Coffee and cigarettes are the classic duo. But in 2017, in many parts of the world, smoking a joint and drinking a cup of joe is seen as a healthier combo. But if you want to streamline your daily intake, there’s a new, bottled cold-brewed blend that mixes artisanal java and marijuana for fancy caffeination and a smoke-free high.
Its creators—the California cannabis company Somatik and San Francisco artisanal brewers Ritual Coffee Roasters—say it makes for a chocolatey smooth brew that plays subtle notes of cannabis with hints of fruit, all while providing a functional “light and fun” high that balances body and mind. An eight-ounce bottle of this blend, called Somatik, contains 15 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that produces a high), costs $12, and is designed for conscious consumers with opinions about beans, trees, and efficiency.
Somatik founder Christopher Schroeder told the San Francisco Chronicle he wanted to work with Ritual because their beans are responsibly grown and sourced, and they have a direct relationship with farmers around the world so can report minute details about cultivation. Somatik works with similarly attentive local marijuana growers, and says he cares as much about process as production.
But Ritual’s founder, Eileen Rinaldi, wasn’t convinced that Schroeder could make a marijuana java good enough for her brand. “I was very skeptical that you could add cannabis into coffee without it being the dominant flavor,” she said. Still, Schroeder proved that it could be done, and she approved his subtle concoction.
For now, Somatik is only sold in local dispensaries to a limited number of residents who have medical marijuana recommendations—it can’t be sold in cafes for legal reasons. Californians with medical approval who appreciate both weed and coffee also recently got the option to brew the stuff on home machines with weed-infused java pods made by another company.
Recreational marijuana legalization, approved by California voters in November, begins in the state in 2018. When that happens, Somatik will likely start showing up at cafes serving Ritual throughout the state.
A local cannabis expert—Debby Goldsberry, the owner of Magnolia Wellness, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland with plans to open a cafe for marijuana and java consumption—says Somatik is delicious. But she’s as impressed with the creators’ business acumen as she is with their product.
Goldsberry believes the union between Somatik and Ritual is an exciting example of the kinds of partnerships that will likely become increasingly common once recreational marijuana is legal in California. Marijuana market analysts say the industry generated $6.7 billion in North America in 2016, up 30% from 2015. So hopes for the future are understandably high (pun intended).
For his part, Schroeder admits that mixed drinks can’t offer all the satisfaction of the classic that inspired him. “There’s no replacement for a joint and a cup of coffee,” he said.