When Jessica Taylor decided to launch Ezra Coffee in an attempt to make a bean so delicious and robust that Black coffee drinkers could bypass milk-based creamers, the former DEI professional believed she’d found nothing more than a passion project.
Now, 18 months later, her brand can be found at Target, Amazon, and over 40 local grocery stores, The United States Chamber of Commerce reports.
“Ezra started out as a passion project,” Taylor said. “I had all these pieces, these nuggets, but nothing cohesively in one space. I pulled in my love for scholarship programming, history, coffee, and of educating people of color, and I wrapped it all into Ezra.”
The defining aspect of Ezra is its founder’s commitment to using one of the world’s most popular beverages to tell the history of not only Black people but also the Black LGBTQ community. Through the names of some of the brand’s most popular blends, Taylor pays homage to the people whose sacrifice made way for her entrepreneurial pursuits.
Names like “64th and Tulsa” and “Lorde Baldwin” help speak to the lasting impact of those who came before while Ghanaian Adinkra symbols found on the bag’s seals speak to the global connection of Black people around the world.
“On the back of our bags, we tell amazing stories about Black people that aren’t rooted in adversity and slavery,” Taylor said. “There are so many people who have done great things and made inventions we don’t know about.”
The Atlanta native found financial help through Target’s accelerator program, Target Forward Founders, as well as Texas grocer franchise H-E-B’s Quest for the Best competition. The former earned her a spot on Target.com; the latter helped her catch the eye of a local buyer who helped her land on H-E-B’s shelves five months later. Taylor also received a $5,000 grant from Pfizer’s BREAKTHROUGH accelerator program aimed at supporting woman of color entrepreneurs.
“We’re just continuing to expand,” she said. “We’re small, but we’re scrappy.”
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