In 2020, James Reina, 25, and Alvaro Ortega, 23, used their pandemic-induced downtime to create a new coffee product that would offer more than your average cup of joe. The pair, both of whom received fellowships from Andrew Yang's Venture for America program in 2019, used their combined experience working with startups to get their own fledgling business up and running.
Now, they're hoping their CBD-infused Jibby Coffee will help get Miami up and running — without the jittery edge often associated with coffee consumption.
"We wanted something different from our coffee," says Reina. "It had to taste good, use sustainable ingredients, and give us energy to boot. Now, after a year of roasting, brewing, and refining our vision, a better coffee experience is here."
Ortega says the idea for Jibby was born while he and Reina were searching for a way to reduce coffee-induced anxiety. After scouring the internet for answers, they began balancing their morning cup with CBD.
"The 'aha moment' came one day when I had been making and drinking too much coffee and was bouncing off the walls," Ortega tells New Times. "Having ADD and anxiety, coffee can make me too anxious or restless. James was feeling the same way."
"Did you know that caffeine is the coffee plant’s natural defense mechanism? By design, it’s supposed to make you feel jittery and anxious," Reina notes. "So we added CBD to help balance that out, creating a cleaner, calmer pick-me-up in the process."
Jibby begins with coffee beans purchased from small organic Colombian farms from the Nariño and Huila regions. Next, the beans are roasted — one medium-light, the other medium-dark — to produce a blend that boasts notes of chocolate, marzipan, and citrus. After roasting, the beans rest for 27 days before undergoing the 18-hour cold-brew process.
The final addition: CBD derived from American-grown hemp, which does its mellowing work without interfering with the coffee's flavor.
Priced from $30 to $66 and sold in six- and 12-packs, as well as a 90-ounce to-go box, Jibby Coffee is sold at Mendez Fuel, Minty Z, Tthe Golden Hog, Showfields on Miami Beach, and Manna Life Food. It's also available via local delivery through domaselo.com and nationwide (with free shipping) via jibbycoffee.com.
The duo has partnered with 1% for the Planet, pledging one cent from every dollar earned to provide clean water to communities in need.
"I think customers are coming to approach caffeine as the American market has come to approach cars in the last 15 years — it’s not just about speed and power anymore. It’s about the full experience," Alvaro sums up.
"Gone are the days of Monster Energy and Hummers, and in are the days of matcha green tea and Tesla. We think CBD will be the new caffeine [drink] for a whole new generation of Americans yearning for mindfulness, well-being, and balance."