If you want to upgrade your coffee experience, a local Maryland company called Javazen may have what you’re looking for.

By blending coffee with tea, cacao and “superfoods” like açai and goji berries, Javazen’s founders believe they’ve created a tasty alternative—or better yet—an entirely new product category.

The Javazen team

The Javazen team

“Blending coffee with tea hasn’t been done so far [in the coffee industry],” says Aaron Wallach, Javazen CEO and Wellness Officer. “There’s a lack of innovation in the coffee space, and Javazen brings a unique, different product. We believe we’ve started something new.”

The ingredients aren’t the only thing that make Javazen a unique coffee company.

Javazen was created by three students—Wallach, along with Eric Golman and Ryan Schueler—who met at the University of Maryland in 2014. The three were members of a school incubator called the Hinman CEOs Program. In between taking classes on the basics of entrepreneurship, they rallied around Golman’s quest to create a better cup of coffee.

Golman, the COO and company “Brewmaster,” had begun drinking coffee regularly just a year earlier, primarily to stay energized during an internship, but he felt that most coffee had a burnt taste, which he would mask by adding milk and sugar. While the milk and sugar made coffee more palatable, it also made it less healthy.

By the time Golman met Wallach and Schueler, he had already begun experimenting with different blends, including mixing organic coffee with teas and other ingredients like chocolate. He wanted a brew that was delicious on its own, without the need to add milk and sugar. Wallach added his insight on brew-able “superfoods” to make the blends more nutritious.

Packing up Javazen

Packing up Javazen

The initial results from testing at their on-campus apartment were promising, but not quite what they hoped. “There were a lot of obstacles that we had to overcome,” Wallach says. “The first blend I made, I was not satisfied with.”

But they brought it to people anyways. They set up a booth with free samples at farmers markets near campus to hear directly from the public. After some adjustments to the recipes based on the feedback, they continued to bring their blend to the markets. The results? “Phenomenal,” Wallach says. “Before we knew it, we had a delicious cup of Javazen.”

The customer reaction confirmed that they had created something special. “People were saying, ‘This was delicious.’ ‘I could drink five cups of it.’ ‘I feel better after drinking it.’ That feedback helped us build the blends we have today. And we got a lot of encouragement to continue on this path,” Wallach says.

They decided to call the product “Javazen” to highlight the active, energy of coffee along with the state of being present in your current moment. “The idea behind the blend is we want to give every person focused energy,” Wallach says. “Not too caffeinated, but not under-energized. We see our blend as complete.”

The company currently offers three varieties: Balance, Boost and Relax. Each has a different combination of coffee, tea and antioxidant-rich “superfoods.” Wallach recommends brewing their blends with a French press to maximize taste and nutrition. The products are available online on Amazon.com, as well as at natural food stores throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Wallach and Schueler graduated in 2014 and Golman in 2015. Building Javazen is now their full-time job. The three are busy marketing their product and are trying to raise half a million dollars to roll out a national expansion. Their goal is to be in 1,000 stores by the start of 2016. They’re also collecting plenty of accolades along the way, including Tech Cocktail DC Startup of the Year, the Best Brand award at Green Festivals DC, and acceptance to the Terp Startup summer incubator at their alma mater.

Wallach, who was active at the University of Maryland’s Hillel and got Golman involved as well, says he sees the company as a way to extend his religious and cultural values broadly through business: “All of the products we source are direct trade and sustainably sourced. Our goal is to be a people company and apply our Jewish values. Coffee is only one part of the story with Javazen.”

Congratulations to Javazen, the 2016 winner of Cupid’s Cup, a local competition that recognizes successful student entrepreneurship initiatives! Read more about Javazen in Washington Business Journal, too. 

Enter your email address below for a chance to win a French press and three full-sized bags of Javazen’s organic blends: Javazen Boost, Javazen Balance and Javazen Relax! These premium pre-ground blends brew like any other coffee or tea. This specialty package will ship free to the winner’s home or office (US entries only, please). Emails will be shared with JFE® and Javazen. This raffle is open from July 31 to August 10.

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