Eric Golman knows the importance of a good cup of coffee. It was during his first internship in his sophomore year of college at the University of Maryland that Golman recalled his “journey into the world of coffee.” To avoid falling asleep on his bus ride from downtown D.C. to his home in Loudon County, Golman would often buy a cup of joe for the road. He got hooked. “I soon became a coffee fanatic, collecting a variety of brewing apparatuses and beans from dozens of roasters.”
With his newfound zeal for coffee, Golman soon experienced midday crashes which he described as “extremely uncomfortable,” and decided to do something about it.
As part of University of Maryland’s Hinman entrepreneurship program, Golman, along with some college buddies, launched Javazen: Superfood Coffee Blend. The blend is made of organic coffee beans, cacao, matcha tea and a “Zen mix” of pine pollen, cinnamon, and ground vanilla bean. Golman serves as the company’s CEO and “Brewmaster.”
You’re currently hiking in the mountains of Greece. Are you searching for Javazen’s next ingredient?
I came to Greece to visit one of my best friends from University of Maryland. It has been an amazing opportunity to experience European coffee culture while also being inspired by the beautiful landscape.
I have kept a keen eye out for new ingredients to bring back home. Although I cannot yet disclose it, I am definitely onto something.
What exactly makes your coffee Zen?
My apartment essentially turned into a food lab as I began to throw dozens of ingredients into my French press and record the results: eventually I landed on the perfect mixture. After sharing the blend with my roommates, and soon after, my neighbors, friends and many people around campus, everyone started to prefer my blend over their regular cup of joe.
The word “Zen” can be traced back to the Sanskrit word dhyana which translates to “meditative state.” A cup of Javazen provides the type of focused, sustained and calm alertness that one can typically achieve through a meditative state.
Has it been Zen working with college buddies, or chaos?
I am extremely grateful and fortunate to be working with such an amazing team. Our skill sets and interests are perfectly complementary. This not only helps our business grow, but also helps us grow as individuals.
The way that our COO, Aaron Wallach, and I met sums up our relationship today. My first impression of him was in my apartment while he was drinking a blend of freshly squeezed juice, several superfood powders and a few splashes of rum. He was on his way to join the celebration of Simchat Torah on campus outside of my apartment. After he found out that I was Jewish, he refused to let me stay inside. This was one of the first times that I became involved with the Jewish community on campus at UMD. Today, Aaron and I still bond over innovative super food beverages, while also celebrating and studying Torah.
Has the university done anything to help promote your product? Do you package the product at the university?
The Hinman CEOs entrepreneurship incubator on campus provides the resources, network and mentorship that are crucial to a young start-up. I am extremely thankful for my adviser, Dr. James Green, who has provided invaluable advice for my company.
Javazen is hand blended and packaged in a licensed commercial kitchen on campus at the Maryland Food Collective, otherwise known as ‘the Co-op.” The Co-op is a nonprofit, worker-owned natural food store. Everyone there is awesome, and I am extremely thankful that they allow us to use the space. It is a lot of fun to come together as a company, put on some funny-looking hats, play some tunes and pack Javazen in the Co-op.
You just made a deal with MOM’s Organic Market. Any plans on expanding the product?
Through a series of innovative and strategic partnerships with leaders in the industry, we plan to expand our product line into the ready-to-drink bottled beverage market. Keep an eye out for some exciting new products in your favorite stores.
How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
Let’s just say there is not enough blood in my Javazen system.