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Studio A64 opens café with CBD-infused menu

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The Hemp Café’s offerings come CBD-optional. - DIONNE ROBERTS
  • Dionne Roberts
  • The Hemp Café’s offerings come CBD-optional.
Studio A64, “the original cannabis club” in Colorado Springs, has been operating since February 2013. In 2015, it came under new ownership as Ambur Racek and Wanda Stark took the reins. More recently, A64 was one of a handful of establishments that reluctantly signed up for the city’s new “Marijuana Consumption Club” license that prohibits remuneration for cannabis, cutting off their business model’s primary revenue stream.

“We honestly don’t want the license or agree with it,” says Racek. “It doesn’t allow us to do reimbursements anymore, which is having any THC products. You can’t take a business that’s thriving and take the main component out of it. ... So for us to have to go and change our business model is completely unfair.”

Studio A64 had to adapt to survive, so on Saturday, Aug. 26, the Original Hemp Café was unveiled in the downstairs area of the club at the corner of Wahsatch and Colorado avenues. (Don’t worry, you can still smoke upstairs if you bring your own.)

“We did milkshakes down here, but it was never a café like this,” explains Racek. “I don’t know if we could’ve pursued it to this extent because of the smoking.”

But as one door (THC) closes, another (CBD) opens. Some, but not all, of the items on the menu here are infused with CBD. Attracting a broad customer base will rely on education, since there are vast differences between the two main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant: THC and CBD.

“One is pyschoactive and one isn’t,” says Racek simply. “One creates a high and one doesn’t.”

CBD is more well-known for its medicinal benefits, acting as a relaxant, pain reliever and mood elevator. Think chill mode instead of stoner delirium.

A64 has partnered with the co-owners of e2 Labs, Eddie Jackson and Eryn Walters, to bring their CBD sourcing and cannabis culinary expertise into the kitchen. Jackson, a biochemist by trade and Walters, who has a psychology degree, are former owners of the edible company, August Kitchen. e2 is responsible for the supply of isolate that is available to infuse the breakfast- and lunch-focused menu.
Location Details Studio A64
332 E. Colorado Ave.
Downtown
Colorado Springs, CO
930-9846
“We take raw hemp from farmers all over the country,” says Jackson. “Then we use a hemp processing company to turn it into everything from a CBD isolate or water-soluble CBD for food products. It’s all sourced directly from the plant itself using super critical CO2, no flammable solvents ever. So it’s a nice, natural process, already decarboxylated. So when we use it in the food here, the body can actually use it efficiently. If the cannabinoids are not decarboxylated properly then you’re just going to pass them and you won’t get any use out of the medicine itself.”

The two isolates offer different benefits when used in cooking. The 99.9 percent pure, crystalline CBD isolate is ideal when cooking with a fat substance like butter or oil.

“It’s going to really emulsify within that and create a nice homogeneous mixture throughout,” says Jackson.

Water-soluble CBD isolate is exactly like it sounds, broken down into an H2O-esque molecule form that will easily mix into drinks like the café’s specialty coffees.

“You want it to dissolve nice and smooth for proper medical dosing and to ensure that you’re consuming it deliciously,” says Jackson. “As Ambur expands into the cannabis world we can assist in those avenues and hopefully it’s a long-term partnership.”

The menu consists of brunch offerings like crepes, burritos, paninis, smoothies and Racek’s homemade hemp granola recipe.

“We did incorporate hemp into some of the dishes but not everything, because we did want to have options for everybody,” says Racek.

We had the opportunity to try a traditional version of the buffalo chicken and caprese paninis sans CBD, which offer good flavor and hit the spot for lunch. We also opted for a Pineapple Express smoothie made with strawberries, pineapple and coconut water plus the CBD for an extra $5 charge. Both offerings were satisfying, reasonably priced and came with options. Just as you might add an extra shot of wheatgrass to a juice blend or add condiments to a custom sandwich, the CBD is there if you want to partake, but only by request.

“It’s more of a theme rather than something that’s in all the food,” says Racek. “It’s just a regular place that has the option of infusing anything with the CBD.”

Add that to Studio A64’s track-record of “firsts.”

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