When you come into Fairway Market, you see rows and rows of wonderful barrels filled to the brim with all shades of shiny, smooth, brown beans. Here’s a look into how they get there. Hint: it’s a labor of love!
It starts with the beans…which start with the farmers, their families, and just-right soil, weather, and rain needed to nurture what will eventually become a perfect cup of coffee.
Benny Lanfranco is the man at the helm of our renowned coffee department. Benny has been with the Fairway family since 2005, but he has been part of a coffee family practically his whole life. Benny grew up in Queens and the Dominican Republic–so he is a New York guy with a passion for incredible coffee. When Benny was 13 years old, he started working on his neighbor’s coffee farm in the Dominican Republic. He quickly became fascinated with the process, and coffee became his passion.
Benny and his team put our coffee beans to the test – the goal is always great-tasting coffee in your cup. The number one rule: our beans are treated with respect and care. What does this mean? This means we stay away from mainstream commercial coffee – corner-cutters and companies that clearly put quantity over quality; this means we buy directly from small farms and estates that we have personal connections with, because we know they feel the same devotion to coffee that we do.
While some of us were sitting at our desks (note to Benny: I am jealous!), Benny made a trip to Café Hacienda San Pedro, high up in the mountains of Jayuya. It’s the truest of soulful little family operations, in a Puerto Rican paradise where every tree has its own name. They’ve been growing coffee there for four generations, and still hand-pick beans and dry them in 100-year-old antique drums. We get the coffee direct–no middlemen. That means we can insure sky-high quality and offer a truly great price.
When Benny visits, he takes part in the process, from hand-picking to sorting to hulling. He shares conversation and meals and of course, coffee.
When the fresh beans arrive to the New York area, our talented roasters roast them impeccably, so as to coax out the perfect symphony of flavor. The result is a coffee that tastes a bit sweet and wonderfully caramelly, with notes of chocolate and spice. You know exactly what you’ll be getting, and that’s something special.
Here’s a look into Benny’s visit: