The compact and discreet Goboof Alfa vaporizer. (Ben Livingston, The Cannabist)

Review: Portable Goboof Alfa runs with the best flower vapes

Of all the paraphernalia-related questions I get, people seem to ask most about the best portable flower vape.

Assuming I’m not moderately high, I cut to the chase: Pax Ploom, Firefly or the DaVinci Ascent. There isn’t a single winner, and they all complete the task at hand: heating your cannabis within a range of temperatures that cause magical cannabinoids to volatilize into your lungs and bloodstream.

To this portable flower vape triumvirate, I’m adding the Alfa from Goboof. Overlooking the unfortunate company name and my frustration at sounding like a foreign-language dilettante when I try to say “Goboof Alfa,” I really like this unassuming little flower vape.

The Alfa is small, but feels solid. It’s understated, not flashy. It’s black, not colorful. I could see it being mistaken for something other than a portable vaporizer by law enforcement personnel. And that’s a good thing in my book because, despite legalization, cannabis consumers still need to keep a few steps ahead of the cops. Don’t you agree?

The cylindrical loading chamber on the bottom wins points for being one of the easiest to clean that I’ve encountered. A half-inch in diameter and depth, it’s also unique in having a “heating pin” sticking up from the bottom, increasing the surface area of cannabis that is heated and helping evenly cook the whole chamber. There are two screens included that have a center hole for the heating pin to fit through.

I also like the user interface, which has an easy-to-turn and easy-to-read dial at the top that sits flush with the external lines of the little vape. There is a small LED that indicates when the unit is heating, ready for draw, losing power, etc. And that LED is pretty intuitive to understand — good for people like me who forgo manuals until something breaks.

Ben gives a rundown of the Goboof Alfa:

The Alfa is manufactured in the United Kingdom. Some people think that a Euro-made vape means better quality, and maybe the production workers get to leave the factory and go home at night, or something.

To use the Alfa, first plug in the included wall charger and wait patiently for nearly four hours — while you get high using some other accouterment. Place a screen in the heating chamber and load some finely ground pot. Tamp it down and fill the chamber mostly full. Place the second screen on top of the herb — or don’t — close the door and push the slide lock to secure the bowl.

Turn the dial to low (190° C / 374° F), medium (210° C / 410° F), high (220° C / 428° F), or two pre-programmed “automatic” settings. Automatic “heat by time” starts the heat on low, then cycles through medium and high temperatures on three-minute intervals before shutting off. Automatic “heat by puff” starts the heat on low and slowly increases temperature with every puff.

Here’s a peek inside the Alfa. NOTE: Doing this will void your warranty, so enjoy the pic. (Ben Livingston, The Cannabist)

Wait for the indicator to hit solid green, then take a draw. Breathe in as long as you like, but the chamber cools with your draw, so I find ten seconds or so to be a maximum time to keep getting vapor on a single inhale. It helps to let it reheat 10 seconds or more between puffs. A full bowl seems to last between 10 to 20 draws of visible vapor clouds, and the taste is nice.

I like it. The Alfa is a wonderful little flower vape, on par with the best vaporizers in its class. It’s not ostentatious, it feels super comfy to hold, is easy and intuitive to use, produces even heat and good vapor, and succeeds in the primary mission of getting me high.

The Alfa retails for $199 and can be found at the link-loving and review-unit-providing Got Vape and other retailers.