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Coffee, Cannabis and Smugness



regon offers an amazing array of three things: coffee, cannabis and a sense of smugness that is palatable when bikes, beards or microbrews are being discussed. ("It's called "Fixed Gear Red Whisker Ale," and it's the best beer ever made by anyone, anywhere.")

I don't enjoy biking, rarely drink, and as I can only manage to "grow" a "beard" that looks like someone shook a pillowcase of cat hair over my Gorilla Glue-slathered lower face, that leaves me with my old friends: coffee and cannabis. It's a popular combo, to the extent that a cup of coffee and well rolled joint or bowl packed fat has been known as a "NW Speedball" for decades. Don't try the other kind of speedball, kids and/or adults.

So I was curious, but well behaved, when a sizeable box of beverages arrived recently, comprised of bottles of infused waters and cold brew coffees. And by infused, I mean there is 5mg of THC or CBD in each 16-ounce bottle.

The company that produces these "Wacky Waters" and "Chronic Coffees" (already own the domains, move along) is level+, which translates to "level up," Mensa. They've partnered with Northwest favorites and home-grown-small-business-made-good, Coava Coffee Roasters, who provide a damn fine cold brew for this undertaking. It's the first time their cold brew has been made available outside their cafes, where I can often be found, gleefully handing over my money. Disclosure: I'm fully down with their cold brews.


he product line consists of five beverages. Those seeking CBD can choose from a Lemon-Ginger Water or Cold Brew, and THC lovers have Watermelon/Mint or Grapefruit waters, or a Cold Brew offering. Each bottle is well designed and traveled well during a couple busy days of meetings, during which I drank the complete product line in place of the normal cold brews and water diet I have adapted as of late.

I emailed Meghan Pruitt, partner and co-founder of level+. She said:

"Cannabis used is of the highest quality, and whole plant extracts from that is what's added to all the drinks. We use a clear, locally sourced distillate, so there's no aftertaste. And because we've made the cannabis water soluble, activation time is pretty quick at 20-30 minutes."

She told me all level+ products are micro-dosed, with the belief that micro-doing is the future of cannabis edibles. She cited the difficulty in evenly dividing a gummy bear—exactly how much THC is in the head again?—and explained that they wanted a responsible dosed amount that lets the user control their experience.

"We wanted to incorporate cannabis into a beverage we were already consuming daily. Everyone drinks water and coffee, we thought, why can't this be cannabis infused?" (But when I ask for an extra shot of THC from my barista, I'm the "creepy weed guy with his creepy weed drink order" again. F-U, Dunkin' Donuts.)


o, how did they work out for me over those two days?

Good, but mind that it is a "microdose" serving per bottle, and I am what we can charitably call, while shaking our collective heads in disappointment with pursed lips, a "macro dose" inclined consumer. This makes me a very expensive date if I am going down the strictly edibles path.

The manic edge that comes from two 16-ounce cold brews a day in place of food (who knew?) was slightly softened by the THC versions. I generally don't feel a discernable effect from edible CBD, but these versions tasted good.

For those with lower tolerances/limited experience, these would be a great introduction.


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