Oregon is home to an array of hyperlocal craft movements, including an internationally known coffee industry. But as of late 2015, recreational cannabis is legal here—one of just a few states with legal pot sales, alongside Colorado, Washington, and as of 2018, the state of California. This has (perhaps unsurprisingly) led to a boom for cannabis businesses here in the Beaver State. Portland alone has over 167 dispensaries and enough coffee shops to merit the title third most caffeinated city in America. The blending of bean and flower here is as natural as it was inevitable.
Bend, Oregon-based brand Magic Number is one of a handful of Oregon canna-businesses producing cannabis-infused beverages. In addition to their line of infused ginger beer, they recently started producing cold brew coffee mixed with cannabis oil extract from both uplifting and relaxing strains. The coffee is brewed using coffee roasted and source by Bonsai Beans (also based in Bend). Bottles come in 12-ounce sizes with three options for THC-rich doses: 3 milligrams, 10 milligrams, and 25 milligrams. A quick translation for cannabis novices, those doses mean, roughly: kind of high, pretty high, and roll with RiRi-high. Fabulousness may vary.
On assignment to check out the product for Sprudge, I went to Brothers Cannabis, on SE Division Street, to pick up a couple bottles of Magic Number. They didn’t have the 25-milligram bottles in stock (neither did five other dispensaries I called), but they did have the 3-and-10mg varieties. My helpful budtender [like a barista for weed—Ed.] told me he’d tried it, and described Magic Number as a good way to get a fix of both caffeine and cannabis at the same time. (Obviously.)
I opted for two bottles of the 10-mg cold brew. To start, I casually drank a moderately chilled dose: a five-milligram serving (half a bottle) of the cold brew, shared with a friend during an afternoon sampling session. The coffee had a pleasant and inviting floral aroma. However, upon the first sip, I immediately noticed the drink’s sweetness. Like many non-cannabis infused cold brews, Magic Number adds what they call “just a touch” of cane sugar to their cold brew, but the amount of sugar (five grams per bottle) took me aback. The roast on the coffee was not especially dark, at least compared to other cold brews I’ve had, but offered enough savory, rich chocolate notes that, when paired with the sugar, nearly muted the taste of cannabis oil.
The activation time for Magic Number coffee ranges from 30 minutes to an hour and a half according to the product label, but a couple of hours after lunch and about 25 minutes post-consumption, I started to feel the effects of the THC, caffeine, and sugar. I didn’t experience a cerebral, psychoactive high (my dosage of THC is usually around seven and a half milligrams), but I did feel the effects in other parts of my body: My usually tight upper shoulder and back muscles were noticeably more relaxed. I also experienced a mellow, chatty energy that lasted about two and a half hours and complemented the active end to my day into the start of the evening.
Some people can drink caffeinated coffee on an empty stomach, and others enjoy the racy euphoria associated with certain uplifting cannabis strains. I don’t enjoy either of those two things, and I certainly don’t enjoy them together. So why on earth I decided to attempt an entire bottle of 10mg Magic Number on my own, first thing in the morning and before breakfast, I will never know. The second time around, my first sips left me feeling like I was en route to the moon, not “transported to the rich mountain sides of Guatemala” as described by Magic Number’s website. Feeling jittery, I backed off for a few minutes and then continued to sip the rest of the coffee for a more measured and balanced effect. I eventually noticed a more pronounced taste of cannabis as the liquid warmed to room temperature. Nonetheless, the flavor of the drink was still pretty enjoyable, though I would strongly recommend that casual users take it easy with this stuff on the first try.
For the cannabis consumer that enjoys a little coffee with their daily dose of sugar, I’d recommend Magic Number. For others, who, like me, prefer black coffee with minimal sugar, I advise cutting the infused coffee with an equal part of your favorite non-infused cold brew. Most importantly, if you aren’t sure what dose of THC is right for you, it’s best to start with a lower dosage beverage—perhaps start with trying the 3-mg bottle. Take a few sips, wait 20 or 30 minutes to see how you feel, and then proceed with consuming if you are comfortable enough to do so. This is the best way to find the balance of THC—and sugar and caffeine—that works for you. Cheers!
Tiara Darnell is a globetrotter, budtender, and freelance journalist, based in Portland, Oregon. This is her first feature for Sprudge Media Network.