Talk to anybody about Marijuana Coffee and they may refer to long existing establishments in Netherlands where licensed coffee shops have been serving it to customers for decades. However, the idea has firmly caught on in the United States, where pot-infused coffee is taking the market by storm as more consumers are finally becoming informed on the medicinal properties of this amazing plant.
The marijuana connoisseur's term for smoking pot in the morning has a fresh new connotation: A new wave of cannabis-infused coffees is bringing customers a hemp-flavored edge to their morning joe.
Los Angeles-based coffee company Compelling & Rich markets its Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans as "herb conditioned." They use a process called green coffee conditioning that exposes unroasted coffee beans to vaporized ingredients at a low combustion point, and then infuses the coffee with that flavor. To date, the company has used the process to create coffees infused with marijuana, oolong tea, and chai tea.
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 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.
In many ways we are now at the cusp of an entirely new cooking revolution as cannabis cuisine is now going mainstream. Cooking with cannabis is emerging as a legitimate and very lucrative culinary pursuit. skilled line cooks are leaving respected restaurants to take more lucrative jobs infusing cannabis into food and drinks. In Washington, one of four states that allow recreational marijuana sales, a large cannabis bakery dedicated to affluent customers with good palates will soon open in Seattle. Hundreds of thousands of cannabis-based recipes have been shared on TheStonersCookbook.com since 2006.
There is simply no doubt now on the health benefits of cannabis. But as more and more pot edibles pop up on the market, there are concerns that people will overeat them and harm themselves and others, raising questions about how much cannabis regulation is needed (even though nobody has ever died from marijuana). But as legalization is inevitable across the country it's important to focus on adult consumption and keep the kiddies away from children who can become nauseated after eating too many pot edibles.
For dispensaries, marijuana-laced coffee is extremely useful: It's a high-sales margin novelty item that gets curious outsiders into their store. Much like marijuana-infused cakes or soft drinks, it offers sales possibilities that their more conventional products don't have. And for those people who just don't feel like paying $10 for a pod of cannabis coffee, the Internet has DIY recipes as well.