Maine Coast Roast offered a free sample of their new CBD-infused coffee on Aug. 3 in Biddeford. CATHERINE BART/Courier

BIDDEFORD — Maine Coast Roast, one of Biddeford’s first coffee roasters, introduced its new CBD-infused coffee on Saturday, Aug. 3, offering free samples to visitors.

From 9 a.m. to noon, customers could try Maine Coast Roast’s new product and receive information about who uses CBD, or Cannabidiol, which is found in hemp plants and believed by some to have pain-relieving, stress-reducing effects.

After months of trials and testing, Holly and Paul Ayoob, owners of Maine Coast Roast, which is located at 441 Main St., said that they have figured out how to perfectly infuse CBD into their beans, becoming the first roasters in Maine to do so.

Paul Ayoob said that the idea for CBD-infused coffee came from one of their customers. From there the research and experiments began.

“We have a testing group,” Holly Ayoob said. “We’ve been working on this for a while. I was calling roasters out in California and Colorado. This is the true introduction to the product, but there was a lot of testing going on.”

The infusion means that the CBD product goes directly into the bean, Paul and Holly Ayoob said, so there is no oily residue left in the cup, which can happen when people add CBD tinctures to regular coffee.

“One of our biggest goals was making sure we had the right dose,” Holly Ayoob said. “And to make it easier for people. That was not an easy thing to come up with, but we were able to do it. There’s one milligram of CBD per gram of coffee, which makes it super easy for someone to figure out how to dose it.”

The event was bustling. At certain times during the morning, the lobby was standing room only, Holly Ayoob said, and one of their wholesale customers has already expressed interest in the product.

One patron, Alice Denger, said that she’d try the CBD product again.

“It was good,” she said. “I couldn’t tell the difference. I’ve been getting their coffee since they started.”

Experts of the craft, Maine Coast Roast has been in the specialty coffee industry for the past six years, Paul Ayoob said, starting from his and Holly Ayoob’s love of fresh coffee.

“Well, essentially, we were going to Starbucks, like, seven days a week,” he said. “We have a passion for coffee and part of the problem was that on Monday we’d go there, and the coffee would be awesome. Tuesday, it’d be okay. Thursday, the coffee would be terrible. It just left me questioning, ‘Why is it so difficult to get a fresh cup of coffee?’”

Customers could pick between hot and iced CBD-infused coffee at Maine Coast Roast’s introductory event on Aug. 3 in Biddeford. CATHERINE BART/Courier

This, Paul Ayoob said, led the couple to begin roasting from home.

“That was sort of the beginning of the end,” Paul Ayoob said. “We started looking at coffee roasting and the process. I thought I might become a home roaster and do, like, a one-pound batch, and the roaster just kept getting bigger.”

As they continued to roast, showing off their product at farmers’ markets, they began to get some attention, Holly Ayoob said, and eventually Maine Coast Roast moved locations.

“Things started getting too big to do it in the house,” she said. “That’s when we realized we needed to scale up, get a place with a loading dock. We’ve been in this building for about 3 1/2 years.”

With their wholesale business increasing, the public’s attention did the same, Holly Ayoob said.

Tourists would eat at restaurants like Musette in Cape Porpoise, which serves Maine Coast Roast, she said, and after enjoying the coffee so much, they’d search for the source.

“They’d Google us because they’d want to buy it, and we weren’t set up for retail,” Holly Ayoob said. “For a little while we had an honor jar, like, ‘Help yourself to a cup — I’m busy.’”

This caused Paul and Holly Ayoob to work with their landlord and get the go-ahead to become a retailer, they said. They are now the neighborhood’s stop for a fresh cup of coffee, relatively small and out of the way.

“We just wanted to make it more comfortable for those people that found us and wanted to buy directly from us,” Paul Ayoob said.

Holly Ayoob said that the two prefer their business to be on the smaller end. This offers the benefit of putting time and care into the product.

“We’re looking at fresh harvest, the highest quality we can find on the market,” she said. “And we roast fresh to order. We roast with intention for our customer. We’re not mass producing. It’s not hooked up to a computer. It’s true craft.”

When thinking of a coffee bean, most people might imagine a dark brown bean full of aroma. But Holly and Paul Ayoob said that the raw product is a light green.

“When it comes to us raw it’s green and it smells like hay,” Holly Ayoob said. “It doesn’t start smelling like coffee until after it’s roasted.”

Paul and Holly Ayoob mentioned, too, that there’s a misconception when it comes to light and dark roasts.

“The darker the roast the less caffeine,” Holly Ayoob said. “A lot of people still think, ‘Oh, a dark coffee is stronger!’”

Paul Ayoob nodded. “They think a robust coffee flavor equates to higher caffeine and that’s just not true,” he said.

Most of the attention surrounding their new product has been positive, he said, with some people wondering what it’s all about.

“There’s a ton of buzz around CBD, and there’s a lot of curiosity around that,” he said. “People who have an aversion to cannabis and know that it’s a related product are hesitant. But I think for most people the curiosity is overwhelming.”

-Catherine Bart can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9029.

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