For a large portion of the world, the day starts (and continues, repeatedly) with a fresh, hot cup of coffee. Which is great. No, really, there’s nothing wrong with that, drinking plain old coffee. It’s just… what if that coffee also got you high?
If that sounds inspiring to you, then strap in: As part of our series on kief related tips & recipes we’ve got a way to put an extra bit of bounce in your morning cup – A nice dose of THC. Let’s dive in.
What is Kief?
A brief primer: Kief is essentially the little powdery, crystalline bits that are attached to – and fall off of – cannabis buds, also called “trichomes”. If you’ve seen a multi-stage grinder the powder left behind in the final section is kief (we discuss this more in detail in our article “How to Make Kief” so be sure to check out the above link if you’d like to learn more).
Kief, on it’s own, is like all other cannabis products: Unable to get you high in it’s raw, natural state. Before cannabis can be taken for it’s psychoactive effects it must be exposed to heat, in a process called “decarboxylation” or “decarbing”. This turns the natural THCA found in marijuana into THC, the closely-related chemical that just so happens to get humans high.
Thus, if you’re reading this article thinking “Can I just add some kief to my coffee and get high?” the answer there is flatly “No“. There is a lot of misinformation about this on the internet so we want to clear the air here: The temperature of your coffee is not enough to effectively decarb your kief. The cannabis decarbing process requires heat over time, which a cup of poured coffee cannot maintain. Even if you keep your coffee in a thermos the temperature & time ratio will do little-to-nothing to decarboxylate your kief.
So How Do You Make Coffee With Kief?
If you want a recipe for making cannabis infused coffee with kief that actually works you have two options available to you:
Option #1: Decarb Your Kief
This is a question with a fairly detailed answer, and one we go into at length in our article “The 3 Best Ways to Decarb Your Weed“, but the short version is: Place your kief into a flat layer on a parchment paper lined baking tray and set it into the oven at 230°F for 30 minutes to 1 hour. You’ll need to keep a close eye on it as it cooks to make sure it doesn’t burn; if the color starts looking too brown it’s time to pull it out, no matter how long it’s been in the oven. Stirring it to mix on occasion will also help prevent burning.
After your kief has been decarbed it is now activated and ready to be used in any dish you’d like, including making cannabis infused coffee. To derive the maximum benefit we recommend using a splash of milk or creamer in your coffee, topping off with fresh coffee if needed to make sure it stays hot. The fat molecules present in the dairy will give the cannabinoids leeching away from the kief/cannabis something to bind to, making the THC more well blended with the drink; otherwise, we recommend making sure you sip out every last drop & piece of kief left in the cup, to make sure you’re getting the full benefit of the cannabis within.
Option #2: Use an Infusion or Concentrate
With Option #1 you have two major problems: First, uneven dispersal of the cannabinoids being drained from the kief, and secondly, the kief itself remaining in the drink, which can lead to a gritty, unpleasant texture. Our advice about putting milk or creamer into the cup of coffee is a good way to use decarbed kief if in a hurry, but we recommend the more elegant solution of using your kief to make an infusion.
We have several methods for making an infusion in our article “How to Make Edibles” but the basic idea is to take decarbed cannabis product (in our case kief) and let it steep in a fatty liquid (such as milk, coconut oil or butter) for a long period of time at a very low temperature. THC (as well as CBD) will begin to release from the plant matter as the cannabis is exposed to elevated temperatures, binding to the fat molecules inside your chosen infusion material.
Once steeped your kief can be strained out using a coffee filter; you may have some success using this for another infusion (or you can just go ahead and eat what’s left). Your initial cannabis infused product, though, is now ready. Adding some of this to your morning cup of joe will definitely get you a nice buzz, and without any of the textural issues of just dumping in a bunch of kief powder.
Of course you can also accomplish this without kief: Melting a THC chocolate into your hot coffee will have the exact same effect, and also allow for more precise dosing (not to mention essentially giving you a marijuana mocha). Likewise any other tincture, infused oil, or even hash can be added, saving you some time and a few steps in getting your cup of cannabis coffee.
Is Kief Coffee Worth It?
Well, it depends. Part of the mythological appeal of putting kief into a cup of coffee is just dumping some grinder remains into a cup of brew and getting yourself a special kick start on the day. But, as we said, that doesn’t actually work, and either you’re going to be sipping on a mug of gritty coffee or going through so many steps to make it work that it isn’t even really “kief coffee” any more.
