Emily Barton speaks fast, is a mother of nine, and goes by the nickname Sweetz. She’s also the owner of Sweetz Cold Brew Coffee Co., located just north of downtown Gilbert. Barton started making cold brew coffee at home several years ago, after a doctor told her husband to cut out coffee, among other things. Cold brew has 67 percent less acid, so she bought some beans and started experimenting. Soon, her husband was drinking cold brew like it was iced tea, and her residence slowly was becoming a makeshift coffee shop.
After a year and a half in the garage, Sweetz Cold Brew Coffee Co. opened in January 2017. The menu lists cold brew — still, nitro, or hot — and tea, smoothies, local beers like Blap! Blap! from 12 West Brewing Co., pinot noir on tap, and cocktails with names like The Perfect Dick.
CBD oil was added to the menu about a year ago, after a friend suggested it. Barton was already an advocate of CBD and medical marijuana, and thought it sounded like a fine idea.
“You can add it to literally anything,” Barton says. Order it by itself to put under your tongue, or add it to a smoothie, a coffee, or a drink. “The options are kind of endless.”
A serving size is about 20 drops, or roughly 500 milligrams of CBD. Just like with any coffee order at Sweetz, you can ask for a single, double, or whatever multitude of servings you prefer. Barton says the CBD offerings in general have been very popular so far.
Of course, Barton and her staff regularly get questions from customers who are unclear about what CBD is, what it does, and why you would put it in a coffee. Their answers are by now well-rehearsed.
“CBD is actually an oil derived from the hemp plant, not from the marijuana plant — they’re two different plants,” Barton says. “And that oil can help with anxiety, it can help with joint stiffness, it helps relax you.”
Barton says a major misconception about CBD oil is that it will get you high. “It’s not THC, it’s CBD, which is totally different,” she says. “There’s nothing in it that’s going to alter your mental state.” She says the effect even takes a bit — it’s not instant. Before long, you just realize you’re a little more relaxed. “It’s not like when you’re intoxicated when you’re like, ‘Here I am, party goblin’s out,’” she says.
Barton is not a good sleeper, but finds CBD oil helps. She keeps a couple bottles of it at home.
“I’m a big believer in some alternative medicines,” she says. “Because I don’t think some of the things that are addictive are helpful in the long run,” mentioning Vicodin, Percocet, and other narcotics.
Sweetz uses the Nevada-based HempWorx because, as Barton says, it’s one of the original CBD oil companies. She likes how there’s not a lot of filler in it. She uses the natural, THC-free flavor, which Barton says has an “earthy” smell and taste. She prefers the earthiness, but customers can add whatever flavored syrups they want to a drink to alter the taste.
Sweetz Cold Brew Coffee Co. currently is open for takeout and curbside pickup. Barton says you can still come in, get a drink, add some CBD. You just can’t stay at the store, which is hard for her, as she finds a friendly shop to be part of the experience.
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“Coffee is connection, coffee is happiness,” she says. “Or: high-five, you woke up — it’s coffee!”
To (literally) roll with the changes, the Sweetz Cold Brew Coffee Co. truck recently hit the road. Barton parks it in non-gated communities, peddling coffee and pre-bottled wine, beers, and cocktails.
“I really like doing the food truck,” she says. “It’s really apparent what a strong community we have built.”
She says people are trying to pay it forward now more than ever. A recent order? A drink, and the next two drinks for whoever walks up.