A perfect cup of coffee {Insider tips from a coffee guru}


Are you a morning person?

I wasn’t until I had my dear daughter five years ago. I used to love staying up all hours of the night and sleeping in.

But my life has transformed as it does when you have a child.

Now I love waking up before her and enjoying some quiet time before my hungry chatterbox awakens and we talk about what dreams we had.

While darling S is still in her slumber, I make a latte on my Capresso espresso machine, which has been a very welcome addition to my kitchen.

I also use my French Press from time to time for a regular cup.

While I often buy beans at The Roasting Plant, I also buy beans at Fairway Market, which has an amazing coffee selection (and they’ll ship beans to you).

I was fortunate enough to meet with Fairway’s coffee man extraordinaire, Benny Lanfranco, who’s been the coffee manager since 2005. But even before 2005, Benny has always had a thing for coffee. Born in Brooklyn, Benny and his family moved to the Dominican Republic where his love of coffee began as a kid. By the time he was 14 he’d befriended the coffee farmers and formed lasting relationships with them. Now he travels 2-3 times a year to buy coffee. “I’m always looking for great coffee,” he tells me. And it shows. At Fairway, the entire coffee process—from picking beans (only high quality) to exporting them (with great care) and roasting the beans on site—is taken very seriously—something Fairway customers appreciate.

Benny gave me some of his insider secrets on his favorite beans and I am excited to share them with you.


Benny’s Recommendations

For iced coffee:
Benny recommends a dark roast, such as Indonesia Sumatra or Benny’s Blend (his creation), which is a blend of Indonesian and African beans.

For a robust cup:
Sulawesi, Cafe Sento and even a generic Italian roast, “which is fantastic,” says Benny.

For a mellow cup:
“I’m really proud of the Fairway Supreme Blend,” explains Benny. “It’s our custom blend and we’ve perfected it over the years. It’s medium bodied with good acidity.”

For espresso or cappuccino:
“I recommend beans from Latin America, and also Cafe Venezia or the Fairway Havanero Espresso, which has nice body and good flavor.

When I asked Benny what else he recommends, he lit up. “I found a farm in Panama: Esmerelda Boquete. The flavor and aroma of this coffee is different…it’s very sweet and has a floral aroma. It’s one of the best coffees I’ve ever had.”

Lucky for coffee drinkers who appreciate a great cup, Esmerelda Boquete will be available at Fairway in July or August. So be sure to bring some beans home.

  1. I love this post, Tracey. I gave up coffee many years ago for health reasons but recently I have enjoyed drinking it again as an occasional treat because I have been meet some coffee roasters who are just passionate about their process: “from picking beans (only high quality) to exporting them (with great care) and roasting the beans on site.” Thank you for introducing me to a few more interesting blends and concepts. And this is the place we visited together, yes? Even more special!

  2. I’m glad you’re enjoying an occasional cup. It’s not so bad for us, I don’t think. In moderation. Yes, this is the market we visited just before the hurricane. I was fortunate to meet such a passionate coffee guy. We’re going to talk about tea in a few weeks.

  3. I want to go to this market! It sounds delightful.

    I love coffee. It’s the one thing I’ll never give up. I’ve tried a few times and have gone weeks without it when doing cleanses but i always go back. I love the smell and taste.

    I also like to go out and get coffee in the morning as a reason to leave the house- I work at home.

    I feel lucky that the yucky Dunkin Doughnuts that we have near us is balanced out by a fabulous small coffee roaster called Fandenza. The make the best iced coffee i’ve ever had and fancy syrups to put in your cofee. The latest i loved was lavender.

  4. I’m a tea drinker…made in Britain don’t you know! But the aroma of coffee always entices me. It smells so yummy, yet often when I get myself a cup…it’s so disappointing. I’ve found that the best coffee (for me) is always the small producers, the guys who love what they do!

    So when I saw where this post was going I had to smile. There is definitely a synergy around doing what you love and bringing it to people. And with food and consumables it’s so important.

    And thanks for bringing us the tips for which blends to use…my American hubby will appreciate!

  5. Iced coffee on Saturday and Sunday mornings is my weekly treat! Tracey, please share with us your tips for making the perfect iced coffee! <3

  6. I’m more of a tea drinker, but your descriptions made me want to try some coffee! I didn’t know there were so many types of coffee! Definitely going to have to send this article to my coffee lover friends!

  7. I really love iced coffee or a coffee ice-cream shake as a treat, while I am more of a tea drinker I find the smell of coffee irresistible.

  8. Oh, yes! Life is way to short for crappy coffee!

    Like Sue Ann above, I too gave up coffee more than a decade ago and I am definitely a tea girl. I do, however, have the one cappuccino a week rule–it doesn’t happen every week, more like once a month, but in the presence of truly great coffee I will exercise this rule to its full extent 🙂

    Hmm, there may be an iced cappuccino in my very near future…

  9. Thanks for finally talking about >A perfect cup of coffee Insider tips
    from a coffee guru | The Busy Hedonist :: Recipes inspired by NYC’s food shops + travels around
    the world; Kitchen tools + Inspiration <Loved it!