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Fairway Coffee Guru Benny Lanfranco Heads to the Dominican Republic for Incredible Coffee

Fairway’s beloved, near-perfect coffee 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, the coffee genius at the helm of our renowned coffee department, travels all over the world to spend quality time with our coffee growers. It’s ok if you’re jealous, so am I! This time, Benny embarked on a trip to the place where he hails from: the Dominican Republic. (Benny is a true New Yorker: he also grew up in Queens.)

He began his trip with a visit to a Co-op outside Baní, a scenic hour’s drive from the capital. More than 700 small family farmers band together so they can offer their top-notch beans to bigger outfits, like ours. 

“How can we help them improve quality?” Benny is always asking, and helping to answer for our farmers. Another benefit of his constant travel is that he can carry intimate knowledge of growing, picking, cleaning, sorting and hulling. This time, he was able to work with the Baní farmers to improve their water treatment technique. That means more efficient, effective use of land for the farmers and even better coffee for us (and you!). Win, win.

The next morning, Benny woke up at 4 AM to travel to San José de Ocoa, on the northernmost part of the island to visit a new, sprawling farm. It takes at least three years for coffee plants to start producing roast-able beans, and this brand-new venture is still in its infancy. The farmers took Benny out in their tractor, and were eager to show off their new technology and sustainable practices. Keep your eye out–these farmers are committed to growing truly delicious coffee, and we are excited to work with them in the near future.

Dominican coffee has been traumatized by coffee rust—a devastating disease that has ravaged nearly 60% of the crop. The only solution is to start from scratch with brand new plants. Farms like the one in San José de Ocoa are committed to improving the health and lives of their coffee plants, which in turn will help local farmers thrive.

We buy our coffee direct, without involving middlemen. That means we can insure fantastic quality. It also means we save—and we pass along that savings to you. When the fresh beans arrive to New York, Benny and his team of experienced roasters roast them flawlessly, so as to coax out symphonies of great coffee flavor.

One more thing: Benny wouldn’t return to New York without a stop at Tipico Bonao for classic Dominican breakfast of perfectly prepared mangu (mashed plantains), queso frito (fried cheese), and fried eggs. And, of course, a serious cup of coffee.

Try these two wonderful brews from the Dominican Republic. You’ll thank us.

Dominican Republic Estate

Our Dominican Republic Estate blend is inspired by soft and mild island coffees with muted acidity but significant character. The beans are roasted to medium brown shade to render a medium-bodied cup with a tantalizingly indulgent chocolate aroma and finish that overshadows — but doesn’t obscure — a subtle floral note. All our coffees are crafted from 100% Arabica beans and roasted in small batches in-house by our accomplished coffee experts, and this exquisite blend is no exception. Buy here!

Fairway Cafe de Santo Domingo

Renowned for its vivacity and dynamism, the Dominican Republic is our inspiration for this vibrant blend that we named after its capital. 100% Arabica beans are meticulously roasted in house by our coffee experts who carefully monitor the beans until they darkens to a deep and rich brown, perfect for rendering a medium to full bodied mug that exudes soft, mild acidity and a mouthwatering chocolaty aroma. You’ll detect a subtle floral note in this clean and decadent cup. Get it here!


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