“Wanna try some of this?” A gooey, caramel-coloured concoction appears in front of me. I’m powerless to resist the chocolate shavings sprinkled on top. As I slurp happily on my afternoon sugar fix, Morgan eases my health guilt. “It’s a cacao, date, banana, almond milk, and peanut butter smoothie,” and everything is right with the world.
Morgan is a Peoples Coffee alumnus, and one of the proprietors of Earnest, a newly opened temple to cold-pressed juice (and delicious salads), in Garett Street. Being run by one of Wellington’s finest baristas, of course Earnest also offers expertly handled Peoples Coffee.
I’m aware that there is such a thing as cold-pressed juice, but I am in need of some enlightenment on, er, the point of it. Morgan is obliging. “Cold-pressed juice is essentially juice that’s squeezed out of fruit and vegetables – with a hydraulic press in this case – through a teflon cloth. The benefit is it doesn’t get hot anywhere in the process, whereas with a centrifugal juicer it can. That’s why quite often juice bars will serve the juice over ice. Also, if it does get hot enough it can start to drain the nutrients from the fruit and vegetables.”
No nutrient dissipation at Earnest. What you see on the bottle is what you get. And what you get are bold, often surprising flavour combinations. Granny Smith apple, spinach, cucumber and mint; carrot, tangelo, rockmelon, lemon and ginger. I’m starting to sense a pattern here…
Yes, says Morgan, colour plays a role. “We started coming up with these ideas for flavours, and they were great but then we realised we can’t really add mint to a yellow juice because it goes brown. So it becomes quite a challenge in terms of either picking ingredients that fit within a relatively close colour spectrum, or figuring out ways to get a flavour out of something but not the colour – so we’ve been playing around with various infusions.”
He’s learned to love the trial and error involved in the juicing arts. The juices started out as a side project; while Morgan was working days running the ever popular Milk Crate, and August (Earnest’s previous incarnation), he would be ‘night-juicing’ – up to his elbows in beetroot pulp, combining flavours like a mad professor.
They proved popular, and as demand increased, the idea for Earnest began to germinate.
I’m curious about the inspiration behind the name… “Coming up with the name was actually almost the hardest part of the whole thing – there was a lot of discussion over several weeks. We were talking about things we were inspired by, names that could embody what we wanted to do, and give the shop a character. In the end it just seemed to make sense for us.”
The whole thing does have a very earnest vibe, and I think that the name embodies the kaupapa of the business very succinctly.
Morgan is also learning a lot more about the broad health benefits of his various ingredients. Fresh turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, beetroot is known to boost stamina, and makes a great performance-enhancer…
He’s going to produce info cards on the health benefits of the juices – but he’s very careful where he gets his information from. “I’ve been trying to dig down and get really academic, peer-reviewed papers. I’m trying to avoid anything that can’t be credited to proper research.”
As Wellington’s Autumn begins to feel discouragingly Winter-y, Earnest is bringing out an antidote in the form of pumpkin, orange and cinnamon juice (“Pumpkin juice was AMAZING when I first tried it, I couldn’t believe it”).
They’re also starting to offer delivery to offices. Actually, I wouldn’t mind ordering in some of that cacao smoothie on the regular.
April 29th, 2015
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