Still, if you’re looking for a way to catch a morning high and are determined to make it happen with your java, we can completely understand, and there are certainly worse ways to get lifted than with a cup of cannabis infused hot coffee. We hope our article above has given you a few good tips on how to make that happen (or not happen) with your kief. Enjoy!
How to Make Kief-Infused Coffee
You heard it right! Now you can actually add your favourite plant to your favourite drink! Coffee lovers, you now have a new drink you need to try!
There are two different ways to put kief in coffee. The first being directly adding the kief to the cup with a few extra steps involved. The second being adding cannabis-infused milk to your cup of coffee.
Directions for Kief in Coffee:
- Coffee Cup
- Baking Tray
- Aluminum or Parchment Paper
This recipe is scaled for one cup of coffee. Add more depending on the amount you want and potency you desire.
- Decarboxylate Kief: Lay your kief out on a cooking tray. Roughly .25 – .5 grams. Then place in the oven for 30 – 60 minutes at 240 F. It should come out a lightish brown colour.
- Mix Kief into Coffee: Remove kief from the oven. Make a hot batch of coffee and then add decarboxylated kief into it. Stir the cup.
How to Decarboxylate Cannabis
The rate at which cannabinoids decarboxylate is a function of heat and time. The hotter it is, the faster decarboxylation happens. But if there’s too much heat, the cannabinoids might degrade into their oxidized byproducts. And if acid cannabinoids are left at room temperature for long enough, they will slowly decarboxylate into their neutral forms. The rate at which cannabinoids decarboxylate is a function of heat and time. The hotter it is, the faster decarboxylation happens.
In recent years, there have been a number of published studies that examine exactly what temperature and time is ideal for decarboxylation.
Researchers have looked at temperatures ranging from 80°C (176°F) to 145°C (293°F) and mapped decarboxylation rates for up to 120 minutes. They were looking for the ideal time and temperature to decarboxylate several different acid cannabinoids, primarily focusing on CBDA and THCA. Charts available in Wang, et al. (citation 8) and Citti, et al. (citation 9) illustrate the decarboxylation rates of these cannabinoids at different temperatures.
THCA and CBDA decarboxylate at slightly different rates — THCA decarbs a little bit faster than CBDA. Fortunately, it seems that waiting for any lingering CBDA to convert into CBD doesn’t have a negative impact on the THC level.
If you are not concerned about converting all the CBDA into CBD (neither compound is intoxicating or impairing), then you don’t have to heat your cannabis in an oven for a full 40 minutes, as suggested below. Twenty-five minutes instead if 40 should typically suffice to fully decarboxylate THCA into THC.
What you need:
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper
- Cannabis flower
- Pre-heat oven to 230°F/110°C.
- Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Grind or break up your cannabis flower into pea-sized pieces or smaller so that the heat distributes evenly.
- Spread the ground cannabis onto the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let cool, and use to infuse oil or alcohol.
Calculating Cannabinoid Content
Your oven isn’t perfect. There may be fluctuations in your oven’s temperature, and the rate of decarboxylation will vary somewhat. Generally, one can expect about 80% of the acid cannabinoids to convert to their neutral forms. If you are able to access lab results for the cannabis you’re decarboxylating, you can make an educated guess as to the cannabinoid content of the final product.
Here’s a formula to help you figure out the ballpark cannabinoid concentration of your freshly decarboxylated cannabis:
# grams of cannabis x cannabinoid % = # grams of cannabinoids
# g cannabinoids x 1000 = # mg cannabinoids
# mg cannabinoids x 0.8 = approximate mg of cannabinoids in your final product
- 7 grams of cannabis (quarter ounce)
- 10% THC 13% CBD
– 7 g x 10% = 0.7 g THC
– 0.7 x 1000 = 700 mg THC
– 700 x 0.8 = 560 mg decarboxylated THC
– 7 g x 13% = 0.91 g CBD
– 0.91 x 1000 = 910 mg CBD
– 9.10 x 0.8 = 728 mg decarboxylated CBD
Total cannabinoid content in decarboxylated cannabis: 560mg THC and 728mg CBD.
Drink coffee! Enjoy!