Coffee can do many amazing things. It can fuel a creative streak into the early hours of the morning. It can keep you from dozing off at an important meeting. It can prevent you from purely going insane in the moments after your alarm goes off and you ask yourself, “What is this life?!”
For Jordan DeCicco, a guard on Philadelphia University’s basketball team, coffee inspired him to dropout of college — one he was attending on a full scholarship. Call it crazy, but now the household stimulate has also led DeCicco a chance to compete on ABC’s Shark Tank, where DeCicco will seek out an investment this Sunday, February 11.
After suffering through daily 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls for basketball practice, DeCicco wanted to find a healthy, energizing drink that would sustain him through his afternoon classes. Unable to find what he was looking for on his college campus, DeCicco decided to make his own awakening elixir — and there begins the story of Super Coffee.
“A lot of products have 40 to 50 grams of sugar,” explains DeCicco. “As a student athlete, I was very conscious of what I put into my body, and when I’d stop at the convenience store and notice all they had were products with tons of sugar and artificial sweeteners, I realized it might be easier to just make my own.”
At age 19, DeCicco turned his dorm room into a culinary test lab, where through the power of his blender, he began whizzing up no-sugar-added energy shakes. Pretty soon, he was selling the “Super Coffee” to his friends and classmates and discovered it was something people across campus enjoyed.
It was then, just before his sophomore year, that DeCicco made the decision to leave college and also to get his brothers onboard, dropping his teammates on the basketball court in favor of creating a business with his new family partners.
“There was definitely some fear in leaving free tuition and basketball, something that I love, and my parents weren’t super happy about it at first,” says DeCicco, now 22-years-old with no current plans to return to college. “I felt in my gut and in my heart that it was the right move to make, and I had confidence in the product and company.”
The trio of brothers — Jordan is joined by Jake and Jim — will make their case for the drink on Shark Tank, airing Sunday at 10 p.m. EST, seeking a $400,000 investment in exchange for a five percent stake in the company from one of the five “sharks” (AKA, investors).
The brothers now produce Super Coffee under the company name Sunniva, meaning gift from the sun. Their product is available on Amazon and in select retail stores between Washington, D.C. and New York City. Stores include Wegmans, Whole Foods, Wawa, QuickChek, Acme, and Fairway, as well as fitness centers such as Equinox, Vida Fitness, and Crunch. Select college campuses, corporate cafeterias, and hospitals nationwide also sell the product.
Super Coffee is derived from organic Colombian beans, with added trendy ingredients that include coconut oil and no-lactose milk protein. Flavors include vanilla bean, smooth mocha, maple hazelnut, and creamy black, and any sweetners used in the drink can be attributed to monk fruit and stevia.
“Monk fruit is a plant from southeast Asia,” explains DeCicco. “It’s naturally 300 times sweeter than sugar, so it only takes a small amount to sweeten a drink and doesn’t add any calories.”
Each bottle delivers the amount of caffeine equivalent to an eight-ounce cup of coffee and contains 10 grams of protein.
DeCicco and his brothers will head on-air to make the case that the combination of caffeine, protein, and healthy fats, is a winning one. Tune in to ABC on Sunday or go to abc.go.com to catch the show.
“I was compelled to make an impact and driven to pursue my dreams, and that’s something we want to inspire others to do,” says DeCicco. “We want other young people to become leaders and shake up current industries.”