It all started when Jessica Taylor’s grandfather sneakily gave her a small sip of his coffee after her curiosity about the strong drink won him over. Despite her grandmother’s protests, one taste of the aromatic treat sparked a love of java in Taylor from that childhood moment and has been carried through her life.
After building a career education working with institutions like Ohio State University and Perdue to amplify diverse recruitment, Taylor decided to marry her passion for equity, storytelling and coffee into one endeavor: Ezra Coffee. The ethically sourced, premium coffee brand is dedicated to telling the real stories of impactful Black figures. Taylor intentionally named each flavor after Black leaders or important cultural moments, and wrapped the story on each package for customers to see. Some of Ezra’s best-selling blends include 64th & Tulsa, a medium dark roast that honors the significance of Black Wall Street, and Lorde Baldwin, a powerful Kenyan blend that honors literary icons Audre Lorde and James Baldwin.
“My goal with Ezra Coffee Co. is to always highlight the stories, legacies and experiences of African-Americans who have contributed to our collective American history,” Taylor said. “With each cup of bold and flavorful coffee, Ezra [Coffee] informs, empowers and inspires coffee connoisseurs and novices everywhere.”
In just two years, the brand has secured nationwide distribution in Target.com and H.E.B. stores nationwide. The quick success isn’t a surprise to Taylor, though.
“Ezra is a premium brand and each bag comes from the heart,” she told ESSENCE. “I really believe customers can taste that. I’m also integrating the stories that are pivotal to Black into the DNA of the brand, which is incredibly important. Our stories deserve to be told in a beautiful, thoughtful way.