Harry Styles made the desert night hotter twice and the locals are already talking about Stagecoach, so it must be time to announce our Coachella Desert Smoke-off 2 edible winners.
Last week we announced the flower winners after we thoroughly went over the entries, some eight or nine times. We selected the best flower in town for Coachella’s big return to Indio following its pandemic-induced hiatus. Wizard Trees Zangria took home the top prize. Judging a bunch of edibles across two categories is a different animal.
You can’t ask the judges to do them all in a weekend. It’s not fair to them or the companies in the contest. So we gave our crew the whole week to get the job done this year, to see who would join our previous Desert Smoke-off 2019 winners Kiva as champions.
The main three judges for the edible category were Chelsea Kerwin of Ras Boss, Daniel Doran of The Healing of The Nations Farm, and myself. Daniel ended up throwing his back out early in the week, which took the edible judging to a whole other level of perception where he said he was really able to dial in his picks when finding relief. While Chelsea and I had a different lens on the pack, we came to similar conclusions.
Generally speaking though, the gummies crushed it this year in the solids category. They’ll probably get their own category next year!
Best Edibles Winners
First Place: Auntie Alohas – Hanalei High Tide Gummies
There were a lot of gummies this year, but the combination of impact and taste proved too much for the competition to handle when it came to the fantastic Auntie Aloha gummies. The pineapple and mango notes in the flavor were a hit with the judging team. Sometimes gummies can start to taste the same even across different companies; the Hanalei High Tide is the opposite. While we’ve seen tropical-flavored gummies in the past, rarely is it executed this well. There are 20 vegan gummies in each pack. Another thing noted by the judges was the quantity felt larger than the competition, even if the dosage matched. A lot of people don’t want to just eat one little piece of weed candy and be done with it, maybe they want a handful!
Second Place: Garden Society – Sparkling Strawberry Rose Gummies
While edged out for the victory, Garden Society’s gummies are heaters and their chocolate deserves an honorable mention, too. The Sonoma County-produced gummies have a ton of flavor and are the perfect low-dose option to start people down their eating weed journey. There are only 2 mgs of THC in the whole package, so you won’t have to worry about grandma going nuts and throwing the blender in the sink.
Third Place: Lime Cannabis Co. – Watermelon Full Spectrum Gummies
Closing out the podium are Lime’s Watermelon-loaded gummies. The ten pack of 10 mg vegan gummies had a solid impact per individual serving. There were a lot of other gummy options that didn’t make the podium that worked well, too, but Lime’s flavor edged it ahead of the pack.
Best Drinks Winners
First Place: CQ – Iced Tea Mango Lemonade
Short for Cannabis Quencher, CQ has been around for a decade and its weed-infused take on the Arnold Palmer, with a dash of mango, was definitely the best of the pack. There are a bunch of upsides on this one. It’s made with cane sugar, vegan and gluten-free, has no GMO products, and is made with real fruit juice. Additionally, the bottle has a very solid dosing bar on the side to help you spread it out, but we recommend just drinking the 100 mg bottle whole if you’re an edible veteran. It’s a delightful dose.
Second Place: CQ – Watermelon Agua Fresca
We liked everything about Agua Fresca. It was the same production process as the winner but got edged out on flavor for the top prize. Still a great beverage.
Third Place: Lime Pink Lemonade 1000 mg Syrup
Lime’s syrup offering is the biggest hitter on the list by a mile. It’s between 10 and 500 times stronger than all the other edible and drink entries. It’s also a harm reduction tool! Wouldn’t you rather see people drinking weed syrup in a styrofoam cup than liquid opiates and other nasty concoctions? Us, too. I’ll admit, there is a little eyeball action on the first 170 milligrams in the bottle, but eventually you reach the measuring line that makes it really easy to be precise with your dosing.