Drugs

Cannabis Coffee: The Latest Marijuana Craze

Innovative marijuana entrepreneurs are giving a whole new meaning to "wake and bake."

Photo Credit: Julius Schorzman/Wikimedia Commons

Okay, the problem with waking and baking is that you're likely to get off to a slow start to your day, but several companies on the far frontiers of the ever-morphing legal marijuana industry have come up with the solution: marijuana-infused coffee. Have your morning Joe and your morning buzz gets caffeinated.

These products are, of course, coming from the land of legal weed and are the latest manifestation of the entrepreneurial creativity driving innovation in the industry. They also reflect Americans' growing romance with non-smoked forms of marijuana, whether it's the ever-growing array of pot edibles, vaporized cannabis oils, or pot-infused liquids.

Coming out of Washington state, Fairwinds Manufacturing is now producing pot-laced coffee at its plant just across the Columbia River from Oregon. The company's Catapult Cannabis Coffee ain't cheap, going for $10 for pods that fit cartridge-based coffeemakers. Fairwinds' conventionally packaged cannabis coffees are a bit more reasonable.

While pot-infused coffee is supposed to get you high, it still has to taste good. Fairwinds' James Hull told Fast Company how he does it—and it's a bit tricky because the addition of oils (of any kind) can wreak havoc with the brewing process.

"To infuse the coffee beans with the cannabis oil, It is not as simple as spraying the coffee beans with the oil," Hull explained. "To ensure proper extraction of the cannabis oil from the coffee grounds and to ensure solubility in the cup of coffee, we must first prepare the cannabis oil mixture prior to application. We add ingredients that allow the cannabis oil to become soluble with the water-based coffee."

And then there's House of Jane and its Jane's Brew Gourmet Cannabis-Infused Coffees. That's just part of the Bay Area producer's lineup of "medicinal gourmet coffees, teas, and fine edibles." Jane markets its coffees as a way of relieving pain and stress, and offers caffeinated and decaf versions, as well as coffees with different THC and CBD levels.

"You choose caffeinated or decaf and the dosage needed to meet your needs: focused and alert or relaxed and mellow," House of Jane says.

Meanwhile, if you want to savor the taste of weed with your coffee without actually getting high off it, Los Angele coffee company Compelling & Rich is now offering "herb conditioned" Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans. And yes, the herb is marijuana.

Company owner and roastmaster Kian Abedini said that while drinkers of the coffee won't get high, he does in the process of making it. The process is called green coffee conditioning, and it exposes the unroasted beans to vaporized ingredients at a low combustion point and then infuses the coffee with that flavor.

"I'm essentially hot-boxing the roasting room," he explained.

Cannabis coffees are drawing lots of customer interest, according to the purveyors, and are likely to prove popular in the industry. For dispensaries and just plain pot shops, they are a high-margin novelty item, and like marijuana edibles or soft drinks, they appeal to those people who just aren't into smoking things.

Now, I'm just waiting for that first cannabis coffee chain to open. Stonerbucks, anyone?

 

Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.

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