Eric Golman (Politics and Policy, 2015), award-winning coffee-entrepreneur and CEO
This article was originally part of a letter of recommendation for Eric. Since it details his biography, I’ve left it pretty much as it was. For information about Eric’s recent achievements, go here.
Attracted to the University of Maryland by the Hinman CEOs program in entrepreneurship, Eric Goman hit the ground running. Deciding to follow his passions for the environment and business simultaneously, he quickly declared one major in Environmental Science and Policy (Environmental Politics and Policy); and a second major in Economics. After three semesters of nearly straight A’s, I encouraged Eric to consider Honors-in-ENSP. Instead, he took a highly selective internship with the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and began working with climate scientists in DC. After a while, I lost touch with Eric, and assumed he was still interning downtown. Not! Instead, he was hatching a plan to start an organic coffee company. Then and now, I found these developments astounding. In preparing to write this letter I had to ask Eric: How did he know this would work?
It turns out Eric is an entrepreneur at heart. He started at age 10 when (with the help of his father) he bought an old car on EBay, fixed it up, and re-sold it for a profit on Amazon. By age 13 he bought a car for $1250 and sold it for twice that; and by age 16, he was able to buy the first car he could drive with the money made from previous sales. Eric estimates that he had bought and flipped 15 cars, boats, and trailers by the time he graduated from high school. Seen in that light, starting a coffee company seems hardly unusual. In an upscale, caffeine-driven economy like Washington, it’s downright brilliant!
Eric was not a born coffee drinker. In fact, it was not until he spent numerous afternoons in DC coffee shops working on USGCRP projects that he discovered that he actually loved coffee. Meanwhile, his roommate loved nutrient-dense foods; so together they decided to develop a blend that combined the two. They called it Javazen. Initial samples received such positive reviews from friends that they took it to MOM’s Market for a more formal test. MOM’s liked the product, too!
So, with support from Hinman faculty members and Martin Mayorga, another coffee entrepreneur, Eric and his partners made what is called an origin visit to meet coffee farmers, learn about production, and better understand the coffee culture. If Eric’s co-founder’s goal was to provide more than caffeine in a cup of java, but to provide nutrition, as well, Eric’s goal was to create profitable solutions for business, people and the environment. Consequently, Javazen coffee is sourced directly from the farmers who produce it, and who are paid sustainable, fair trade wages for doing so.
As their Javazen Facebook page summarizes: Javazen provides “Balanced Energy: Coffee + Superfoods… Antioxidants, Pure, Healthy, Organic, Sustainably Produced… Zen”
Today, Javazen is on the shelves at over 20 locations, including MOM’s markets, Wegman's Maryland’s Food Co-Op, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery in Hyattsville, Roots Market in Olney, and several farmers’ markets and coops. It’s already available at Amazon, and will soon appear on shelves at and Whole Foods. And did I tell you? Eric graduated cum laude with his majors ENSP-Environmental Politics and Policy, and Economics. I can’t wait to see where Eric goes from here, for he is a great example of taking his love of the environment to do great things – something we should all aspire to!
To learn more about Eric’s achievements, read about their recent victory at the Smith School of Business’s Cupids Cup Challenge.