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The Leafly Cannabis and Coffee Pairing Guide

September 29, 2017
The Leafly Guide to Pairing Marijuana and Coffee | Leafly(TeerawatWinyarat/iStock)
Few experiences are as rewarding as pairing cannabis and coffee. They go together like bread and butter or wine and cheese, with the aromas, flavors, and effects of each capable of complementing the other perfectly. The combo goes by many names—mostly variations on the term “speedball” including Northwest speedball, Colorado speedball, and (most commonly) Seattle speedball.


The Leafly Wine & Cannabis Pairing Guide

Look for proof that cannabis and coffee are a perfect couple and you’ll find plenty. Dutch cannabis lounges are “coffeeshops” in part because the pairing works so well together. Enthusiasts know that the perfect wake and bake should always include a cup of coffee. Cannabis and coffee can both bring people together, too: Taking an hour or two to catch up with an old friend, for instance, frequently happens over a latte, a hand-rolled joint, or both.

How to pair cannabis and coffee for the ideal mix of flavors and a perfectly tailored set of effects? It’s easy if you follow a few simple guidelines. Start with our chart below for sample pairing ideas, then read on to learn how to your own favorite strains with the right coffee.

The Leafly Guide to Pairing Marijuana and Coffee | Leafly

(Amy Phung/Leafly)

Pairing Cannabis and Coffee by Flavor

The Leafly Guide to Pairing Marijuana and Coffee | Leafly


Cannabis flavors will vary widely based on the strain, phenotype, growing climate, whether it was grown indoors or outdoors, when it was harvested, how it was flushed and cured, and how it is packaged and stored. Cannabis strains’ specific aromas, flavors, and to some extent effects are characterized to a great extent by terpenes, a diverse class of fragrant oils that occur naturally in the plant. For instance, the fact that the Lavender strain truly smells like its namesake can be attributed to the presence of linalool, also commonly found in lavender flowers. Similarly, Mango Kush gets some of its flavor from myrcene, also present in its eponymous fruit. In an effective pairing, the flavors in the cannabis will either accentuate existing flavors in your coffee and vice versa, or else complement them in a unique way; thus, a bright, fruity coffee would pair well with that Mango Kush.


The Leafly Guide to Pairing Tea and Cannabis

Coffee, for its part, contains more flavor compounds than red wine, and numerous factors influence the flavor profiles that coffee beans develop. There are multiple subspecies of coffee, including Bourbon, Kona, Ethiopian Sidamo, Sulawesi, and many more (these can be thought of as coffee “strains”). Where and how the coffee is grown also causes variation—Bourbon coffee grown in Latin America will be different than Bourbon coffee grown in Rwanda. The climate and altitude of the growing location can also make a difference (just as they can with cannabis).

Once coffee cherries are harvested, the processing method (washed, natural, etc.) influences the flavor profile. A roastmaster’s choice of how long to roast can elicit radically different flavor profiles as well. Finally, everything a barista (or home coffee brewer) does—from the grinding of the coffee to the brew method selection—will make a difference, too.


Recipe: The Ultimate Cannabis-Infused Pumpkin Spice Latte

To pair coffee and cannabis by flavor, consider what you’d naturally be inclined to pair with a given coffee. If you’re working with a rich Sumatran coffee with a dark, earthy flavor profile, you might instinctively reach for a dark chocolate bar to go with it. Switch that bar out for a sweet, chocolatey strain like Chocolope and you’ve got a great pairing. Pro tip: If you’re not sure where to start, ask your barista about recommended pairings for the beans you’re buying.

Once you’ve chosen both your coffee and strain, choose your brew and consumption methods. With cannabis, vaping flower or dabbing full-spectrum concentrates will generally result in the most flavorful hits. With coffee beans, an espresso machine, French press, or Aeropress will beget stronger, bolder brews, while flavors in filtered drip or pour-over coffee will be more muted.


