a particular post-prohibition poli-legal landscape outlined in their Desired Outcomes document – which can be found on their website.
Dabs, wax, bho, budder, shatter, honey, GOLD!!! Whatever you call it, all of these are concentrated doses of cannabis made by extracting mainly THC [Tetrahydrocannabinol] and CBD [Cannabidiol] (other cannabinoids can also be extracted) using either a solvent-based or solvent-less method. The most common solvent in use today is butane which makes BHO butane hash oil. In terms of solvent-less extraction, carbon dioxide extraction is gaining popularity around the world. The extraction of the cannabinoids out of the flower results in a yellowy-gold-amber sticky oil substance packed with the goods.
For the lay person new to this culture, let me put it into perspective for you; extracts can contain between 60% – 90% THC; whereas buds only make it up to between 10% – 25% THC, making the onset after consuming extracts swift and powerful. To the uninitiated it can come on a bit too swiftly and a bit too powerfully. Especially after a few dabs. This was illustrated on the day by the few (but not too far between) shell-shocked newbies apparently staring doe-eyed into the far distance during the day.
Imagine that? Walking into the Amber Cup would be like walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, except for consenting adults, not in the presence of minors, on private property and filled with cannabis extracts – honey if you will, rather than chocolate. Sounds pretty sweet to me.
Having all of those boxes ticked should make it a completely legal gathering of like-minded individuals coming together in the common pursuit of plant appreciation. Also known as getting HIGH AF. Medically of course. We all know the treatment required for the P.T.S.D. acutely suffered by many people from engaging with society on a daily basis requires relatively high, daily doses of medical grade marijuana.
While people have been getting high since the beginning of time (not really, but time slows down when you’re baked plus nobody really knows when that was even so…), extraction – and the technological advances that the gradual trend towards the decriminalisation and normalisation of medicinal and recreational use has ignited – is a new paradigm in the cannabis community. So to have an event dedicated to the appreciation and acknowledgement of the effort, time and skill that is required to make good quality
Whatever the legislated outcome of the parliamentary process underway, right now, we are some of the most blessed countrymen on the planet. Second only to countries where the recreational use of marijuana is completely unhindered and sufficiently regulated to provide the utmost benefit to the people.
The significance of the Amber Cup can also be illustrated by the fact that of the participants I spoke to, most of whom were contestants, this was either the first event of its kind they’d ever known of in the country; or the first event of its kind that they’d participated in and that’s with a combined history of ganja and growing expertise older than our stumbling democracy.
While your non-smoking and part-time smoking friends are still exploring the idea that there are more types of weed than Swazi and Skunk, these peeps are successfully practicing a form of science so advanced it somewhat resembles majick.
We got the opportunity to chat to the first among equals, chief extractor of the day, the recipient of the most votes and the 1st place trophy: Travis Mocke.
How did you get involved in the cup?
“Fields Of Green For All, a few months before the competition, contacted me and asked if I wanted to showcase one of my best extracts to 120 judges at a secret location. Because of the volume of people participating, a minimum of 5g of extracts was required for the day.”
Travis grew up on the east coast of South Africa in the 80’s in the area Durban people call the ‘south coast’. Pretty rural in the back then, he grew up surrounded by lots of dairy and banana farms. Getting the greenthumb from his mother, who he says, “was an avid gardener [whom] taught me how to respect all life. From plants to animals she really showed me the importance of the life around us.”.
He started growing cannabis 14 years ago when he was then living in Auckland, New Zealand.
“Finding seeds was really hard, as all the weed you buy there is top shelf. And combined with very strict bio-security laws, it’s hard to get seeds into the country. I’ve heard stories of how customs will tag and let your seed order go through, only to rock up 3 months later to bust you with your flowering plants.”
Having moved away from the use of bottled or powdered nutrients and he has now chosen to rather follow a more natural, organic way of growing using living soils, sunlight, micro-organisms, compost teas and letting the plant do all the work.
In 2013 he started Delta 9 as an avenue to educate and supply quality cannabis oil to people who needed it. Having family members affected by serious illness, Travis and two friends decided to screw the legality, and started informing people about the benefits of cannabis. They chose the name Delta9, as Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the main compounds found in the cannabis plant that has an effect on cancer cells.
“I’m always striving for better ways to grow cannabis.”
When was the first time you got high?
“I remember clearly the first time I smoked. It was my 18th birthday and I wanted to try. I was at a night club and my friend managed to organise us to smoke with some guys from Johannesburg. They made a bottle neck from a black label quart. I coughed so much, as I don’t smoke cigarettes. Not sure what it was, probably Swazi. But damn did I enjoy the music even more after that. I’ve been smoking for 23 years now. And I will never stop.“
What did you bring to the table to take home first place?
“I ended up bringing 8.5g of a Chem Toffee F1 cross, that I had grown outdoors that winter. I decided to make a live resin from the fresh plant, using sub-zero extraction and purge methods. This was to keep the mono terpenes intact, as they are quite volatile at even room temperature.
My thinking was that the strength of the extract would be lost on the day and flavour combined with smoothness, would win everyone over. And it seemed to work.”
The question that every pothead burns to ask every other pothead, what is your all-time favourite strain?
