Spro & Dro is an anonymous blogger reporting from the very forefront of specialty coffee & high-grade marijuana. Founded in Washington State in 2012, S&D has been afforded a huge boost in available content over the last few months, as recreational marijuana stores opened their doors across Washington last July. We join Spro & Dro (who does not use his/her real name in publishing) on a sleepy morning in Seattle…
On Sunday morning my coffee and weed dreams came true. It all happened in Seattle's International District at a place called Trichome, a cannabis lifestyle shop. I was there for Trichome's hosted “bulletproof”-style coffee tasting. If you've never heard of it, “bulletproof coffee” is basically mixture of coffee, grass fed butter, and something called medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT). Many people swear by the health benefits of this concoction; most coffee enthusiasts are highly dubious.
So how does buttery coffee make dreams come true? Well, back in 2012, Initiative 502 was passed in Washington State. I-502 “defined and legalized small amounts of marijuana-related products for adults 21 and over” according to Cannabis Washington. The task of regulation was then delegated to the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB), and that's led to an influx of legal, recreational, and totally normalized weed shops popping up across Washington State. So at Sunday's coffee tasting, it wasn't really so much about the bulletproof coffee…it was more about options. Namely, the option to add a little cannabis oil to our brew.
This is where Trichome comes in. As explained by Gwen McKenzie, the event's coordinator, Trichome is “a lifestyle store that reflects the modern stance on cannabis culture.” The store is half high-end streetwear boutique and half the hippest headshop you've ever seen, making it an ideal venue to host a coffee + cannabis event of this nature. However, even though recreational consumption is now legal in Seattle, this kind of event is still slightly a grey area—weed shops in Washington aren't like the ones in Amsterdam, meaning that you cannot consume any product you purchase inside the shop itself. But because Trichome does not hold a pot retail license, the WSLCB has no jurisdiction, which means that mellow social events like this one are an issue for local law enforcement, not the state-wide regulatory board. Lucky for us, local law enforcement has been chill on the issue thus far.
I did not know what to expect when I arrived at Trichome, entering past a bank of classic arcade games (they have Street Fighter) and making my way to the front counter. There I was met by a Trichome staffer named Mary Jane (!), who gave me and some other folks a rundown on the event, took our $10 and gave us tickets to bring upstairs. As an aside, the tickets were pretty sick. They were tiny business cards packed in small “dime” bags that had superhero logos and weed leaves.
Upstairs we were greeted by McKenzie and our barista for the event, David Craig. Craig brewed us a Hario V-60 of Batdorf & Bronson Kenya AA Ichamama and added the butter, oil and cannabis. He blended the ingredients with a handheld stirrer and handed over the cup. The butter definitely muted any delicate Kenyan coffee flavors we would have tasted, but the overall cup taste wasn't that bad, and I especially enjoyed the warming effect the oils had on my lips as I drank the coffee. There was no cannabis flavor in the final brew, but after about 20 minutes we were feeling it. The Northwest Speedball [a colloquial Pacific Northwest term for the combined effects of THC and caffeine—ed.] was surging through me, and I could feel all the benefits of having just smoked some weed while still feeling awake and focused. I could get used to this.
After finishing my drink I wanted to stay a while in the shop, so I posted up and people-watched. The majority of attendees were typical Seattleites in their mid 20s to early 30s. Much like a cafe, the crowds came in waves. The conversations were similar to what you'd hear in a cafe. Some folks dipped in and out real quick and others stuck around and probed to find out what coffee was used, how it was ground (they were rocking a Baratza Encore), and how it was roasted. In many ways, my experience that morning was nothing out of the ordinary for a typical coffee shop session. People came out to drink good coffee, share some stories, plan out the rest of their Sundays. We also all got a little high together. The whole experience was mellow and fun. What's wrong with that?
Long live the elevated wake & bake!
Spro & Dro is a coffee & cannabis writer based in Washington State.