We Were Tired...
The founders of JavaZen bonded over college drinking... But not the way you think! Our beverage of choice in college was mostly coffee or tea. (Chamomile-pong anyone? Coffee shots?) As students at University of Maryland, we knew we needed tons of energy to keep up with classes, work, and fun. But what made us different is that we wanted to get our energy in a healthy way.
At first, COFFEE was a natural choice. But it came with side-effects: Jitters if we drank too much. The ill-timed crashes that left us more sluggish than before. And the acidic, bitter taste – especially after three mugs – was hard to swallow. And while coffee has a massive amount of antioxidants, it's not exactly packed with nutrition. If gulping down four cups makes you too full to enjoy a superfood smoothie or actual food, that's a problem! Sure, we loved the incredible buzz and complex, robust flavor in moderation and still do. But for energy purposes, coffee wasn't much more than a quick fix. It failed to provide a healthy, balanced lift. For that, we needed tea. TEA didn't have the rocket-fuel effect of coffee. But its rejuvenating qualities and nutritional benefits were impressive. Tea made us feel better in mind, body, and spirit. The only problem with tea is that it can't get you out of bed at 6 am. It can't perk you up for a party or three. It can't help you cram for a final exam. Coffee has crazy energy, but tea is healthier and comes in a variety of flavors. So which should we drink, and when? Therein lies the infamous "coffee/tea dilemma." The three of us would discuss and debate this topic endlessly. It was an ongoing theme in our friendship.
Aaron, the de facto health coach of the group, told Eric, "Stop over-caffeinating!” He pointed out that too much caffeine was causing Eric to have slow mornings and fluctuating energy levels. Upon Aaron's insistence, Eric used tea as an occasional substitute. But we felt there had to be a better way! Which is why we created Javazen, a one-of-a-kind hybrid that combines the energy of coffee with the health and flavor benefits of tea, in one amazing beverage that's the best of both worlds.
The Growth Curve
And since you’re thinking it, we’ll just come out and say it: getting the taste right was NOT as simple as dropping a tea bag into a cup of coffee. (We tried. Yuck.) It took a tremendous amount of professional-grade blending of coffees, teas, and superfoods to get it right. Plus, it also took a professional-grade Ryan. See, to make sure our blend appealed to everyone, Ryan, our third musketeer/roommate, would be the key. Ryan never liked coffee or tea and was outspoken about it. All three of us knew that if our blend passed the Ryan test, we'd be onto something huge, monumental, world-changing! After tons of trial and error, we finally cracked the code. JavaZen was born.
It supplied the mega-buzz Eric wanted, from impeccable coffee beans roasted to perfection. (Java!) The health aspects and pure, gourmet tea energies that Aaron required. (Zen!) And a complex but approachable Ryan-approved taste that would appeal to everyone. (JavaZen!)
Before celebrating, we knew we needed to test drive JavaZen in a big way. We figured that doling it out for free at a 36-hour coding hackathon on campus would do the trick. So that’s what we did. We loaded up a large beverage dispenser and JavaZen'd overworked hackers for 36 hours. We received tons of compliments. JavaZen kept everyone sharp and balanced. No jitters, no crash. All thanks to Aaron's idea to add L-Theanine, an amino acid that augments yet subdues the effects of caffeine. Many described the unique feeling as "calm power."
Since then, JavaZen has been featured in The Washington Post, Eat this, Not That!, MarketWatch, ABC, CNBC. JavaZen won the 2015 D.C. Startup of the Year Award, and the $80,000 Grand Prize at the 2016 Cupid's Cup Entrepreneurship Competition hosted by Kevin Plank, Founder and CEO of Under Armour. Plus, JavaZen was voted one of the "Top Ten Healthiest Beverages In Grocery Stores" for 2016 by Clean Eating Magazine.
The In-between Years
In 2018 Javazen went on pause as the team decided that the best way to keep sharing Javazen was no longer in retail but rather focusing the company on selling the product online. While this transition was taking place, Ryan and Eric, decided to pursue other opportunities.
In 2020, the Original company was sold to one of the original founders, Aaron Wallach, who, along with his brother Michael decided to keep the Javazen journey going.
Now relaunching in 2021, Javazen is back and ready for the next chapter. We are excited to continue to serve our community and share our vision for healthy and balanced caffeination with the world.
Chief Energy Officer (CEO)