Sometimes all you need in life is the right coffee roaster.
Such was the case for Somatik founder Christopher Schroede, who, in 2016 found himself wanting to provide Bay Area residents with the perfect artisanal, pot-infused cold brew– even though Schroede had no knowledge of either coffee or cannabis.
But as is the narrative for many San Francisco pop-ups, Somatik’s story began as a fusion of two separate entities into one uniquely San Francisco business –Ritual Coffee Roasters, a coffee shop that began a dozen years ago as a Mission District pop-up– coupled with sun-grown California cannabis.
As reported by the SF Chronicle, Schroeder met Ritual founder Eileen Rinaldi through SF Made, a nonprofit supporting small manufacturers, while he was working in marketing at Rickshaw Bagworks, which makes handbags and backpacks.
Rinaldi, who has helped established Ritual marketing deals with North Beach’s Gelateria Naia and Bi-Rite Creamery said she had never heard of cannabis-infused coffee before Schroeder proposed their partnership.
“I was very skeptical that you could add cannabis into coffee without it being the dominant flavor,” Rinaldi said. “Chris has done an incredible job developing a product that tastes exactly the way I would want a cold brew served in our cafes to taste.”
The two joined forces to taste-test more than 40 different coffees before settling on beans grown in Gigante, Colombia for their brew. The beans are thoroughly roasted and ground at Ritual’s SoMa roastery and delivered to Somatik’s manufacturer in the South Bay, where they steep for 12 hours in cold water to produce a rich, smooth concentrate, which is then strained and blended with THC oil before bottling.
For the cannabis, Schroeder chose several hybrid strains grown outdoors, which should appeal to the same kind of dedicated, knowledgeable consumers who seek out Ritual’s carefully selected beans. A trained processor turns the pot into potent cannabis oil using carbon dioxide extraction, a technique that deliberately strips away much of the pot’s heavy fauna flavor and aroma.
“The cannabis infusion doesn’t have much cannabis flavor,” Schroeder said, “but I wanted the subtle notes that are there to work with the coffee flavor.”
Schroeder said he sought a brew whose effects were balanced between mind and body. The company’s name comes from somatikos, the Greek word for “corporeally” or “physically.”
Until restrictions on the retail sale of cannabis are loosened, Somatik will only be served in Bay Area dispensaries Harvest and Magnolia Wellness Center, respectively. Prices for the bottle are a modest $12, which is probably your daily average on that Starbucks swill.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.