How to Taste your Bud – Parallels in Wine Tasting and Cannabis

You don’t need a fancy degree to enjoy wine or bud, all you need is to pay attention to the look, smell, taste, and burn. Just like wine drinkers know their favorite grapes or styles of wine, by tasting with intention soon enough you’ll know which are your favorite strains by a glance or a whiff.

Oysters and chablis is a classic pairing, and just like a sommelier helps with wine pairings at a restaurant, budtenders help you pair cannabis with food & drink. Just like we do with our strain pages. Soon we will have classics like super lemon haze and sweet tea.

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Cannabis & Wine have similarities

Cannabis and wine have been around for thousands of years and over that time we have bred endless varieties for taste, flavor and potency. It is estimated that there are around 10,000 types of grape varieties and 700+ strains of marijuana, and still counting, but have no fear, below is a simple guide with four easy steps and questions to get to know your bud. Remember that taste is subjective, and it all comes down to whether you like it or not.

how to select cannabis


  • What color is it and how intense? 
  • What color are the pistols? They look like hairs coming out of the bud, sometimes they are green, orange or yellow
  • What do the crystals look like? 
  • Does the bud look frosty, sticky, or are there no crystals at all?
  • Are there seeds, mold, or any other faults?

In the first step we observe the visual aspects of the bud, you can see a lot about the quality just by sight.


  • How does it smell? 
  • Does it remind you of anything?
  • How intense is the aroma?

The possibilities for scents seem endless, but the primary smells are usually earthy, fruity, floral, mineral, animal, or herbal. The organoleptic compounds are the components that give a product their aroma and taste. The aroma compounds in marijuana are called terpenes, and we can use similar adjectives to describe cannabis as we do with wine.


  • How does it burn?
  • Is the bud very resinous, did it burn slowly?
  • Did the bud seem dry and burn quickly?
  • Is the bud cured just right and do you get a nice smooth burn?

This element is different from wine and you will experience it only if you smoke. If you are infusing the bud to cook with, you can skip this step.


  • What do you taste?

Taste and smell are closely connected, you can use similar adjectives for describing both and you will pick up on different tasting notes if you are cooking with it or smoking it.

We used the same steps as in wine tasting for this guide, there are many systems for tasting wine, such as the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), but in all of them you always observe the Sight, Smell, Taste. When tasting cannabis the process is very similar, but adding one more element, the burn. 

Enjoy your tasting and remember to take notes or pictures of your favorite strains!

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Chef Andres is a restaurateur in the original sense of the word he is always on the search for recipes that restore the body and soul. He is currently based in Mallorca working and visiting farms to learn about the healing practices of biodynamics and permaculture agriculture. Embark on a journey of recipes and articles and learn about the restorative power of cannabis, food, and drinks. Prior to moving to Mallorca Chef Andres ran his restaurant in NYC and sold it.

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