Coffee Cacao Matcha in The Making
It’s really no surprise when “coffee” and “health” come up in the same sentence; coffee was originally marketed for medicinal purposes, as least in the West. And, continuing into today, this very year, people are finding newer, better ways to keep coffee from being merely a leisure beverage, or even just a beverage necessary for many of us to be able to get out of bed in the mornings.
This is the subject of many new businesses and startups. No longer is it cool to bring ingenious brewing methods or single-origin sourced coffees to your hipster or business-formal consumers; these days, healthy is chic, and that means that giving anything and everything a healthy twist has the potential to make it chicer.
Javazen was founded by Eric Goldman when he realized that the coffee options available to him during his years as a college intern in D.C. were repetitive, limited, and simply not healthy enough for his desires. Like many inventors and business success stories, his work began in his own kitchen as he mixed together different elements to see what worked and what didn’t when it came to updating what he saw as the same, tired brew (ironic phrasing intentional). He had two main focuses: what tastes good and what makes me feel good?
His big ding-ding-ding moment came when he combined coffee, cacao (in its raw form) and matcha. He couldn’t wait to share the blend with his friends and loved ones as soon as he stumbled across it. He started brewing it with his friends and sharing it around campus and eventually, Javazen was born.
The company’s image jumped off that original combination; they decided to blend coffee with superfoods and teas, not just as brews, but as dry blends, too, so that consumers could brew the super-brews at home. They wanted their blends to be as simple as home-brewed coffee but with the added super benefits they’d found. They are still one of the only brands I know about combining coffee and tea in the same beverage, and adding in superfoods to their blends makes them even more unique, if not totally so.
In addition to the cacao and matcha mix, they also added a Boost Blend that incorporates yerba caffeinated tea with coffee and a decaf blend that includes decaf coffee, honeybush tea and goji berries.
They began marketing to “foodies” and hipsters at farmers markets and the like, where people go to try the latest craze or, even better, to discover it; they gave away samples to individuals who were willing to take the leap on an as-yet-undiscovered beverage invention.
Within about two years they’ve gone from giving away their blends at farmer’s markets, to having their products available in at least 200 regional stores including Whole Foods locations. They also sell online through drinkjavazen.com.
One of the things they credit their success to is their communication with their customers; they are constantly looking for active and specific feedback on their products as well as on what their consumers are dreaming of when it comes to products that don’t exist or which aren’t available to them. For example, in 2016 they finally came out with something their customers had been asking for almost from the start of business: single-serve options for their products. Instead of a “traditional” k-cup, they came up with an option as unique as the brand itself. Theirs is a single-serve bag that is compostable so as to minimize waste products (the biggest issue with k-cups and other single-serve options). Their single-serve options are the result of international scientific collaboration and come in the form of a plant-based starchy bag that is submerged into hot water like a tea bag and steeped to perfection in about 4 minutes.
One of the biggest takeaways from this new and rising brand is how they collaborate with other brands. They listen to their customers, which is a huge necessity in this age of instant and constant connection, and they collaborate with brands that align with what their customers are looking for and complement their brand. Their brand is superfoods, teas, coffees, and now, compostable products. Their next big venture is one that is not only in line with a major trend in coffee over the past couple years, single-serve options, it is also one that involves considerations for the environment in a time when environmental and political concerns are influencing a business’ success more and more.
Pepsi, one of the biggest name in American branding, pulled an ad with one of the most recognizable names in celebrity, Kardashian, because of a consumer backlash. United has changed its company’s policies tremendously in reaction to consumer backlash responding to a viral video of their employees mistreating a customer. Listening to your customers ahead of time can prevent having to make reactionary decisions and lose money like these massive businesses have. Not every bit of feedback is going to be epic and successful or even useful; but, without your customers you have no business, so make sure you give them the consideration they are due.
Originally published at coffeeroastersblog.com on May 12, 2017.