By Kate A. Miner EVERCANNABIS Correspondent
Letâ€™s face it, we all enjoy the idea of a freshly-brewed cup of coffee, tea, mocha, iced tea, Frappuccino, flat white or cold brew, the list goes on. Every day a new hot or cold concoction involving coffee and/or tea emerges and most Washingtonians canâ€™t get enough.
Whether you prefer wrapping your hands around your favorite latte or sipping Earl Grey, these beverages are traditionally relied upon for waking up, punctuating workdays, losing weight, finding friends, suppressing boredom, even helping you sleep. Which is why cannabis can offer some overlap for consumers of coffee and tea.
But until recently, if you wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee with a dose of THC, your only option was to purchase and brew your favorite grind, and then add some form of cannabis-infused tincture, butter, honey or chocolate.
Unfortunately, this method doesnâ€™t always provide the best flavor, and results certainly can vary. This may seem like an easy compromise if caffeinated stoniness is what youâ€™re seeking, but in a culture obsessed with fine coffee and tea, it makes sense that THC/CBD infused products are entering the mainstream market and presenting more options.
â€śLike codeine and caffeine, a combination used to relieve symptoms of muscle tension headaches, CBD takes caffeine to a new level,â€ť explained Mike Forest, owner of Forest Pharms, a hemp company based in Spokane that has been working with new products, genetics, and ideas to further progress the ways we can utilize cannabinoids. â€śYou can drink a cup of CBD-infused coffee before bed and still get a good nightâ€™s sleep.â€ť
Forest and his team at Forest Pharms are working on perfecting the process of precisely infusing coffee with cannabis and hemp, and recently released a Full Spectrum Nano-Hemp Coffee in conjunction with Sleepy Monk Roasters out of Oregon.
â€śThe problem is that cannabis is not very bioavailable. Which is why THC and CBD are typically suspended into something that increases absorption,â€ť he said.
He said Forest Pharms uses a new technique that involves a fat-bonded, full-spectrum, nanotization process that can increase bioavailability by 100-200 percent.
â€śWe use an ultrasonic process that breaks down microparticles to nanoparticles and allows the hemp to be water soluble and creates a much easier way to dissolve and absorb the product,â€ť Forest said.
This brings us to an important differentiator worth mentioning. When looking for THC-infused coffee or tea products vs. straight CBD products, there are fewer options.
One of the top cannabis-infused coffee options in Washington is from Fairwinds out of Vancouver. Fairwinds and Paper Tiger Coffee Roasters, also located in Vancouver, source cocoa/java blends locally. Their product, Cattapult Cannabis Infused Coffee or Hot Mocha Coffee, is a cocoa mix with a splash of coffee. Each unit provides 10mg of THC per serving.
In Colorado and California consumers may find more options, such as House of Jane, Therapy Tonics & Provisions, Canyon Cultivation, and BrewBudz. The truth is, the cannabis retailers are not seeing a huge market for these yet. Coffee drinkers who also enjoy cannabis seem to be just fine with the tinctures and butters, or perhaps an old-school wake-and-bake combo of a morning joint plus a cup of joe.
Tea, on the other hand, has a different appeal and audience. The combination of a plant-based product infused with water seems more familiar, and whether itâ€™s CBD paired with green tea leaves, or THC and soothing chamomile, these beverages stimulate the senses and marry the tradition of relaxation and ritual in a harmonious way.
Evergreen Herbal out of Seattle, one of Washingtonâ€™s first manufacturers and distributors of cannabis-activated products, makes a chai tea, an Assam black tea, a jasmine green tea, and a â€śPM Formulaâ€ť sleepy time tea, all with 10 mg of THC per serving.
A company out of California, Kikoko, offers a range of fun, flavorful teas, and goes the extra marketing mile by helping you throw your own â€śhigh teaâ€ť party.
Canna Tea, out of Bend, Ore., has designed an infused product line around the â€śsun teaâ€ť method of setting a jar of water and your favorite tea outside, letting the sun naturally create an infusion of Zen. For example, their Honey Rose Chamomile uses a pure Hindu Kush Indica strain, and is said to â€śignite a strong body stone, and an uplifting experience.â€ť
Top Leaf out of Canada has focused more on the medicinal properties of cannabis, with products like Meadowsweet Anti Inflammatory Tea and Meadowsweet Womanâ€™s Tea, a blend to help balance the hormones and ease the symptoms related to menstruation and menopause.
Skyline Boulevard Co. has more traditional tea blends and cool packaging, but more importantly high dose teas with as much as 30mg THC.
The Madhatter Coffee and Tea Company, out of New Mexico, seems to be the leader in both categories. It offers a full line of medical and recreational cannabis infused coffees, teas, cocoas, mochas, and mushroom elixirs. They are also organic, and all their cannabis infused drinks are soy, gluten and sugar free.
More and more purveyors of coffee and tea are experimenting with CBD possibilities. Starbucks announced in March that they hope to be one of the first major coffee chains to offer CBD-infused drinks, and singer Willie Nelsonâ€™s brand, Willieâ€™s Remedy, recently released Willieâ€™s Remedy Whole Bean Coffee, infused with certified organic full-spectrum hemp oil.
Thereâ€™s something so perfect about combining coffee or tea with cannabis. Whether you prefer bulletproof coffee, a keto coffee emulsion using canna butter, canna honey in your tea, or a precisely dosed, cannabinoid-infused drink from one of these companies. Cannabis combined with your coffee or tea can provide a splendid sense of focus and relaxation that can smooth out the buzzing high of caffeine or complement the soothing effects of a sleep-inducing tea.
Kate A. Miner has a degree in visual anthropology, and has worked in marketing and advertising for many years. She writes, takes photos and teaches yoga.