Kratom in West Virginia
At Top Tree we’ve always wanted to assist the kratom community however we could. From our ongoing mission to normalize kratom through tea bags, collaborating with leading kratom researchers, and growing fresh kratom leaves, we try to live up to this ideal. Yet we also try to help the kratom community directly, and we’re proud to announce our latest partnership with Mr. Smoke in Charleston, WV; a shop run by true believers in kratom.
The kratom community is not easily definable. There is no classic kratom consumer, believer, or advocate. Many in the community have been brought to the southeast Asian tree leaf for widely different reasons. Some are recovering addicts, others are plagued with pains, some are tired, and yet some cannot sleep. Yet the common thread running through the community is the willingness, nay, eagerness to attest to the benefits kratom has had upon their lives.
To be outright honest, we’ve always been hesitant to partner with “classic” head shops. While we have nothing against headshops, we believe that kratom fundamentally has a PR problem. The head shop atmosphere, unfortunately, isn’t going to correct that.
What Makes Them Different
However, there are instances where that is not the case. For instance, it’s the people at Mr. Smoke which makes the difference and elevates their atmosphere. In order to facilitate a lasting relationship, we drove down to Charleston to visit them. (Specifically, we also surprised them with fresh kratom leaves and a mature tree.)
Dave has been taken kratom for seven years now. His life before joining the team in Charleston had its ups and downs. In the midst of a low – homeless in St. Louis going through opioid withdrawal – he was introduced to kratom. The same day he tried kratom for the first time he was able to feel healthy and confident enough to apply and secure employment.
In full seriousness, Dave looked me right in the eyes and said “Kratom saved my life.”
So of course, if we were to trust anyone with navigating the delicate balance of educating consumers of kratom without falling prey to sensationalized slander against the tree, it was Dave.
Brent is the district manager of Mr. Smoke, and before coming on at the shop he was a barista by trade. Undoubtedly, his background in customer service and beverage preparation poised him to propose the fresh brewed kratom tea option. It was through learning that kratom was traditionally brewed as a tea which sparked the idea. So now Brent starts off his day by brewing a ginger, honey, and lemon kratom tea in a crock-pot with 60 grams of kratom. (See recipe below!)
He eagerly offers a cup to all who come through the store.
We brought them one of our 60+ short kratom trees. They are indoor grown in a greenhouse nestled along the Ohio Valley in Appalachia. And they are almost 4 years old, with an alkaloid content to match. What touched me the most was the sheer joy which emanated from Brent and Dave when first introduced to the tree. They beamed, and it’s not hard to see why given the influence it’s had on their lives.
The remarkable effect that having the kratom tree in the store had on the customers was equally amazing. Here were people who had a daily ritual of coming to the shop to drink some tea or buy some kratom powder. It felt very similar to a coffee shop. Yet this was the first time that many of them not only saw a kratom plant, but also saw kratom as a plant. And the connection was greater than simply seeing a kratom tree, they were also chewing fresh kratom leaves.
Frankly, kratom deserves to be recognized and appreciated as something more than just a powder in a plastic bag. Simply knowing that it is a leaf from a tree gives it a greater depth of meaning. Tacking on an understanding of the traditional and social role that kratom has had over the centuries gives an even greater significance to the experience. This is what we mean when we say kratom must be acknowledged as more than just a headshop powder.
And so here, nestled in the capital of the state with the leading overdose rate in the country, was a shop serving kratom tea and fresh kratom leaves. Surrounded by despair, there was planted a seed of hope, giving rise to a leaf poised, just maybe, to help turn a new page.
Mr. Smoke Ginger Honey Kratom Tea Recipe:
First, take your desired amount of kratom tea bags and mix with about 1.5x the amount of water you’ll want for your beverage in a crockpot. This recipe was designed for a bulk brew, and so Brent routinely used 60 grams of kratom, or, 20 tea bags.
Second, add three or four lemons to your water as the crockpot warms up to its highest setting. The citric acid in the lemon juice will help to “activate” the alkaloids in the kratom.
Third, slice up about 4 inches worth of ginger root and add to your crockpot.
Fourth, add about a cup of honey to the mix. On the day that I visited Brent used sugar as he had run out of honey and admittedly used too much. However, customers complimented the flavor for its “southern style.”
Finally, let the tea bags steep in the hot water for about an hour and a half. They can be left in the tea as it is served. The crock pot can even be refilled and, using the same tea bags, make a second, slightly weaker brew!