Riding on the cannabis legalization wave, merchants are seeing an opportunity to offer customers an ingredient offering many purported benefits without as much of the THC stigma.
CBD is popping up in food and drinks – from cocktails to coffee, and of course, brownies and more – in some areas. Notably New York City and Los Angeles have had some activity on the CBD front.
One such shop is North Hollywood’s Joe Coffee, which opened three years ago and is owned by husband-wife team Joe and Breanne Yarbrough. They added CBD to their menu offerings on April 20, 2018.
They answered some questions about their new menu item and the benefits of CBD.
Q: What made you decide to open a coffee shop in LA?
Joe Yarbrough: To be honest, it was a total impulse buy. I walked into get a water, recognized the owner from a movie I grew up with, started a [conversation]with him. That was on Wednesday – he said he wanted out Saturday. I got the keys and we opened Monday morning for business … was definitely a whirlwind. [I] was going to turn it into a little dive bar, but after doing a coffee shop for a few months, we decided it was a way better business.
Q: What’s your shop’s vibe?
Joe: The vibe of the place is I guess ’80 to ‘90s hip-hop boy kinda vibe with excellent customer service. We wanted something a little different than the trendy things going on in LA right now.
Q: When and why did you add CBD to the menu?
Joe: I had the idea of CBD/THC coffee a couple years ago but just added it on 4/20 of this year. I have been a marijuana consumer for 20-plus years. Living in both Africa and Amsterdam, it gave me a pretty good education on the plant. And the why? Well, I believe in medicinal elements of the plant, the CBD, as much as the social and feeling aspect of the THC. And the coffee is an awesome vehicle for someone wanting their medicine.
Q: What can customers add it to?
Joe: You can add it to pretty much anything we have, as the CBD we have is full spectrum, and tasteless, and odorless, so it won’t affect the taste of the coffee —which is huge for us, as we think we have the best coffee in LA.
That’s another reason it took us so long to add it, as we vetted multiple companies before finding what we wanted. Also it had to be water-soluble, and that was a little bit of a challenge.
Q: What CBD brand do you use?
Breanne Yarbrough: We get our product from a company based in Colorado called Folium Biosciences.
Q: Since you added CBD, have there been many requests?
Joe: Yes, since we added it, it has been explosive. Maybe 20 to 25 percent of customers are adding it already, and that’s pretty massive.
Q: How much does it cost customers to add the CBD?
Joe: We are doing an add-on to any drink – it’s 20 mg for $3.50. Every other spot I have seen doing it is $4 for 10 mg and ours is full spectrum. Very, very important.
You really have to be careful out there in terms of what you’re consuming and where you’re getting it from, as if it’s not full spectrum, you won’t be getting all the cannabinoids.
Q: What are the specific benefits of adding CBD to a drink?
Breanne: There are too many benefits to name them all. CBD has been proven to help with anxiety, depression, inflammation, chronic pain, and so much more. We try to educate our customers and staff to its benefits, but also encourage them to do their own research. It is not something you can take once and you’re healed. CBD needs to be consumed on a daily basis to see the results.
Q: Is this part of a growing trend in coffee shops and bars?
Breanne: I’m not sure, only time will tell. As of right now, there are only a few shops I know of that have it, but they are using CBD isolate oils. Those are the oils you can buy at Whole Foods or a vitamin shop. Our CBD is a full-spectrum cannabinoid, ensuring our customers are getting the benefits of the whole plant. I haven’t yet found another shop that has taken the time or done the research to fully understand CBD, and it seems like they offer it as more of a “gimmick” than a health additive.
Joe Coffee is located at 5251 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. joecoffeela.com