I Drank Chocolate At The First-Ever CBD Café
And it was pretty incredible.
Social cannabis consumption may be illegal on public property, but one innovative brand has found a way to serve CBD on-site without repercussions. Since opening its doors in May, Grön CBD Café has become the first CBD café to open in Oregon. And to do that legally, they found a surprising source for their CBD: the bark of an invasive pine tree species. You heard that right—pine trees. We most commonly find cannabinoids like CBD in cannabis and hemp, but you can also extract many of these compounds from other organic sources. Which, for our purposes, leads to one unique café.
“The CBD served here has zero traces of THC since it’s been derived from pine bark.”
Just across the street from Farma, one of Portland’s more prestigious and educational dispensaries, GrönCBD has a quaint yet upscale space where anyone of any age can come in and have some medicated (or unmedicated) drinking chocolate, beverages, or snacks. And you don’t have to worry about feeling intoxicated because the CBD served here has zero traces of THC since it’s been derived from pine bark. Try all you want, but pine trees can’t get you high, folks. This means even children can come in and enjoy a drink; whether it’s medicated or not is up to their parents.
In the café, they offer CBD drinking chocolate, hot chocolate, and iced chocolate as well as tea, chai, and turmeric lattes. The drinking chocolate is thicker than most beverages, like a liquid pudding or perhaps the chocolate cake batter you might find at the bottom of a mixing bowl. It’s smooth and rich without tasting too sweet. They also have an assortment of unmedicated truffles and pastries in addition to a tasting bar where people can sample Grön’s chocolate bars, caramel, and chocolate sauces—all of which have a whopping 240mg of CBD per package. If you happen to be in Portland, do yourself a favor and try the caramel sauce. It is rich, not too sweet, and so delicious. You’ll also find retail shelves with CBD Balm, olive oil, and other fun culinary treats. The CBD balm, which is also infused with lavender, is perfect for relaxation, while the peppermint-infused balm is uplifting and awakening.
GrönCBD is set up like a European café. There’s no seating but tons of standing room and bars for people to knock back caffeinated drinks and chat. Non-intoxicating CBD naturally compliments the antioxidants in chocolate, and together they work in tandem to soothe your body and mind. I find the CBD “high” to very light and relaxing, especially when I’m a tad hungover. For me, it alleviates headaches and eases the anxiety that is ever-present in my mind. That said, some people don’t feel any effects from CBD, which is why it’s a good idea to start with a low dose (think 5-10mg) and work your way up to see what works best for you.
“I was immediately overcome by the flavor and luxurious texture as it melted in my mouth slowly and oh-so-smoothly.”
Grön, pronounced grewn, means green in Swedish. The brand is a vertically-integrated, woman-owned business with a diverse staff. Christine Smith, a fourth generation Texan, was an architect for 20 years before she opened Grön in 2014. Smith’s husband, who owned and operated a medical marijuana dispensary for many years, oversees the Tier II OLCC-certified grow facility that provides most of the cannabis for their THC products. And when it comes to running Grön, Smith has a very curated taste. You can see her attention to detail and architect background in the design of the café, the exact proportions of her cannabis chocolate bars (not sold at the café), and in the meticulous way she operates the entire brand. Employees are treated like human beings, with living wages and healthcare benefits, while every phase of production—from sourcing fair trade chocolate and local sea salt to packaging the finished product—is rigorously monitored. “Every chocolate bar is hand-trimmed,” said Jenna Rice, Director of Operations. “At least 30 people have touched the product before it goes out the door.”
As I bit into their CBD sea salt chocolate bar, I was immediately overcome by the flavor and luxurious texture as it melted in my mouth slowly and oh-so-smoothly. The flavor had the perfect amount of depth, without any of that sugary grit that sometimes derails an otherwise tasty chocolate bar. In no time at all, I felt calm and present. Rice shared that Smith and her team created GrönCBD because they “really wanted to have a place where people could come and have a CBD experience. Where you eat it and say, ‘Oh this tastes good. This feels good.’ And then they experience this wonderful effect.”
And she’s right. As the chocolate melted, I held it in my mouth for a fast-acting sublingual effect. Within 15-30 minutes, I felt uplifted, calm, and soothed, ready to tackle my day or close my eyes for the night. Now I just have to figure out if I can ever go back to regular chocolate bars.