Why Colorado Tokers Love Papaya Cake

Herbert Fuego
Can't find a good papaya cake in Denver? Try a dispensary.
No disrespect to strains from previous decades, but there’s no comparison between the potency of early chronic and today’s sugar-dipped space nuggets. I’m not saying that’s always a good thing — nowadays strains can be too strong for a simple afternoon toke — but we’d be fools not to recognize the evolution of cannabis. That’s like saying LeBron James wouldn’t dominate the NBA in the ’90s. Save those stale takes for the Moose Lodge.

During our recent conversation with hash-maker extraordinaire Kennn Wall, he talked about the need for stronger, sturdier strains for worthwhile cannabis extraction. According to Wall, only 5 to 10 percent of strains on the market today have the quality and quantity of trichomes to make those stiff, terpy rosins and live concentrates that connoisseurs love. Some of his favorite strains that do? Papaya cuts, specifically from Oni Seed Co. So what did I buy during my next trip to the dispensary? Papaya Cake, a mix of Papaya and Wedding Cake, bred from Oni Seeds.

This frosty nighttime strain is about as intimidating as flower can get, quickly cloaking storage jars with layers of resin and blasting your hair back with a stanky gust of weed, fruit and sourdough every time you dare unscrew the top and open one. My first meeting with Papaya Cake eventually led to a messy, unsuccessful attempt at making a pineapple upside-down cake to satisfy my munchies — probably because my nose and tastebuds felt like I’d just broken up and smoked a tropical dessert. However, its bite wasn’t too bad, allowing me to stay high and happy all day without becoming a stoned puddle of giggles.

Papaya Cake’s popularity is still rising, but we’ve spotted it around town at Emerald Fields, Everbloom, the Joint by Cannabis, Leiffa, the Lodge, Mile High Dispensary, Peak, Silver Stem Fine Cannabis and Simply Pure.

Looks: Slim and triangular buds, twisted calyxes, heavy trichome coverage and a relatively open bud structure make Papaya Cake’s buds look like a beat-up pine tree after a blizzard. The strain’s leaves and calyxes can take on violet spots, made even more striking against the resin glands and orange pistils.

Smell: Ever been to a grocery store that has a bakery right next to the produce section? Think of standing in the middle of the two with OG Kush in your pocket, and, boom: Papaya Cake. The sweet, menthol and doughy qualities of Wedding Cake and Papaya’s ripe, tropical notes meld seamlessly, giving the new strain an equally modern aroma.

Flavor: Don’t expect that tropical bakery flavor to cross over in full, but Papaya Cake still tastes like you’re taking a deep breath inside a Caribbean bakery with a skunk infestation. Strong tropical flavors, mild cakey notes of sweet mint and a piney aftertaste make this heavy-hitter hard to put down.

Effects: Although Papaya Cake has a reputation for knocking users out, my experiences with the strain were much more focused and euphoric, and the comedown was far from debilitating. That’s not to say the high wasn’t strong: One bowl of Papaya Cake lasted a couple of hours, obliterating any anxiety and even helping relieve some mild joint pain. Toke slowly with this one, and your day won’t stall after a session.

Home grower’s take: “This is probably worth trying out, but you’ll start in the dark unless you know someone who’s tried [it]. Oni hasn’t put out that much information on what to expect with Papaya Cake, and their seeds are always expensive. But I’d be surprised if the plants yielded a lot or got much taller than forty inches. You don’t grow some of these Papaya cuts for yield; you grow them for top flavor, looks and one hell of a rosin yield if you want to go that solvent-less route. This is for the experienced grower.”

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