The Leafly Beer & Cannabis Flavor Pairing Guide

Pairing Cannabis and Coffee by Effects

The Leafly Guide to Pairing Marijuana and Coffee | Leafly


There’s another dimension to pairing cannabis with coffee: matching the two in terms of their effects. Cannabis strains, of course, can vary widely in the ways they make us feel. Coffee’s effects can vary to a degree as well, depending primarily on the amount of caffeine in the brew. Dark-roast coffee will have less caffeine than a light roast; an espresso-based drink such as an Americano will have less caffeine than a brewed cup of coffee of the same size.

The strain you pair with your caffeine kick should match the energy level you’re going for. If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, a few puffs of Green Crack and a cup of light-roast coffee are likely to do the trick. If it’s 3 p.m. and you’re worried about sleeping later tonight, look toward the hybrid or indica side of the strain spectrum, and pair with a single shot of espresso (or, if you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine, go with decaf). You can also use coffee to offset unwanted cannabis effects, or vice versa—for instance, a boost of caffeine can circumvent couchlock associated with, say, Afgoo, while relaxation from a strain like LA Confidential can soothe caffeine-induced jitters.

Ready to try it out for yourself? Getting started is as easy as beginning to experiment with your favorite strains and coffees, and learning as you go. As you do, remember one basic rule: There are no right answers in pairing. If you like it, it’s a good pairing—simple as that.

Brett Konen's Bio Image

Brett Konen

Brett is a former editor at Leafly who loves travel, craft cocktails, and shining a spotlight on unique lifestyle trends.

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  • Meister Jager


  • Raul Tsi

    hmm, dark rainy cold saturday morning, drinking my coffee and I see this article and I have a bottle of Gorilla Glue #4 tincture. mmm.

  • Patty Fletcher

    I love to Wake and Bake. Problem? Where I live it’s not legal, and finding a safe connection for a totally blind person is so very hard. Anyone in TN? Any one safe in KPT?

    • Fun Please

      I’d move to Washington or Oregon.

      • Patty Fletcher

        Honey, if I had the money to move I’d be there. Tennessee will most likely be the very last state ever to go green. I aint talkin recycling either. LOL!

  • Fun Please

    Coffee, weed, women. Proof that God does* exist. 😎

    • Paul Sorensen

      Throw in a good bourbon and I agree!!

  • Scott Yeager

    Thanks for this article. There’s so much cool culinary potential in cannabis, especially where it’s now legal.

    I wanted to expand something you mentioned about coffee. Not only does coffee have more flavors compounds than red wine, it has the most of *any* food that we consume. Now, to actually taste those flavors, it needs to be carefully grown and roasted, then enjoyed fresh. Ideally, find a local roaster who knows their stuff—if they’re into cannabis too, you’ll have a great resource for finding pairings.

  • J Sanders

    Everything sounds great except the fact that light roast coffee does not have more caffeine than Dark Roast.
    Their is no effectbon caffeine during the roast cycle.
    Truth be known after all is done when we roast coffee we lose weight of the bean. So in volume a brew of dark roast coffee needs more coffee to weigh the same as a light or even medium roast.
    Hence since it takes more coffee to equal the correct dose, dark roast ends up with a slightly more caffeine content.
    Keep it greasy and keep up the Bud and Coffee combo.

  • Stephen Buckley

    Looks inviting for sure. Think I’ll brew some Pilon

  • Stormy Wolkitt

    I’m enjoying a Sugar Punch joint with a vanilla iced coffee as we speak/type and it is superb!

  • Joseph Muhammad

    Lol. You forgot to mention coffee is estrogenic so men probably shouldn’t drink it and women should be cautious or they might gain 300 pounds from the fattening effect of excess estrogen. Cannabis and coffee are great but so is science!

    • The Resistance

      Joseph you should probably stop spreading falsehoods. Great article, Brett!

      • Joseph Muhammad

        I am truthteller. You are liar. Everybody knows that but you insult all of us with your false accusation. You prove yourself very stupid. Devil worshippers will never win against me. Karma on its way to you. Watch out for God.

        • Jayne Dhoe

          God is dead.

  • Gigi Koury

    I was hoping to read about bullet-proof style coffee & cannabis. I infuse coconut oil or ghee with flower…and whiz half a tsp or so of the infused fat with my coffee in a blender. (I also add some MCT oil.) It makes a frothy, creamy latte-like mug full of happiness.