Coffee and cigarettes is a familiar, time-tested pairing. Coffee and cannabidiol? That’s a new one.
Cannabidiol is better known as CBD, one of more than 100 known cannabinoids in cannabis. CBD has no psychoactive effects, but some research suggests that CBD offers anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-anxiety properties.
Combine the CBD with the caffeine, and the effects could be complementary, or so that was the idea behind Hellion Coffee’s new CBD-infused cold brew, said Hellion co-owner Ben Houtkamp.
“We all kind of agreed that CBD makes sense to go with coffee,” he said. “It kind of sounds counterintuitive at first, but there’s a nice juxtaposition between the two, like getting the caffeine but without any anxiety or jittery-ness, because it can be easy to overdo it with caffeine.”
The brew comes in a stylish 12-ounce bottle, sealed with green wax that also features the imprint of a cannabis leaf on top. The beverage inside is unlike any other cold brew I’ve ever tasted.
While only slightly pungent on the nose, the cold brew is earthy and tangy, some “funk of the skunk,” if you will. Houtkamp said he wanted the infusion to be apparent to the drinker but was admittedly “really scared it was going to taste like weed — a lot.”
Hellion’s final product avoids reeking of weed, and the CBD effects, taste-wise, give it an earthiness that typically gets lost in the smoothness of cold brew, only to be found in a cup of hot joe. The effects of the CBD on the body vary from person to person, but the 30-milligram dosage here is a standard, comfortable dose for anyone, and its balance with the caffeine proved to be quite nice.
“Personally, I really like that cannabis is becoming more normalized, and if we can aid in normalizing that, I like that,” Houtkamp said.
Houtkamp said Hellion got help during the process from CBD vendor Hemplucid, which provided a water-soluble CBD product that was needed to infuse the coffee, which has no fat.
Hellion — which is a sister company of Metric Coffee — has already released two batches of the CBD-infused brew, and Houtkamp said the company is preparing for one more release soon, so keep an eye out if you want to grab one of the bottles, priced at $13 apiece.
Even if you get skipped on that round, however, Houtkamp said he’s hoping for a larger-scale release during the warm season. He declined to elaborate further.
Those curious about this chemical combo should keep a lookout for an announcement and be prepared to head to the Metric’s West Loop cafe ASAP to snag a stash.