It all started in 2014 during Eric Golman's junior year at the University of Maryland, when he realized he was drinking too much coffee to get through his classes.
Seeking a solution, Golman and two other university alumni — Ryan Schueler and Aaron Wallach — started Javazen, a company dedicated to creating a healthier coffee experience, Schueler said. Three years later, the business has expanded to stores in the area, and on Thursday, Javazen will be available at this university.
"I was trying to solve a problem myself," Golman said. "[But] being able to give back and help other students with energy and a healthy coffee experience is a really cool thing to do."
Javazen's new product — a mixture of coffee, herbs and spices known as their Balance blend — is served in a compostable brew, or tea bag, and will be offered in campus cafés and convenience stores such as the Union Shop and the newly renovated cafe in H.J. Patterson Hall for $1.59, Schueler said. The blend features a mixture of coffee, matcha green tea, cacao and other spices.
"The point is the ingredients can work together to give you the benefits of all [the ingredients], not just the coffee by itself," Schueler said. "We used to use this help us with just our focus."
Each brew bag contains as much caffeine as one cup of coffee, Schueler noted, and drinkers of the new product do not need any equipment to prepare their beverage — just hot water. The closest comparable product on the market is Folgers Singles, Schueler said, though he added that the brand uses a "lower grade" and "non-organic" coffee.
"No one else to our knowledge is putting other ingredients in a teabag with coffee," he said.
Javazen's executives met with Dining Services in December to discuss introducing the product on the campus, Schueler said, noting that department members "were really responsive to us, and they thought we had a great product."
"I'm real excited about it [for] the new café in Patterson," said Bart Hipple, Dining Services spokesman. "They're piloting a number of specialty teas — and this isn't quite a tea, it's not quite coffee. It's kind of in between."
Before their campus debut, Javazen's creators introduced this product to several sorority houses this semester, including Kappa Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta and Alpha Omicron Pi, Golman said.
"I like it because I don't like to sit down and actually make coffee," said senior Nicole Torres, a computer science major and an Alpha Omicron Pi member. "The tea bag [concept] makes it so easy, and I can take in our to-go cups. … Whenever I see people in the house, I tell them to try it because it also speaks to people who enjoy tea, too."
The company used the $80,000 grand prize from last year's Cupid's Cup, an annual and national Kevin Plank-sponsored competition between young entrepreneurs, to fund the creation of this new product, Schueler said.
"We've been putting all of that [money] into the development of this [new product] to make it easier, more convenient and more accessible for people to try our product and have it on the go at the office," Schueler said.
In addition to this product, Javazen also sells its blends as coffee grounds in nine-ounce bags in stores such as Wegmans, Whole Foods and the Maryland Food Co-op since 2014, Schueler said.
"The purpose of what we do is to make a healthier coffee experience," Schueler said. "We want to make coffee more convenient, healthier and better for you. … It's very rewarding to be able to give that same experience back to students now."