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By Melissa Hutsell
Photos provided by Soul Grind
The California-based company, Caliva, has combined two of our favorite things: coffee and cannabis.
The low calorie, Soul Grind cold brews are made with organic coffee. There’s no sugar or THC in these 8 ounce cans, which come infused with 100mg of caffeine and 10mg of hemp.
Quality Over Quantity
Caliva infused the cold brews with micro-emulsions. The process involves breaking down particles into tiny droplets. As a result, they become more water-soluble. That’s important, because oil and water don’t typically mix well. However, micro-emulsions make mixtures more water-compatible. The more water compatible it is, the easier it can be absorbed by our bodies.
Getting oils, like CBD oil, to cross your blood-brain barrier is, “like throwing a tennis ball at a chain link fence and expecting it to get to the other side,” the company explains. Simply put, their technology breaks the CBD down into much smaller balls, allowing them to slip through the fence (and into the bloodstream).
Chris Cuvelier, head of beverages at Caliva, tells the Emerald that the company uses micro-emulsions to increase the bioavailability of hemp derived CBD (hCBD).
“We use micro-emulsion technology to optimize the amount of hCBD actually absorbed in the bloodstream and to enable consumers to feel our hCBD,” Cuvelier explains. In other words, it increases the rate at which cannabinoids enter our system.
“Essentially, what micro-emulsion technology does is break down the hCBD into smaller droplets that enables better absorption at a cellular level, meaning consumers will feel the intended effects sooner,” he says.
All Soul Grind coffees are lab tested by CW Analytical in Oakland. Results for each blend are available online under the ingredient list for each brew (links imbedded below).
The Cold Brews
After I chilled the cans for a day, I started with my usual favorite, vanilla. I assumed it would taste similar to a Starbucks Double Shots, but less sugary. Not even close.
The brew is potent. It’s bitter with a slight vanilla aftertaste—like a cup of dark roast coffee should be. After a few sips, the boldness seems to mellow; the brew becomes creamier and the vanilla starts to stand out more. For this reason, I recommend giving it a shake before opening it so it’s smooth all the way through.
Because of the intensity of the vanilla, I expected the Black coffee variety to be pretty bitter. However, it was smooth and creamy—almost chocolatey. It definitely tasted like a high quality cuppa, and was super drinkable.
The company’s Mexican Chocolate cold brew is made with Indonesian cinnamon and Mexican chocolate. It’s slightly spicy, chocolately, and incredibly creamy. It wasn’t too sweet, either. It was by far my favorite Soul Grind creation so far!
Caffeine Without a Crash
CBD has a caffeine-like effect on me. So—mixed with coffee—I expected to feel a burst of energy. But, I wasn’t expecting it to set it in so soon. In less than 10 minutes, I felt awake, aware, and ready for the day ahead. The upbeat effects lasted for at least three hours. The best part—no caffeine come down, which I attribute to the CBD, and lack of sugar.
I generally like my coffee sweet and creamy; but I enjoy a dark roast coffee or a shot of espresso. SoulGrinds definitely lean more toward the latter—if you like your cup o’joe black—this is the CBD drinkable for you.
Of course, it’s easy to pour contents into a cup, and add cream or sugar to your liking. But, neither is necessary. In fact, I think it would throw off the balance of the beverage.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the distinctive flavor profiles. Each also provided the advertised effects: high quality flavor, quick onsets. There’s no plant flavor in any of the brews either. In fact, there’s little to interfere with the coffee. I also really enjoyed the catch phrases on each can: “No sugar, You’re sweet enough,” Nothing vanilla about our vanilla,” and “No sugar. But everything nice.”
The only downfall to these goodies is that a 12-pack comes in at nearly $50 (just over $4 per can)—which means they’re a too little steep for the daily grind—but great for the particularly busy days.
For that reason, Soul Grind earns a full 4.5 out of 5 stars from the Emerald!