For many buzz seekers, coffee and cannabis go together like cream and sugar, or Cheech and Chong.
Now the pairing is being taken to the next logical level.
San Francisco’s Ritual Coffee Roasters, beloved by aficionados for its artisanal approach, is providing the beans for a marijuana-infused, cold-brew coffee made by Somatik, a Bay Area pot-products startup. Hitting cannabis dispensary refrigerators last week, Somatik Featuring Ritual Coffee pairs one of the Bay Area’s most prominent coffee brands with the newly legal botanical drug.
“There’s no replacement for a joint and a cup of coffee,” said Christopher Schroeder, founder of Somatik. But he says his pot-infused drink “gives me a more balanced feel between my mind and my body, so I don’t feel as ‘cerebral’ as when I smoke a joint. It’s functional. It does make me feel light and fun, but also relaxed and very much in my body still.”
Somatik and Ritual’s co-branded cold brew comes in 8-ounce bottles that each contain 15 milligrams of THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana. That works out to 1½ standard doses of marijuana per bottle, which can be enjoyed straight, or diluted with milk or water.
It’s a watershed moment for marijuana branding, watchers say.
“As far as I know, this is the first instance of any edibles company partnering with a renowned coffee roaster or any other existing product like this,” said Debby Goldsberry, a veteran Bay Area cannabis activist and owner of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, which started carrying Somatik’s cold brew this month. “It’s definitely unique and absolutely unusual, and something we can point to about the way the stigma around medical marijuana is changing.”
Bill Kerr, founder of Vertical, a Sonoma marketing agency for high-end food, wine and beer, said Somatik teaming with Ritual “builds a ton of credibility where you can inspire someone to pick up that bottle and try it the first time.”
“I think it’s really brilliant because it gives them a differentiation,” Kerr said. “Edibles up until now have been driven by, ‘Hey, there’s cannabis inside it.’ This absolutely makes sense. There are coffee connoisseurs like there are cannabis connoisseurs, and they both really care about the sourcing and all the nuances.”
The partnership was a classic San Francisco fusion. Ritual Coffee Roasters began a dozen years ago as a Mission District pop-up that rode coffee’s third wave, maturing into an importer and microroaster of highly sought-after beans. It operates cafes and is steeped in industry accolades and coffee-nerd culture.