Why Does My Dry Herb Vaporizer Taste Like Burnt Popcorn?

 Person wearing VR goggles sitting on a couch with a bowl of popcorn.

Vaping using a dry herb vape is supposed to taste good. Because you're heating herbs without burning them, you end up tasting the pure flavor of the cannabis strain, with no smoke or burnt tastes added.

If the vapor from your vaporizer has an odd, nasty flavor, or is producing strange smells, something is going wrong. It's possible that you've set the temperature too high, or that your vape is in need of some maintenance. Sometimes it's hard to know when your dry herb vape is done.

Let's figure out what's going wrong, and save your bud from being wasted on bad hits!

Combustion vs Vaping, Smoke vs Vapor

Old school ways of consuming marijuana like smoking a joint often smell and taste bad. When using a combustion method like smoking, you're dealing with an uncontrolled flame. The weed won't burn evenly, and some of it will be destroyed before you can even enjoy the effects of the herbs.


Dry herb vape with pre-loadable ovens by Furna


Vaporizers work by heating up marijuana to a target temperature; once the bowl reaches a high enough heat level, cannabinoids like THC and CBD are released into vapor. The flavor will be very strong before the first few hits, but as the terpenes are vaped, the herb will become flavorless. If you keep vaping the same weed at a high temperature, it will eventually start tasting bad and burnt.

Best temperature for vaporizing cannabis

There's no single best temperature for every strain and every vape session. Different vapes will heat herbs differently as well. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference and your particular vaporizer.

Vaping at low temperatures will give less effects from your herb, and tends to taste better. Higher temperatures will give you stronger vapor, and more visible clouds, but will taste a little worse. Many users like to start with their vaporizers set to a low heat, and then gradually increase it during the session. But you should never be experiencing truly terrible flavors.


Person with bowl of popcorn and hot drink by a burning fireplace.

Dry Herb Vape Has a Burnt Popcorn Taste

If the vapor from your herb has a bad burnt flavor, it could have been vaporized too much. At high temperatures for prolonged periods, vaporizers can burn pockets of herb in the chamber, especially if the vaporizer isn't heating the material evenly.

Past a certain point, it's not really worth it to keep vaping the same buds: the effects will keep decreasing, and the taste will keep getting worse. If you open up the chamber, vaped weed should be brown in color. If it's very dark brown or black, you took it too far, and that's why the taste was so bad.

If this is the problem, try vaping with your vaporizer set to a lower temperature setting. This should improve the smell and taste. Cheaper dry herb vaporizers often lack proper temperature control, so if your device is low quality, it can continue to undercook or overcook your herbs and change their taste.

Reasons for difference in vapor flavor

After a weaker first hit, the next hits from a vaporizer are usually the most flavorful. This is because the terpenes in the marijuana buds are the first substance to be vaporized, after it's heated up. Terpenes are what give a strain of cannabis its smell and taste. Once the terpenes are done, the vapor will become flavorless.

If your vape tastes bad or like burnt popcorn, even at the beginning of a session, then some other smell is overpowering the terpenes. The next tip to try is cleaning your vaporizer. Vapes will accumulate resin build-up from vaped weed over time, blocking air flow and making your herbs taste stale.


A hand holding a squeegee cleaning a shower door.

How to Clean Dry Herb Vaporizers

If you're never in the mood to clean your vape, I don't blame you. Cleaning anything is a chore, and vaporizers are no exception.

But if you want to improve the quality and flavor of your vapor, you've simply got to do it. Follow the instructions for your vaporizer model. You'll likely be wiping down the bowl of the vape with isopropyl alcohol, and soaking some glass or metal parts in isopropyl alcohol. Make sure your vape isn't hot anymore before getting started.

If you have a desktop vaporizer with a whip, a long tube which connects the vape to the mouthpiece, that's one part that can strongly affect the taste of vapor and make it nasty. Make sure to clean it thoroughly, or replace it if it's a lost cause.

After you've cleaned your dry herb vape, wait for the parts to dry completely before vaping. Once it's ready to use, you can turn it on with no herbs in the chamber to burn off any lingering alcohol that will affect the flavor.

Grind weed before vaping

Another potential cause of weak and bad tasting vapor is that the airflow in your vape is being blocked. You should always grind your cannabis before putting it in your vaporizer. If it's too solid, airflow will be blocked, parts of the herb will be difficult to reach, and the chamber won't heat evenly. The hits will be very unsatisfying, and the flavor will be weak.


A weed grinder next to a jar of cannabis flower, on a desktop.

For most vaporizers, grinding your weed finely will yield best results and help your vape heat it efficiently. For convection and desktop vaporizers, you can grind the herb a little more loosely.

When you pack your vape, make sure you've filled the chamber, but without overfilling it, which will prevent airflow. You want the bud to be somewhat densely packed, without being so dense that air can't pass through it. Tamping down the herb after you've loaded it can help you achieve the best density. Ultimately, you'll get a feel for what grind and packing level works best for your vape.

Best Tasting Dry Herb Vaporizer

If your vaporizer is going to taste good and be efficient with your herb in the long term, it has to be easy to pack and clean. Portable vaporizers can be especially difficult to deal with, because loading them properly is often inconvenient and not very discreet.

An oven swapping vape like Furna solves this problem. You can load up more than one oven with dry herb before leaving the house. Instead of having to clean out the chamber and reload in an inconvenient location, you can instantly swap the used oven for the fresh one.

After all, if you're trying to be more discreet than smoking weed, the smell of smoke is only part of the picture. You also want to think about how easy it is to reload your vaporizer. Furna even has specialized concentrate ovens, so swapping for your favorite cannabis concentrates is just as simple. Check out Furna to learn more.


Vaporizer with dry herb and concentrate ovens by Furna