Craft coffee with a conscience and heart, Earnest & Humble is a coffee brand that sources its beans from Africa and produces organic premium coffee with no bitterness. Founder Ernest Nteza shares why his company started with the desire to bring a little piece of home into your cup.
Tell us the inspiration behind Earnest & Humble!
I was born in Uganda and I lived there until I was 10 years old and my grandmother had raised me from the time I was zero to 10. I lived with her and then moved to the states where my mom and my father were and my siblings were both in Uganda. And she died in 2016 and I never got
a chance to go back and see her. I was actually planning on just going to go see her but she died before I could go back. I still went back that year. She died in June of 2016. I still went back in November and I was just dealing with it all and going to her grave. And then one of my uncles was curious to see if there was a coffee market in the U.S because everyone is involved in coffee. My grandmother was a coffee farmer too. At some point when we were growing up people would come to the house and at the time she was selling the cherries. You pick coffee off a tree and people come and get three, four buckets and they'll go and try to sell it at the market.
I remember she treated that room so sacred, because it would be full of cherries and we would try to go in there and eat the cherries and get crazy because it's caffeine. So in 2016 I I talked to my uncle and we tried to work something out where I could help him find a market.
One of the company’s promises is that there’s no bitterness in the coffee. How do you ensure it stays bitter free?
So basically farming is a huge part of the whole country of Uganda. Pretty much one of our biggest industries is just some type of farming and a lot of our coffee trees grow around banana plantains, banana trees. They use them because bananas have thick-like leaves that cover and shield the coffee trees from the sun. So under the ground coffee's very sensitive. It grabs some of the nutrients and attributes of this banana and anything that grows around it. So, it comes out in the cup as this smooth it's winey, it has this sweetness to it. So it’s not bitter. Mostly it’s just a sweet bean.
Please go on, learning about the process of making your coffee is fascinating!
Our coffee is actually sun-dried. Another ancient way of harvesting coffee, a lot of farmers didn't have access to water. It takes a lot of water to harvest the coffee. They'll pick the cherries and put them in the sun and they'll sun dry them and get them ready for export. So these are the elements of our coffee. So you have the sun, the mountains in Eastern Uganda where the coffee is from. The actual tree. So there's a few elements of what goes into the coffee process and Earnest & Humble basically is to me what my grandma was all about. She lived this life of
community. Our community was maybe 20 or 30 people. And it was me, my siblings, a few of my cousins and for her, she was so about love and sharing and community and generosity and culture. We learned so much about who we are. So for me, I wanted to share something like Earnest…like being earnest in who you are, strong in who you are and then humble enough to appreciate other people. And we realized that when I went on these farms they were so curious about who drinks their coffee. They were like, oh do they give coffee to the dogs? I'm like, no! They had no clue who drinks their coffee. It’s so interesting how they're so curious and of what they don't know and they see it as like… they want to learn. I saw that as being humble. It's a small world and you meet different people. And once we humble ourselves, we learn so much about people that are different from us. So that's the idea behind Ernest and humble.
Where should coffee drinkers begin with your line! Lots of great options.
My roasts goes from light to medium. I don't do any dark roast because I think a dark roast….you can't really have high quality coffee and then just burn it because it all tastes the same if it's a dark roast. The lighter the roast the more you see any kind of defect or if something isn't right in the bean, the cup will tell you. Your palette will tell you. You’ll think, wow it doesn't taste consistent so we like to keep it as light as possible. And it has high caffeine. You get to taste the actual qualities and the story of the farm is right there.
Welcome to FLOURYSH Ernest!
I'm so grateful and humbled just to be here and be a part of this.This is an incredible platform to be a part of.