Generally speaking, there is one primary reason people consume coffee: It’s fuel. This energizing nectar jumpstarts the daily routine of more than 60% of American adults. So it’s no wonder that decaf gets relegated to the sad corner of cafe menus. Once proudly stationed with its orange spout alongside the full octane brew in diners and truck stops, decaf has become the outcast of modern coffee culture. Sadly, less and less attention to quality has been paid to this mandatory staple, converting it to its current selection of ‘soulless’ sludge.
Likewise, some strains of Cannabis, once high caliber, have become prolific amongst lower quality growers and suffered a degradation in perceived quality along the way. But, when companies care about their product and processes, they can resurrect such a strain to its former glory. It’s for this reason that Gabriel’s Chocolope makes a perfect companion to decaf coffee (with some caveats).
I had been putting off pairing anything with decaf since I began writing this monthly column. It’s not hyperbole when I say I have friends who literally have “Death Before Decaf” tattooed on their ‘dominant barista arm’. The perception amongst many professional coffee drinkers is that decaf inherently cannot taste good, due to the steps that it must undergo to leech the caffeine content out. Rather than expend any effort to improve its quality, they let it die on the shelf – hoping for the day that no one seeks out decaf again.
But this is not the sign of a truly passionate consumer. Caffeine should not be the measure of a coffee’s worth (and by the way, the same goes for THC and weed). When one can find a truly palatable decaf in this day and age, it is something to hold on to, to cherish. A roaster who makes good decaf is someone who loves coffee and wants to drink it all day and night long, something even the most hardened of baristas can seldom handle.
Much like decaf’s foothold in the historic imagery of americana, Chocolope is one of the Cannabis strains that has been around a long time and suffered at the hands of less than passionate producers. A cross of Chocolate Thai and Cannalope Haze, Chocolope is more often found on the cheap end of the menu these days. But when done thoughtfully, there is no question as to why Chocolope rose to prominence in the first place. Nowhere else is this more apparent than with Gabriel’s Chocolope. Whether it is their flower or their concentrate, all of the expected chocolate and coffee notes sing through beautifully, helping to supplement any loss of flavors in the decaf. And the zippy head high provides the missing pep from the absent caffeine, without any concerns that you’ll be tossing and turning trying to sleep at 2:00 a.m.
As one might have guessed, Chocolope and decaf make a stellar pair for a post-dinner or late night creativity burst. Other practical applications of this duo would be pregaming your full team video meeting where you never really have to talk anyway, playing a funny card or board game with other fully vaccinated people, or if you’re just looking to procrastinate with a cup of coffee after three o’clock in the afternoon for once. So before you go turning your nose up at decaf or strains which have fallen from grace, remember that they can also be the true measure of a producer’s care and devotion. It is not easy wading tirelessly through to find the diamond in the rough, but when you do, you hold on to it. And ultimately, when it comes to Cannabis and coffee, it’s not like it’s that terrible having to sample everything to find the right one.
This article was originally published in the July 2021 issue of Northwest Leaf.
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