In the 1990s, when sun-dried tomatoes and simple basil pesto were all the rage, it may have seemed preposterous that the then-utilitarian vices coffee and cannabis would become the stuff of craft foodery. But times change, and with the legalization of cannabis in certain jurisdictions, the specialty food industry has awakened to some untapped potential combining these two currently trendy “ingredients.”
Le Herbe (pronounced “The Erb”) is a young company hailing from Seattle, one of the great American cities for both coffee and cannabis, or so we’re told. Trailing not far behind the Portland, Ore.-based cacao-coffee-cannabis collaboration involving Ristretto Roasters and Leif Medicinals, Le Herbe’s line of packaged, cannabis-infused drinks has just grown to include Le Herbe Cold Brew Coffee, a bottled cold-brewed coffee beverage in which coffee grounds are steeped with marijuana extracts for 24 hours. The recipe also includes vanilla bean, chicory and chocolate.
Coffee is no afterthought to its cannabis counterpart here. The company has hired a master roaster, purchased a San Franciscan production roaster, and the coffee drink’s R&D period involved numerous experiments from single-origin, organic-certified coffees sourced by Royal Coffee.
“During our three-month R&D, we tried Cumbres Del Poas from Costa Rica [and] Ethiopia Natural Yirgacheffe from Konga before settling on a Sumatra from Ketiara,” Le Herbe Public Relations Director Vincent Cali told Daily Coffee News. “The hints of vanilla, licorice, and chocolate goes perfect with our solventless cannabis extracts.” Cali added that there’s a distinct earthiness to the extract that plays nicely with the richness of the chosen Sumatra.
Le Herbe’s cannabis extracts — available on their own as tinctures, infused with teas or added to products such as balms, lotions and even clothing — provide approximately 10mg of THC to each 330ml bottle of the cold brew coffee drink.
“Cold brew is emerging as one of the hottest beverages in the United States, especially among millennials,” Le Herbe Business Development Director Frank Cali said in an announcement of the coffee product, which is currently only available for pre-order. “Coffee and Cannabis is a daily requirement to most of us here at Le Herbe. You won’t find us in Seattle without a quality cup of coffee nearby.”
Vincent Cali told Daily Coffee News that the company is currently ironing out plans for franchised bottling facilities that will allow for 10,000 bottles to be produced per day per state. The company is targeting its initial distribution in cannabis-friendly states including Washington, Colorado, Oregon and California. Depending on any wrangling with state laws, the company is hoping to have the product available in each state by March of this year.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at publisher (at) dailycoffeenews.com, or see the "About Us" page located at the bottom of this site for contact information.