Cannabis  December 1, 2023

Getting baked: Ousia Labs takes cannabis tech to the kitchen

LOVELAND — If you could build a compact, easy-to-use device that extracts pure cannabis oils from marijuana plants, couldn’t that same device be used for the extraction of a broader array of botanicals — say, flavor-packed peppers or vitamin-rich ginseng, for example?

Ousia Labs, a Loveland startup helmed by a group of cannabis industry veterans, is developing an extraction system aimed at appealing equally to weed aficionados into making their own vape oil and high-end chefs looking to elevate their roasted chicken with a kiss of sage extract. 

“Most of our interest has come from the culinary and beverage side of things,” Nick Gay, Ousia’s product-development manager, told BizWest. “We’re in communication with Michelin star chefs and award-winning cocktail creators.”

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Ousia Labs, operated by Loveland-based parent company Essential Extraction Corp., has been developing its carbon-dioxide extraction technology for the past three years and is in the late stages of a crowdfunded pre-order campaign.

Several of the company’s core group of employees, including chief operating officer David Ross, previously worked at cannabis vape giant O.pen, where Ross’ father and Essential Extraction Corp. co-founder Gary Ross was CEO. 

After striking out on his own, David Ross began developing CO2 extraction systems with the help of engineering ace James Ramsey, who is now Ousia’s chief technology officer.

Ousia Labs — ousia is a word used by Greek philosophers to describe the essence or substance of a concept — was soon born.

“They gave me a rough idea of what they were looking for, and I ran with it,” Ramsey said.

Soon the company leaders realized that there was no reason to constrain themselves within the still nascent cannabis space.

“We started seeing greater market potential,” Ross said. “Cannabis is very small comparatively” to other applications of the technology, such as the natural and organic products or culinary industry.

Developing an extraction device for the kitchen is “a completely different word” than building one for an industrial cannabis operation, he said. “Our challenge and our true innovation is taking that technology, which has been around for a long time, and making it small and ergonomically designed and user friendly.”

Ross said that there “is a big problem” with the food-extract market. “All of these food flavorings and essential oils are adulterated in one way or another. Our solution is to allow consumers to make their own natural ingredients.” 

Unlike similarly conceived products in both the culinary and cannabis spaces, Ross said the Ousia technology provides a pure extraction of whatever botanical goes into the system, rather than a mere infusion. 

“None of these other systems produce (a cannabis) oil that can go straight into a vaporizer,” he said. “Our chefs love it for that reason, too — it’s a pure compound.”

As “a big time gardener,” Gay said conversations with potential Ousia users in the culinary world often center around new plants he ought to run through the extractor. 

Since the Ousia system is still in the early stages of the manufacturing process, Gay said he has been using a prototype to extract different botanicals, “and sending oil samples to all of these chefs. They’re making all of these different creations and coming back to us with more suggestions” for different extraction recipes. 

While Ross said the Ousia system is compact and easy to use at home, it’s not exactly like the breadmaker so many would-be bakers picked up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Users are more likely to be restaurateurs, caterers, bartenders or chefs. “This is a little more high-end, a little more focused” than an everyday kitchen appliance. 

The Ousia team has linked up with local contract manufacturer Vergent Products, which operates out of The Forge innovation hub in Loveland, to build its first product line: the Ousia Fountain.

“We’re part of this ecosystem” of innovative startups in Northern Colorado, Ross said. “It’s really cool.”

Ousia is planning to begin production and order fulfillment of the first few dozen units in early 2024. After that, the hope is to quickly enter a rapid-growth phase.

“We’re going to scale up production as soon as this first round is out,” Ousia sales director  Conal Rosanbalm said. 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Ousia.


Ousia Labs’ leadership team.  Courtesy Ousia Labs

LOVELAND — If you could build a compact, easy-to-use device that extracts pure cannabis oils from marijuana plants, couldn’t that same device be used for the extraction of a broader array of botanicals — say, flavor-packed peppers or vitamin-rich ginseng, for example?

Ousia Labs, a Loveland startup helmed by a group of cannabis industry veterans, is developing an extraction system aimed at appealing equally to weed aficionados into making their own vape oil and high-end chefs looking to elevate their roasted chicken with a kiss of sage extract. 

“Most of our interest has come from the culinary and beverage side of things,”…

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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