Java Me Up snack bars uses coffee grown ‘the way coffee was initially farmed,’ says founder

Java Me Up champions shade-grown coffee in snack line

Coffee Snacks is a company on a mission—it wants to create awareness around shade-grown coffee and its benefits to the environment, says founder Lisa Newmann. It’s starting with coffee snack bars.

“Consumers are familiar with bars…they know that bars provide often an energy source,” she told FoodNavigator-USA at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. In fact, the company had originally started out with little crunchy cookies when testing out its first coffee snack product.

“A customer said to us: ‘Is there any way you can put it into a bar format? More of our customers buy bars than they buy cookies, and they can’t associate cookies with anything healthy,’” she recalled. “It was an interesting thing that I learned.”

The first products: Café Mocha and Caramel Macchiato

Its first products to launch are the Java Me Up bars, available in two flavors: Caramel Macchiato and Café Mocha. The soft and chewy bars each contain 5g of protein, 4g of fiber, and the caffeine equivalent of half a cup of coffee.

The bars are made up of gluten-free rolled oats, chicory root fiber, toffee, sunflower seeds, coconut, roasted coffee beans, and coffee berry. The bars are all then covered in chocolate. “Our consumers are travelers, students, the medical community—anyone who’s up all night,” Newmann said. “But we’re also seeing people eating our bars before they workout.”

Shade Grown Coffee, grown under a forest canopy

Newmann emphasized that Coffee Snacks, founded a couple years ago, isn’t a bar company, but, as its name implies, a coffee snack company. More products beyond the bars are planned, all made out of shade-grown coffee.

“The snacks are a vehicle for delivering on the coffee and delivering on the message, engaging communities around the world to support the effort of shade-grown coffee,” she said. Newmann had been in the food industry for 30 years and was pushed to start Coffee Snacks after she learned more about shade-grown coffee from research and seminars.

“Shade grown coffee means the actual coffee plants are grown in the shade, like on mountain sides, under the canopy of the forest. It creates a habitat for migrating birds and pollination,” she said. “It’s pesticide free because the whole habitat is integrated, therefore no pesticides are required. It’s the way coffee had been farmed for thousands and thousands of years.”

Postpone certifications to keep costs down

Coffee Snacks’ coffee ingredients are procured by Coffee Snacks’ roaster partners, Massachusetts-based Six Depot Roastery, through direct trade. This means the coffee ingredients are bought directly from farming communities all over the globe (Latin America, East Africa, South East Asia), which in turn provides money for these communities to develop.

Because growing coffee in the shade of forests means to additional pesticides are needed, the company is refraining from getting certified organic, for now. “When we started out, we didn’t want to be a really expensive bar—I would love to [get certification], and we may be once our story becomes better known,” she said.

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