Wake and bake with canna honey and coffee

Wake and Bake

Red Belly Honey and Unicorn Blood fuel a coffee roaster’s eye-opener

Along with craft beer and music, cannabis supplies the creative energy behind Dark Matter Coffee, Chicago’s most visionary beanery.

“It’s inspired a lot of ideas and concepts for blends,” says Aaron Campos, Dark Matter’s director of coffee. “A lot of times when we need to solve a problem, cannabis is a great way for us to push forward and create.”

More directly, it informs the flavor profile of the roaster’s yearly Devil’s Lettuce release, for which Campos and crew formulated a blend matching the fruity flavors inherent in the beans with a specific strain. This year, a combination of Ethiopian and Central American beans offered with a distinct citrusy funk inspired by Tangie.

Dark Matter’s collaborative ethos has led to experiments with brewers, musicians, DJs, and growers, namely downstate Illinois’ Nature’s Grace and Wellness, with whom they created the Supernova, a dark chocolate bar infused with energizing hash oil and Dark Matter’s Unicorn Blood espresso beans.

The full-bodied, nutty blend also forms the backbone of the Wake and Bake, Campos’ mock espresso drink—no machine required—layered with the warming herbal notes of sage and peppercorn, and the mellow sweetness of maple and Nature’s Grace’s medicated honey.

Your preferred combination of bold, invigorating bean and infused honey works just as well. The bracing morning brew is made by the pour-over method. If you don’t have a coffee cone system, use a 5-ounce pour of hot, espresso-strength coffee, and prepare for liftoff.


The Wake and Bake: Recipe

  • 2 ounces finely ground espresso-roast coffee beans
  • 5 ounces water, heated to 205 F
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Red Belly Honey
  • Pinch ground sage
  • 6 to 8 ounces whole milk
  • Freshly ground whole mixed peppercorns to taste

Lightly rinse paper coffee filter; fit into cone and add ground coffee. Set over coffee carafe or cup. Pour about 2 ounces hot water over grounds; stir until evenly moistened. Slowly pour over remaining hot water, stirring until drained.

Meanwhile, add maple syrup, Red Belly Honey and sage to warmed coffee cup; stir lightly. Stir in rendered hot coffee, about 1½ to 2 ounces.

Steam, froth or heat milk to 140 F. Gently pour over coffee.

Top with freshly ground mixed peppercorns to taste. Makes one serving.

By Mike Sula

Recipe courtesy of Aaron Campos, Dark Matter Coffee

Photography by Eva Kolenko