If there's one thing Alaskans, and especially Fairbanksans, love more than cannabis, it's coffee.

With countless coffee shacks to choose from — some focused on speed, others on specialty roasts, others on breakfast burritos — it can come down to the slightest convenience that makes one the favorite stop for some hot bean juice. Of course, every coffee lover has a favorite barista slinging drinks behind the bar at their favorite java spot. Similarly, choosing a favorite cannabis retail store for picking up your go-to bud or edibles often comes down to the product selection and the budtenders.

Java lovers and stoners alike can now rejoice, for Good Titrations' on-site consumption cafe combines the best of both worlds and has created the ultimate hybrid position: the budrista.

An eclectic knowledge base

Megan Drange has been a budrista at Good Titrations since day one of the on-site consumption cafe's opening last April.

"I wanted something new but still wanted to be with coffee because I knew how to do coffee," she said, reflecting on why she transitioned from working for multiple years at a Sunrise drive-up coffee shop to the first on-site cannabis consumption cafe.

"I really enjoy what cannabis does for people, so when this job came about, I was excited," Drange said.

The Good Titrations cafe has a full espresso bar with a wide variety of seating, and as with most coffee shops, a core group of regular customers who stop in on a daily basis to drink their coffee and read the newspaper. The big difference here is that they can also smoke their favorite bud with their morning cup of joe.

Matching flavor profiles of different coffee roasts with flavor notes of various flower products is a vital part of the budrista job. Drange and fellow Good Titrations budrista Riley Laws discussed the importance of trying products and testing different flavor combos to learn what pairs well together.

"We try to pair our (drink) specials with an in-house strain," said Laws, "it's just knowing your flavor profiles for both things and being able to think about how to put them together."

Working in cultivation and other positions at Good Titrations, Laws has also worked in the cafe since they opened for on-site consumption last April. She explained the intimate and welcoming atmosphere of the cafe, "We really get to have more personal relationships with our customers … They love to sit at the bar and just talk about anything."

The pace of the Good Titrations cafe is much calmer than your average coffee shop; there's time to ask questions, chat with neighbors, stare through the windows at the bloom room, play a board game or even make a friend. The bloom room is the show grow room at Good Titrations between the cafe and the retail space to entertain customers and show off some product in production. 

The cafe functions similarly to a bar in the sense that no opened product can go out and no outside product can come in; however, people are allowed to bring in their personal bowls, bongs and pieces, cleaned and clear of any old products, to use inside the cafe with friends or alone. Patrons can purchase a gram of flower and an additional 25 milligrams of edibles.

Laws clarified that there's a "purchase limit, not a consumption limit." Both Laws and Drange noted the mellow vibe of the customer base. "Realistically, the expectation with stoners is that we are all pretty chill. People are here to relax, have a good time, and they are just happy to be here, so we don't have negative energy in here," Laws said.

Along with regular customers and curious first-time visitors, Good Titrations gets its fair share of local Fairbanksans who stop in just for coffee or lunch — hold the cannabis — while running errands.Offering food from the adjacent The Cheesehead Joint, and other coffee-free pick-me-ups along with big screen TVs, large tables and plenty of cozy spots, Good Titrations is branching beyond cannabis and caffeine. Having hosted several live comedy shows, live musicians, and a weekly chess club cleverly named "Bishops and Buds," Good Titrations has many more events on the horizon, according to Laws, who is the cafe's event coordinator as well as a budrista.

"We are really trying hard to integrate ourselves into the community, working with the Chamber of Commerce for First Friday," Laws said. "We are going to start doing a Sunday morning yoga class in here, and we've got a paint night coming up. We're trying to provide a space for all sorts of ventures."

"It's just so cool to see the different variety of people that come through the door," Laws said, noting that some people use the cafe as their office while others play Dungeons and Dragons. "I've seen a girl come in who crochets and knits. I've seen somebody bring in a whole easel and sit and paint."

Both budristas recommended different strains to various inquisitive customers while showing Alaska Cannabist the usual flow of the cafe. On that particular day the daily drink special was a peanut butter and jelly latte which both budristas said would pair well with the in-house strains of Lilac Diesel and the Yogurt Land. Good Titrations' menu had many more cannabis strains to choose from than just those two. Laws emphasized the continuously changing selections of flower on the menu at the cafe.

"A lot of people come in thinking it's just coffee, but it's so much more. You can ask about any strain on that menu, and we'll be able to tell you about it," Laws said, explaining that there is a learning curve to each side — coffee and cannabis.

Both Laws and Drange expressed their enjoyment of connecting with people in the cafe. Even with many flavors to match and things to do, everything boils down to the customers.

"Our customers definitely make it pretty cool in here. We really try to make sure it is a calm and comfortable safe space, but that you can come in and no matter whom you're served by as a budrista, you're going to have a good time in here," Laws said.

"I definitely leave work every day feeling really good that I made some type of impact on someone's life," Drange added.

Good Titrations' on-site cannabis consumption cafe celebrates its one year anniversary this month, on 4/20 to be exact.

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