You may have heard that marijuana is legal now in Washington State. With this festive sea change has come a torrent of new recreational marijuana products, from oils to concentrates to all manner of edibles. The merging of coffee and cannabis is inevitable, but for now at least, the available products are pretty circumspect. Still, this is 4/20, the worldwide cannabis holiday, and we are #journalists in pursuit of a hot scoop. So I sat down with Zachary Carlsen, my fellow Sprudge co-founder, to brew up a pouch of dehydrated coffee weed powder: Wake & Bake by Baked Botanicals, purchased from one of Washington State's best recreational pot shops, High End Market Place in Vancouver, Washington.
The ingredients for Baked Botanicals' Wake & Bake are “Powdered Expresso, cold pressed CO2 oil, and maltodextrin.” Let's ignore the “X in Espresso” part—which isn't necessarily wrong—and learn a little more about this coffee + cannabis offering. The product itself is manufactured by “Green Chief Medical,” located in Marysville, Washington. On Facebook we found claims that Wake & Bake was approved for sale all the way back on November 18, 2014. Our product's made-on date was 02-10-2015, and its best-by date was 7-10-15, meaning this stuff is shelf stable for like 5 months.
Baked Botanicals does not have a website, but they do totally have a Facebook. The name “Baked Botanicals” is a play on the stoner slang term “baked“, meaning experiencing the effects of marijuana. The botanicals part refers to the organic plant material itself, in our case a mix of cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. Indica and sativa are actually totally different species of the same mother plant. The science-minded stoner types at LeafScience can explain more, but for coffee people, think of it as robusta and arabica: different but the same but very, very different in the end. Indicas generally produce low-grade body highs, and are great for watching a movie or chilling out. Sativas generally deliver an up-tempo heady high, great for career stoners and journalists.
Inside of the “Baked Botanicals” packaging was another, smaller baggie containing the instant coffee weed. We cracked it open and gave the stuff a whiff. Our tasting notes were “Chinese herbs and sugar cereal”, although let's be real, that was us being charitable. The stuff actually just smelled like dehydrated coffee, which is what it is, albeit infused with some cannabis oil. Undeterred by what we both guessed would be kind of a gross drinking experience, we decided to cup it first. Here's the powdered stuff in a cupping bowl.
Then we cupped it. Not 100% sure here but we may well be the first humans to forensically cup and evaluate a dehydrated cannabis instant coffee substance, for purposes of #journalism.
It tasted…roasty. Toasty. “Off”—like the defect section of a cupping triangulation. Another slurp…rubber tires. Powdered Robusta? Ghastly. The top of the cup was oily and not all the powder dissolved…another intrepid slurp yielded turmeric ginger spice notes…velvety, smooth, kind of a dry finish, papery…sure.
We disagreed as to whether or not you could taste the cannabis. The cup gave us a dry mouthfeel…you know, like dry mouth. Notes of “duuuuuuuuuude.” Cardboard finish. Maybe let's try it with some milk and sugar?
The addition of milk did not improve the cup's visual appeal. “It looks like sewer water,” Zachary said, and he was right. With milk added…there's still that unmistakeable powdered coffee thing, except now lukewarm and somehow even more oily. We sat there staring at the muddy cup. Our ensuing dialogue went something like this:
Zachary: “Are you gonna chug this down? Chugalug, Jordan. It's 4/20.”
Jordan: “Do you feel anything?”
Zachary: “I feel so high.”
Jordan: “Do you really?”
Jordan: “Is that a no?”
Zachary: “I just had a tiny sip. If you guzzle this all down, in about an hour you'll feel so good.”
Jordan: “That's textbook enabling.”
I decided not to drink it all down because life is a series of choices, and I'm trying to make the right ones, and also didn't want to Maureen Dowd myself into oblivion. The tiny little bit we tasted had no appreciable effect on my cognitive process, although as I sit here typing “appreciable effect on my cognitive process” I wonder whether or not that's really true. Maybe this nasty coffee + weed sludge is in the driver's seat now. Maybe I'm in for a wild ride.
Anyway, the million dollar question here is: coffee + weed products, must they be gross? Oily butter weed coffee is gross, and this instant powdered stuff was really gross. But does it have to be that way forever? What about like, super-concentrated hash oil droplets on a carefully curated shot of espresso? Where's my Ganja Geisha sig drink? Why not more mochas made with delightful pot ganache? For this year's celebration of 4/20, you'd be better off just drinking some tasty coffee, then smoking some kind buds like a normal person. But the wheels of progress march on, and by this time next year…who knows, dude. Who knows.
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and senior editor at Sprudge.
Sprudge.com does not endorse illegal drug taking or the consumption of disgusting coffee.