Jot Ultra Coffee Brews Business in Boulder

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The word jot has the context of jotting a note down as a reminder of an idea. “Something that is short, but holds a lot of value and potential,” Jot Ultra Coffee co-founder Andrew Gordon said. To the founders, business team and company’s growing customer base, Jot is 20-times concentrated coffee and two-times concentrated espresso from the Boulder-based ultra coffee concentrate company.

The sound of the name is also familiar in the coffee world with vocabulary java and shot. “A happy coincidence, there’s also the fact that you need just one tablespoon to make a cup of coffee. Palo’s brother alerted us that Jot is an acronym [for Just One Tablespoon.] It was a meant-to-be moment for us with the nam,” said Gordon.

Gordon and co-founder Palo Hawken connected through previous business partnerships and entrepreneurial interests on their path to create Jot. Gordon and his wife Sarah Gordon started Square Organics in 2012 and Hawken is the co-founder of the plant-based beverage company, REBBL.

At Jot, Hawken is chief of production, guiding product and brand innovation and invention, as Gordon leads operations and sets vision and culture as chief executive officer.

Co-founders Andrew Gordon and Palo Hawken. Photo courtesy of Jot.

Four years ago, Hawken experimented in a personal exploration of coffee making techniques, tasting and nutrition as a way of preparing for formulation and marketing a future product. He was not initially a regular coffee drinker. “Through that work, I really fell in love with coffee. That process got me interested in the category in the first place,” Hawken said.

He then considered the major goal of concentrated coffee. “In order to create high quality production-friendly, ready-to-drink coffee, the more concentrated I could make it, the better,” Hawken said. He discovered that a cup of coffee using the concentrate was an improvement on any coffee that he could brew at home. These results encouraged Hawken to connect with Gordon and gage whether there could be a consumer interest and a financeable business opportunity.

Jot officially launched in late April 2020. After an initial creative discussion in January 2019, conversations led to a plan to form the company. It started in San Francisco before it moved to its current Boulder site and manufacturing warehouse — Gordon discussed the challenge of operating a beverage business in California.

Photo courtesy of Jot.

Gordon said that he had visited Boulder many times as a food and beverage industry hub up to twice a year. “We had a personal draw to Boulder. From a business standpoint, there are few places where you can plant this flag that are better than this community. For operating employees and food grade spaces, this is really the epicenter.”

The company has grown to a staff of 11, a group of people that bring the founders a lot of pride. Hawken said that the team is a standout feature of the business. “This one is made of magic. It’s wonderful to have personal and professional overlap as it is,” he said.

Gordon said, “There is a tremendous amount of ownership from everyone. We are much more remote which can present a lot of challenges, but we were able to thrive and go the extra mile to stay [in close connection] with each other and have coffee together in the morning.”

Jot also strives to reduce packaging waste and support social causes, foreseeing working directly with Fair Trade coffee producers. “The glass bottle of coffee is an expression of our commitment to a different way to make coffee convenient.”

To use Jot, customers combine one tablespoon of the concentrate with eight ounces of any liquid, like water, steamed milks, sparkling water and alcohol. “My coffee routine was 15 to 20 minutes of grinding, brewing and cleaning up, but once Palo introduced me to this 20-times concentrated coffee, it was a game changer for my wife and I, having a newborn baby,” Gordon said. “It takes the form of what you are combining it with. The result is much more akin to a fine espresso than it is to any single strain coffee or other coffee concentrates on the market today.”

According to them, there  is no alternative to Jot — no accessible, existing technology or liquid concentrate option allows for the same quality, level of concentration, versatility or convenience at home. Homemade coffee concentrates (grounds steeped in water for several hours and strained) produce a two- to four-times concentrate, in comparison.

A fan at first taste, Gordon imagined the direct-to-consumer online model given the concentration and stability of the product. “The essence of the mission is to make really great coffee and improve the at-home experience,” he said.  It allows for creativity and customization to make indulgent espresso drinks. “Jot is this unique marriage. It’s highly convenient and brings the quality of our favorite cafes.”

Gordon and Hawken each enjoy their Jot differently. Gordon said that he makes a latte with his wife’s homemade almond milk, while Hawken combines frothed oat milk. “I’m pretty much as snobby about my nut milks as I am about my coffee,” Gordon said.

Customers from Boulder and Colorado have already proven dedicated to Jot since the recent launch. Gordon and Hawken have been happy with the large wave of positive customer reviews — the product has a 4.8 star rating. Jot employees gain immediate feedback and have conversations with customers at scale through the website.

Their hope is that Jot can build a foundational understanding in customers that Jot coffee concentrate is the best, highest quality way to drink pre-brewed coffee and change coffee making habits.

Jot is delivered between two to five business days in the US from Boulder. Delivery occurs in three days on average, using same day fulfillment. It is exclusively sold from the company website, with plans to expand industry channels. It is organic and Fair Trade. A subscription costs $20 and a single-purchase bottle is $24 — one bottle has 14 servings.