Celebrating Don Mayo

Each year for the past 10+ years, Electric City Roasting has been proud to present our premier micro lot coffee, Don Mayo. Through our partnership with Hector Bonilla and his family, who own the Don Mayo micro mill in the Terrazu region of Costa Rica, we’ve been able to consistently bring NEPA a taste of one of Central America’s – and one of the world’s – best coffee growing regions. The 2019-20 lot is about to land on shelves, so we wanted to walk you through why this coffee is so special, and why we choose it.

So, what is a Micro lot?

Micro lot coffees are some of the most carefully produced and unique tasting coffees you can find. While they do come in limited quantities, the “micro” in micro lot refers to the region in which the coffee was grown: a small area of one farm at a small range of altitudes. The region a micro lot is grown on can be as small as a single hillside, or span across a few small neighboring farms.

You may have heard of the concept of “terroir” in the context of wine or other specialty foods, which refers to the qualities of those foods endowed by the land they are grown on. Similarly, micro lots are selected so that they reflect the qualities of the soil, altitude, and climate in their taste. The farmers that grow these coffees also take care to process them in a way that highlights the best flavors.

Before landing in your cup, we meticulously test and dial in the best roast profiles for these micro lots, to be sure we produce a coffee that’s sweet, rich, and complex without being overwhelmed by over-roasting.

Don Mayo coffee in Electric City Roasting’s Signature 12oz bag.

What makes Don Mayo special?

Our Don Mayo coffee is one of a few micro lots that Hector Bonilla, his family, and his partnering farmers produce in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. The beans we use each year come from the Los Nacientes farm, which is within sight of the Don Mayo micro mill where the coffee is sorted, processed and prepared for export.  The beans are of the Caturra and Bourbon varieties, which are noted for their champagne-like acidity and medium body, which makes this coffee both light on the palette and mouthwateringly delicious.

While the nuances of the coffee do change a bit year to year, depending on the climate and other factors, our Don Mayo micro lot has a consistent lemon-like acidity and rich honey flavor interwoven with notes of dark bakers’ chocolate. As noted above, we typically apply a light-to-medium roast profile to our Don Mayo, to preserve the light citrusy flavors while still bringing out the rich, chocolatey body. It is always the highlight of our year to start tasting and roasting the new crop from that little plot of land.

Mary Tellie & Hector Bonilla posing with children from the local school in Costa Rica.

What’s the mission?

Electric City Roasting’s founder and CEO, Mary Tellie, sought out the Don Mayo micro mill in 2007 for direct trade coffee. From the beginning, she hit it off with the owner Hector Bonilla, with whom she’s now been friends for over 15 years.Direct trade is one of the most socially responsible way to source coffee. And, since Mary visits the farm each year to speak with Hector, his family, and the other farmers, she is able to see the progress, new projects, and taste new coffees each year.

In addition to forming personal relationships with the producers of Don Mayo, Electric City Roasting Company has also sought out to make an impact on the community that surrounds the mill, collecting hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes to give away, as well as donating the funds to build modern restrooms in the local schoolhouse, where many of the coffee farmers’ children attend school. It has always been important to Electric City Roasting to give back to the people and communities that produce the coffees we love so much. We strive to create a real connection with our producers in the same way we connect with our customers here in NEPA. We are proud of our partnership with the Don Mayo micro mill, and we are proud to bring you this delicious coffee.