This is why combining coffee and marijuana is so great: It could be said that never before in the history of edibles have consumers been presented with more options. To be frank: a trip to a dispensary is an introduction to a staggering variety of edibles. The world of THC and CBD related-consumables has traversed great distances since the days of homemade brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Today, at any dispensary worth its salt, you can purchase lemonade, granola, gummy bears, bon bons, macaroons, raw sipping cacao, truffles, olive oil—the list goes on and on—all of them tinged with some degree of weed-derived euphoria.
And it is only the beginning. Every day new companies emerge, with a new spin on the edible product. Every day, some new aspect of daily life and daily eating, previously untouched by marijuana, is coupled with cannabis. Though many of these items seem to conflict with the stereotypes behind smoking or ingesting weed, as the market broadens, and customers and America become more and more used to marijuana as a daily product, these stigmas will eventually fade. At least this is what a small, but growing, group of weed entrepreneurs are hoping, because what they’re trying to sell isn’t a product commonly associated with weed.
What they’re trying to sell is a combination of weed and coffee — hot or cold, whole bean or otherwise — but it’s more than that; they’re looking and hoping to incorporate THC and CBD into a beloved daily ritual.
After herniating two discs in his spine in a brutal snowboarding accident, Colorado-based Steep Fuze co-founder, Devin Jamroz, found himself waking each morning both groggy and in serious pain. “For months,” Jamroz says, “I was drinking homemade THC tinctures and then chasing them with coffee.”
Month after month I was waking up tired and stiff, and the combination of coffee and weed dealt with both.
There was an ah-hah moment for Jamroz, sitting there sipping his coffee post-tincture, the realization washing over him that he was one of many who woke each morning tired and in pain.
From this, with the help of his partner Ben Glennon, Steep Fuze was born—a CBD-infused whole bean coffee intended not for wake-and-bakers looking for a full day of being stoned, but for those who wanted to alleviate chronic morning pain while enjoying an excellent cup of coffee. And that, the quality of the coffee, was crucial in terms of what Steep Fuze wanted to do. “It’s not that hard to drop a glob of oil into a a cup of coffee,” Jamroz says, but Steep Fuze strives to improve upon the product by incorporating the CBD-oil during the resting portion of the roast process, allowing them to incorporate into the whole bean along with its own natural oils. “Anyone is going to tell you,” he says, “the best coffee comes from freshly roasted, whole beans.”
This isn’t about just getting my CBD fix in, it’s about doing so while enjoying a really good cup of coffee.
It’s about elevating the daily ritual of coffee consumption to something even more beneficial; Jamroz argues that Steep Fuze coffee not only helps with pain management, but allows for the effects of caffeine without the headaches or jitters often associated.
More than that though, Jamroz and Glennon hope that by creating a product that strays from the psychoactive effects of THC (CBD comes from hemp, not marijuana) that they’ll open the doors to CBD’s positive effects to a much wider audience. Says Jamroz:
Edibles have a scary connotation, but there’s something familiar and normal about your morning cup of coffee. It’s far more accessible to people then having to smoke or ingest and then deal with the recreational benefits.
Steep Fuze hopes to not only move the needle on the coffee-weed combo, but to invite in a whole new customer base. Jamroz cites an MMA fighter in Ohio who uses their product and the general surge of fitness-related CBD consumption. “It’s getting a lot of fringe users interested in CBD,” he says,”people who think this would be great for my mom or my aunt.”
It’s everything you want out of a cup of coffee, but more than you get.
We’ve so long associated marijuana with glassy-eyed hippies, late-night Taco Bell runs and laying half-naked in a grassy field while music swirls above you, convincing non-potheads to see it as a way to start a productive day of doing, well, whatever, may seem difficult. Up-and-coming, San Francisco-based weed entrepreneur Chris Schroeder sees the introduction of coffee-marijuana hybrids as a push-back towards the current trend in weed consumption of what he refers to as “mega-dosing.” As Schroeder says, “The whole trend right now is dabs, shatter, concentrate, oils — basically, getting the most high possible using a very small concentrate.” He believes that by incorporating marijuana into average, daily rituals, like coffee drinking, that he’ll play into a longterm trend of micro-dosing.
It’s right intersection between something personal — your morning cup of coffee — and something social. We all enjoy meeting friends out for coffee, so from a social standpoint, it’s something I see just getting bigger and bigger.
Schroeder is currently working with a major speciality coffee brand on his own product, with the hope that by partnering with a well-known name, it’ll give more legitimacy to a product he believes would be beneficial, and enjoyable, for everyone. “It’s estimated that 14 million people are going to try cannabis for the first time in 2017,” Schroeder says.
Having a major brand step up and say, ‘we’re making a cannabis product’ is going to help consumers on the fence say, ‘this isn’t just for stoners.’
Beyond creating a product that’s approachable to everyone, he wants to up the ante on the current crop of coffee products. “One of the amazing things about consumables,” he says, “is that it’s not about who gets to the market first, it’s about execution.” Schroeder and Steep Fuze both want to create a product that not only gets you your weed fix, but one that tastes more than good — one that tastes incredible. To do so, Schroeder is treating his product like any fine-tuned specialty coffee: creating roast profiles, sourcing excellent green beans, going through round after round of taste-testing and in doing so, creating not just a product, but a brand that veterans and newbies to the world of marijuana can be comfortable with; a brand that people can trust like they trust their favorite clothing line or beer.
Both Steep Fuze and Schroeder believe that CBD or THC infused coffee products could be the gateway for many non-marijuana users to try and enjoy without the fear that comes with the current megadose mentality. And they aren’t alone. Steep Fuze’s Jamroz alluded to “10 or 11” products currently vying to join a handful of others already permeating the market. Schroeder also mentioned a handful of products he’s found through his research. And beyond the stiff competition that any potentially lucrative product brings, not everyone is as excited about the prospect of coffee and marijuana as Jamroz, Glennon and Schroeder are. Kevin Reed, the founder of San Francisco’s Green Cross dispensary, said frankly, “No, I do not see there being a market for this. Several people in California have tried it and already failed. As a retailer of these edible products, I can only say that they do not sell.”
But what Reed is talking about are the products currently on the market, the first pancakes of coffee the weed hybridization (if you’ll excuse the odd metaphor), stabs in the dark at a previously untouched industry. The slow, state-by-state legalization of marijuana is creating never before tested markets, and as more and more entrepreneurs try to make their fortunes with these markets, the quality of products will improve as the competition stiffens.
And with thoughtful vendors like Devin Jamroz, Ben Glennon and Chris Schroeder approaching weed-enabled coffee products with an eye towards expanding the customer base as well as making delicious, gourmet beverages the future, if not foreseeable, is brighter than it has ever been before.
Author: Noah Sanders