“Now that’s a hard one. I have a few memorable strains, but one that stands out for me, was a blueberry strain I bought in New Zealand. Nice tight nugs with a strong blueberry aroma from the bag. The smoke was superb in every way.
Second would be more recent. A cheese strain I was sent from my friend in the Western Cape. I’m a fan of the fruitier strains.”
I know, I know … as amazing as that sounds, it’s hard to believe that wasn’t even his favourite toke of the day, even though it was almost everybody else’s. Turns out No. 1’s favourite toke was from the guys from Trichoma Community. It also turns out that Trichoma is doing some really interesting things in the cannabis community and any enthusiast would do well to check out their presence and get in touch with them. If No. 1 says his favourite was someone else’s extract, well we had to get in touch with them. So we reached out to Trichoma Community and got in touch with a representative known only by the name “J”. Fitting right?
Hailing from a horticultural family J readily took to growing. A self-proclaimed lover of the “El Classico Joint … [he prefers] to taste the plant rather than just [the] pure thc rush [of the extracts]”,
J went from smoking “a Yellow Box with a Lion on it” once or twice in his teens to producing some top quality extracts dope enough to participate in the 1st ever SA Amber Cup.
What was it like the first time you got baked? Can you remember?
“Overwhelming, Hunger Inducing, Hysterical Laughter, I took to it quite well.“
When I asked J from Trichoma what the best extract was on the day – without a moment of doubt or even the slightest hesitation – the answer was simply, “Trichoma’s.”
How did you participate in the cup?
“We entered the cup in the Clean Shatter, Crumble & Wax Extraction categories with a 91 Krypt strain that we used BHO extraction for and it finished 4th in the competition.”
Resonating a similar vibration to the other participants I spoke to, J articulated what made the day really special saying,
“Seeing the community come together in such a fun competitive spirit showcasing their talents in a safe space.”
Pretty much sums it up.
And further speaking to the significance of the event, J shared the following insight into the future landscape of the country, in terms of the deregulation path we find ourselves on.
“This is the kind of change that we should see in people’s attitudes towards these events that give them a platform to show their skills to the South African community. We have some very talented growers in South Africa and they have always had to hide in the shadows and perfect their craft with minimal community knowledge or recognition of their efforts. Now that the “stigma” has significantly lifted across the spectrum, we are increasing the sharing of knowledge which will ultimate further the growth of our newly found legitimate industry.”
Here at BSG we were also lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak to the team from Ama-deadly seeds, whose entry narrowly beat Trichoma’s entry in the popular vote coming in at 3rd in the voting, about the day of the Amber Cup and their reflections upon it.
What dab did you guys enter with?
“We entered with an Exodus Cheese Chainsaw cut Crème de la Crème.”
And what was your favourite dab on the day?
To be honest it was the Exodus Cheese Chainsaw cut Crème de la Crème (wink wink). But next came the Lemon Cheesecake dab at the table next to ours, produced by Medusa Dabs, we really enjoyed that.
And this being the first event of this kind that you’ve participated in, what was the highlight of the day for you?
Just being there as a whole, the whole day was mind-blowing. The freedom after heavy prohibition – PRICELESS!
“I got it from my grandma”
– ama-deadly seeds x the blunt smoker’s guide
With close to 15 years of ganja growing experience between the two of you, how did you get the Greenthumb?
My granny taught me to grow my first veggie garden when I was 4 – I even ate the veggies. Been growing ever since.
The first time you got baked?
It was on a beach somewhere, when I was around 14 years old, with some mates. It was a badly rolled joint but we all laughed silly. Good Times!
So there you have it, an inside look into what went down at the first ever Amber Cup SA 2018, straight from the grower’s private stash. By most accounts, the day was soopah dope. Top quality product, people and participation.
But we like to have a balanced account of what happened, like smoking two blunts in the morning, then smoking two blunts at night, smoking two blunts in the afternoon because it makes us feel alright. So we can’t just give you a perspective of the entrants, that’s why we spoke to prominent community members, avid ganjafarians and all-round ganja advocates: seedsidesa.
So you attended in an official capacity, as a judge. What kind of experience do you have for this kind of job?
“I’ve been smoking for about half my life, which has been for about 12 years. The first time I got baked was at the back of mall with some of my friends. There was a lot of coughing … and laughing. It was an amazing experience but I was too young to fully appreciate the high as I do now as an adult. Also I’ve been growing for about 4 years now and I have a hold on it now. What mistakes not to make.”
By all accounts Amber Cup was quite a mind-bending experience. What was your favourite part of the day?
My favourite entry of the day was the Delta 9 Chem Toffee F1 cross live resin. The taste was UNREAL and soooo smooth. It looked amazing and the colour was a perfect light yellow; although the strongest for me on the day was the extract from Trichoma.
On the other hand, my favourite part of the day was meeting all the amazing new people that are extremely passionate about what they do, and of course the dabz.
“Growing is the most fulfilling thing anybody can do.” – seedsidesa
*No cannabis products were sold at the event.
**Easter eggs in the hyperlinks.
*** At the time of publication BSG had not had the opportunity to speak directly to Fields of Green for All. we will publish a revised article once we have had the chance to speak to them.
***** There was no actual 4th place awarded but because the trichoma extract was a popular favourite it came in just behind the podium finishes – ref: amadeadly seeds.
******Some pictures supplied by seedsidesa, some by delta-9.