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A better way to wake and bake: Café’s cannabis-infused java starts drinkers’ mornings on a high note, owner claims

Cup of whoa: Vittles Cafe owner Samantha Hew shows off her new cannabidiol coffee brew.
Brooklyn Paper
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Joe, meet Mary Jane!

The owner of a Greenpoint café is pouring a $6 cup of coffee infused with a chemical extracted from a strain of cannabis that she claimed actually increases productivity — because she feeds her baristas the concoction before they get behind the counter each day.

“I make all my staff take it,” said Samantha Hew, who runs Vittles Café at 94 Franklin St. “Everyone’s been chill, relaxed, focused — there’s no more, ‘I hate this customer.’ It’s amazing.”

Vittles started serving its special brew on April 20, infusing the coffee with cannabidiol extracted from hemp, a legal compound praised by many for its medical benefits, which include treating pain, seizures, and anxiety. Cannabidiol is also found in marijuana, but the substance won’t get you stoned, or set off any red flags during drug tests.

The chemical does produce a mild, but pleasant, body high — like the feeling you get after a cheap massage, as this reporter can attest — and is also renowned for its ability to sharpen concentration, according to Hew.

Vittles’s pot java is brewed using beans from Queens-based provider Flower Power, which boasts its own formula for infusing beans themselves with cannabidiol, masking the chemical’s pungent aroma and preserving the coffee flavor, Hew said.

“As a coffee drinker, I just want to drink my coffee black,” she said. “I don’t want any extra taste.”

And the compound pairs well with caffeine, according to the café owner, who said the cannabidiol helps the stimulant sharpen drinkers’ focus faster, while easing the jitters and comedown some heavy coffee consumers experience. A cannabis cuppa can even help people fall asleep, she said.

“I drink it at night before I go to bed,” Hew said. “It’s insane.”

Demand for Vittles’ bud brew grew so high when it debuted that the café sold out, but Hew quickly restocked, and said she will be pouring the drink year-round as she expects the legal strain of cannabidiol to start popping up in goodies sold at other coffee shops and eateries across the borough.

“It’s going to be very common,” she said.

Indeed, Vittles isn’t the only coffee joint serving cannabis-laced drinks — Bushwick’s Caffeine Underground pours a similar cup for $6, and Swallow Café offers the drug in latte form at its locations in Boerum Hill and Williamsburg for $8 and change.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:45 pm, July 9, 2018
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