Consider the traditional herb grinder. It’s an essential tool for cannabis smokers to grind up their flower for either rolling as a joint, packing a bowl or loading into a dry herb vaporizer. But whether made from aluminum, plastic or wood, the basic design is pretty much the same — the device is composed of multiple parts and chambers and works by crushing and cutting up herb into smaller pieces using sharp teeth.
As an herb connoisseur with a background in engineering, Gustavo Reyes knew that the industry had overlooked the handling and processing of herb when it came to breaking it down for consumption; thus, leaving medical patients and recreational users with the challenge and annoyance of grinding.
On closer examination, Gustavo discovered that while the well-known circular-shaped, handheld grinder seemed like one of those “If it ain’t broke, why fix it” kind of things, there were some definite drawbacks in the design — the grinds produced can be inconsistent as they crush and tear the herb degrading the delicate crystals which contain medicinal properties. Because the operation requires twisting, it can be uncomfortable to users with dexterity and joint pain issues, and with multiple parts and tight fittings and crevices, the traditional grinder can also be a chore to clean.
A coffee grinder is an often used alternative, but the big problem there is that a grinder meant to pulverize beans can turn a plant to dust, destroy the cannabis trichomes responsible for producing cannabinoids and terpenes. It also grinds up stems and seeds which end up as part of a less than pleasant final product.
Then one fateful day in 2016, Gustavo dropped one of his favorite glass pipes, shattering it and sending ground herb across the carpet. As Gustavo grabbed the Dyson Vacuum cleaner and began cleaning up the spilled herb, he was mesmerized by the herb spinning up in a vortex through the clear chamber. It is at this time that the idea of using a unique way to grind was born. The innovation was dubbed the Wakit.
Housed in a clear cylinder, the Wakit utilizes a patented ball and chain mechanism, spinning at high speed, like a weed trimmer, to grind dry herb to a perfect consistency while leaving larger stems intact so they can be easily removed. Simply tap on the top to grind; fewer taps give you a coarse grind and more taps make it finer. Then recharge the lithium-ion battery with the included micro-USB cable and do it all again.
The invention in its simplicity went through 18 different trials while Gustavo and Esther (calling themselves G&E Innovations) searched for the perfect material, width, diameter, and length for their new grinding tool. They tried everything from fishing line to piano wire until a steel ball chain, like is used on keychains and as a necklace for military dog tags, proved most successful.
The next phase of development included 16 iterations, each improving the previous one and testing the torque and power of the motor to recreate the vortex effect that did not damage or destroy the flower by turning it into powder or tearing it apart as manual grinders do. Instead, the Wakit Grinder cuts the herb in the air, trimming off the thick stems, and letting the stems and the plant material drop on a flat surface ready for consumption.
The Wakit Grinder, launched in 2019, and featured an aluminum housing that offered lightweight durability. When the device was demoed at trade shows and High Times events, cannabis smokers were so amazed and mystified that they had to see the magic happening inside. Easy enough solution — Wakit introduced the KLR (clear) series with a see-thru plastic cylinder and even LEDs to light it up.
The original Wakit was covered with a graphic featuring an artist rendering of a tree goddess. That homage-to-the-plant design is still popular, but with the KLR is a completely transparent LUCID model revealing the components inside from ball chain to circuit board. There’s also a KLR Wakit wrapped in black for a sleek appearance that also gives the owner the chance to personalize it with their own stickers.
A turning point in the Wakit story came when the device found its way into the hands of Method Man & Redman. When the hip-hop, cannabis-puffing duo voiced their approval, Gustavo and Esther knew they were onto something.
Then Covid hit and smoke shops were shut down along with other non-essential businesses. Rather than seeing the situation as a setback, the inventors took advantage of the opportunity to make improvements to the device. Customers already loved the Wakit, but one piece of feedback was that denser herb would sometimes trigger the safety feature, intended to safeguard fingers should they accidentally getting in the way, and stop the action. The solution was a stronger motor with higher torque.
The claim is that the Wakit can do its thing in fewer than five seconds. A couple of quick taps proves it so.
“We’re very happy with the current unit,” Esther says. “We have had people who’ve tried the previous version and they say the new one is perfection.”
Because the Wakit looks like no other grinder, smoke shops are encouraged to demo it for customers Esther says those that do get only positive response — and easy sales. The Wakit is even more attractive with a suggested MSRP of $59 99, which isn’t much more than its primitive cousin. Wakit knows the value in satisfied customers and good reviews, so anytime a retailer post content showing the Wakit in their social media, the company shares that post with their followers directing them to that specific store.
In only a few short years, Wakit has sold more than 50,000 units worldwide, everywhere from the US and Canada to Switzerland and Israel. The company recently contracted with OCB for the rolling paper company to act as the exclusive Wakit distributor throughout Northern America.
So, the next time somebody asks if you “Wakit,” say of course you do, is there any other way?