By Shay Castle Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Pot infused coffee? Yes it exists. The beans at Boulder's "SteepFuze" are infused with the non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) which comes from hemp. The startup's founder says CBD's anti-inflammatory properties helps to eliminate coffee jitters.
Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo. There's a new trend brewing in the coffee pots of Boulder County. It's green, growing and totally groovy.
Two local startups are infusing the world's favorite bean with its favorite herb. Native Jack, out of Louisville, is canning a cold brew, Thai style beverage with spice, condensed milk and cannabis.
Boulder's SteepFuze is taking a different approach, selling infused beans by the pound, roasted by Unseen Bean founder Gerry Leary.
Neither of the products will aid in your wake and bake, however: They're infused with the non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) which comes from hemp.
Instead, a cup of the juiced joe will eliminate the coffee jitters, said Native Jack founder Jason Walsh.
"You can maintain a level of caffeine focus but CBD turns down the noise a little bit," he said. "I used to get a caffeine headache during the day, but because of CBD's anti-inflammatory properties, I never get that."
Walsh is already familiar with the benefits of CBD. Along with wife Catherine, he also owns energy bar startup Yummari, which utilizes hemp for protein.
SteepFuze founder Devin Jamroz had a morning routine of chasing CBD oil with coffee, to treat the pain of herniated discs in his back.
"The oil just tastes awful," he said. "So I was chasing it one morning and I just had this 'aha!' moment of combining them."
Jamroz started out roasting and infusing the beans himself. During a phone call about the process, standing in the backyard, he heard a voice from on high, "Hey, man, are you in the coffee business?"
"It was this total moment of hearing a voice. I looked around and didn't see anyone. I was almost like, 'God???'"
It wasn't a deity, but Unseen Bean founder and roaster Leary, speaking from beyond the hedges. ("I forget that just because I can hear people doesn't mean they can see me," said Leary, who is blind.)
Devon still considers it divine intervention. Leary has put in many hours researching infusion and chemistry, getting the process just right to preserve the taste while still delivering the supposed benefits of CBD.
Leary's infusion process gets CBD into the bean itself as well as on the outside. And because of hemp's anti-microbial properties, he said, it keeps the coffee fresh for longer.
SteepFuze will soon be available in head shops and medical dispensaries, including Longmont's Greenhouse Hydrophonis and High Society. Native Jack is going the grocery route, with shelf space in the area Alfalfa's. Both are selling online.
Both are pricey -- $10 for a can of Native Jack; $75 per pound for the SteepFuze beans. Those prices reflect the cost of CBD rather than the cost of coffee, the founders say.
Costs for CBD range quite a bit, according to Ryan Kingsbury of Boulder's CW Hemp, from a low of 5 cents per milligram to around 25 cents per mg. A can of Native Jack has 15 mg; a pound of SteepFuze has 450.
Both entrepreneurs are hopeful about the future of their product.
"Something about coffee is very familiar, very comforting, so the idea that you can put your medicine in your coffee, it's a great way to get introduced to it," Jamroz said.
"Who doesn't love a good cup of coffee?"
Cannabis and coffee are just a popular combination, added Walsh.
"They go together so well," he said. "I mean, just look at Amsterdam."