Lotus Vaporizer is a unique battery-free piece, famous for its durability, efficiency and, above all, flavor. We talked with the inventor Steven Levin and found out more about his background and development of Lotus. It's a fun story full of innovation and hard work, and a must-read for anyone considering to get this awesome little vape themselves.
Your background is quite interesting. Could you tell me a bit more about that?
I graduated from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering. Within a few years I was living in a spiritual community/commune of 1200 people where we considered cannabis and organic psychedelics to be a sacrament. There we had joint breaks instead of coffee breaks. When I came back to the regular culture I worked in the medical device industry and as a hobby got involved in Battlebots, a robotic combat competition.
What made you decide to start designing vaporizers?
When I became aware of vaporizers, the only popular portable vaporizer was the Vaporgenie. I decided to build a similar model that would separate the butane fumes from the inhalation air. When my first proof of concept model was successful I decided to improve it until it was saleable.
Pictured Above: Steven with his Lotus
Beside vaporizers, what are some of your other passions?
I am interested in making kinetic sculptures, learning to play the piano ( I hope to some day be mediocre), and practicing archery. If not well rounded, at least I am a bumpy square.
I’ve heard it took you three years to release the first Lotus vaporizer. Could you tell me a bit more about the history of your product?
I worked on the Lotus 5 days a week for a few years and through a dozen prototypes. I worked on each one for a day or so and then tested them late in the afternoon. That was a good stopping point and I knew that I wouldn’t/couldn’t get anything else done as the Lotus worked so well. When I completed the first production model I thought that it was perfect. Now I realize that it will never be perfect and can always be improved.
Where are you located and how many people are responsible for Lotus vapes today - from initial idea to final product?
We are located in inland Mendocino County in California about 2 hours North of San Francisco and just north of Wine Country. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Our company is a small family business.
Pictured Above: Lotus vaporizer with an anodized aluminum stem
What would you say is the ethos of your company? How do you approach business?
I try to make and supply products that are simple to use, efficient, sturdy and beautiful. We treat customers with personal respect and put customer satisfaction before money. The Lotus is made in the US. If we were driven only by profit we would have the Lotus made off-shore, but we make it in the US, creating jobs here.
I think it’s time to get to the Lotus vaporizer itself. How would you explain your product to a complete newbie?
Explaining product: The Lotus is primarily a flower vaporizer that operates similar to a standard pipe. It is a totally non-electronic, manual vaporizer which uses a butane torch and an easily learned heating technique. The patented design separates the butane fumes from the inhalation air, giving you all the flavor of your herb and nothing else. If you are looking for flavor and reliability you have found your vape. The Lotus is not a stealthy vape as the torch has a noticeable hiss.
Explaining product use: First, respect the torch. The flame is hard to see in bright light. Do NOT put your hand in front of the torch to see if it is working. For the Lotus itself, use a medium grind on your herb and do not pack the bowl. Flame size is very important. Flame length should be the distance between the points on the Lotus ring. Flame aimed at the center of plate and almost vertical. Preheat plate for 3-4 seconds before inhaling and keep heating the plate as you inhale very very slowly. The Lotus has a learning curve, sort of like coordinating the clutch and gas on a stick shift car.
Pictured Above: How to heat your Lotus properly
How is Lotus different from other torch-powered vaporizers?
Most important is the separation of butane fumes from the inhaled air. That and our use of the correct high temperature materials contribute to our excellent flavor profiles. We also try to make the vaporizing experience as pipe-like as possible.
Who are your main users? Are you happy with the customer feedback?
I feel we have 2 main user groups: the flavor chasers and those who enjoy having control over their hit size. There is a satisfaction in mastering the different techniques that allow you to white wall a bong or microdose and preserve your herb.
The feedback has been very good. People love the Lotus. We even had one customer write a poem about it. I would like to hear more critical feedback so that I would know what to improve.
Pictured Above: The Lotus Vaporscope Kit
What do you think of the current state of our industry? Are there any brands you look up to?
I like the cartridge concept with the sativa/indica/terpene ratios dialed in for a wanted effect. I don’t like the single use, disposable pen concept.
Do you have any plans and goals for the future?
I would like to get more national and international exposure so more people know that there is a tasty alternative to vape pens.
Pictured above: Lotus vaporizer in action
We want to thank Steven for taking the time for this interview. You can learn more about the Lotus vaporizer here, or support them through Instagram here.
Lotus is even better with a water pipe. Get the Lotus and Water Pipe Adapter here.