HOPE Premium Cannabis Products wants to be the Snapple of weed someday
“Coffee and cannabis. It’s like peanut butter and jelly,” says Dr. Howard Rubin, a founder of HOPE Premium Cannabis Products and one of the creators of Cannabrew. He has a point: As adult marijuana legalization spreads across the country, we’ve seen a variety of new THC-infused products, from beef jerky to dried kiwi, but few seem as natural (and necessary) as those that blend coffee and cannabis.
Cannabrew is a cold-brewed coffee infused with THC that has recently come on the market in Nevada. “Cold brew coffee is popular. It has more caffeine in it than a regular cup of coffee, approximately 10 percent more. And the interaction of cannabis and caffeine seems to be an enjoyable experience for those who use it,” Rubin says.
The product comes in an eight-ounce bottle but, with 50 or 100 mg of THC, it’s not intended to be consumed at once like your grande latte or tallboy of energy drink. Cannabrew is intended to be taken in small doses, like a shot of espresso, or added to other beverages. “They'll take an ounce or two out of the bottle and put it in coffee or make a smoothie of it,” Rubin says. “One of my favorite things to do is put the whole bottle in a blender with a quart of ice cream, a little bit of milk and a shot of Kahlua—it's the best coffee shake ever.”
Cannabrew is like a wake and bake, all in one drink. On its own, it’s a fairly strong and flavorful brew without the heavy weed-y taste you'll find in some infused beverages. It’s most effective as a little jolt added to a large iced coffee, and the variable dosing means you can add a half-ounce for a subtle kick, or several ounces for an outright buzz.
Of course, just because coffee and cannabis is a natural combination doesn’t mean it came easily. “It took several months to refine this product and come up with a way to mix oil and water… so the cannabis oil wouldn't separate from the coffee,” Rubin says.
Then they had to find a way to satisfy the State of Nevada's requirements for within-state testing when the only cold-brew coffee tester was in California. Deciding to use pH level as an alternative standard created its own problems. “In order to lower the pH, you use a little citric acid. But the taste of citric acid in coffee was not very good. So we figured out a different way of doing it and ended up with this extremely good coffee.”
HOPE got into the cannabis industry several years ago with a line of medicinal products. “We are a medical group that entered the cannabis industry. Our medical group is the Museum Center Surgery group located in Los Angeles California. So when we decided to get into this and decided to do it ourselves, we took our oath of do no harm very seriously,” Rubin says. HOPE developed a series of vapes and tinctures designed for specific effect—sleep, pain relief, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety, the last of which Rubin created specifically for veterans with PTSD. He notes that Cannabrew is “a recreational product” but he and his partner Chris Johnson developed it with the same standards and care as their medical items.
“We’re expanding our beverage line to include a variety of lemonades—the taste is unbelievable,” he says. There will also be additional caffeinated options with different dosage levels and flavors like hazelnut and French roast coming online soon. “The flavored coffees—they're not added, it's based on the roasting of the coffee,” he says. “So we’ll have those different cold brew variety as well as the lemonade line, and we may even have an iced tea line.”
“We’re going to become the Snapple of cannabis in Nevada.”