I recently had a fortuitous encounter with a delightful guy, Ed Lane, one of the founders of the local Blue Donkey Coffee, and I was very interested to learn more about the products and the company. I also sampled some of the original recipe iced coffee and WOW – the best iced coffee I’ve ever tasted. (Far better than that other coffee company, I forget their name…)
Let me repeat that: BLUE DONKEY IS THE BEST COFFEE EVER. I am more of a tea drinker so if I say a coffee is wonderful I am not exaggerating. Blue Donkey coffee ROCKS.
The company sells small-batch craft coffees, coffee by the cup [in booths at local farmer’s markets and at the airport] and iced coffees. You can also find their coffee at Sprouts and at their facility in Fayetteville. They may be in Whole Foods soon.
Their coffees are organic, grown all over the world, and the company strives for fairness and sustainability. Hence, they use a Georgia dairy -- Southern Swiss Dairy in Waynesboro, Georgia -- to produce the milk for their excellent iced coffees, and they are committed to helping with the Tolupan project. From their website: Frontline Missions has worked with the Tolupan Indians of Honduras for many years. The Tolupans are a native people who live high in the mountains of Honduras and who earn most of their income from their small coffee farms. Their challenge is to get their beans to market. At Blue Donkey Coffee, we seek to purchase their beans at a fair market value. This will enable the Tolupan people to earn a higher wage on their crop and increase their standard of living.
Enough about the products. To me, Ed’s story is a fascinating one.
Ed Lane grew up in Brazil, but his father was a doctor and an American. His mother is Brazilian.
Blue Donkey started out as GranCoffee Roasting Co. in Athens, about 17 years ago. When Ed’s son decided to go to work in the family company, he came up with the name Blue Donkey
What is your full name? Eduardo Lane
Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world? Atlanta, Scotland, or Montana
What is your favorite movie and why? The Good the Bad and the Ugly – a classic Clint Eastwood western from 1966. I feel the acting and the music are phenomenal, and I like the straightforward (unambiguous) story.
What was your least-favorite subject in school when you were a kid? History. But now it’s a favorite.
What was your nickname when you were a kid? “Boy” [in English]
Do you believe in God? Yes
What sound or noise do you love? Music
If you could do anything other than what you do, as a profession, what would it be? I love what I do now.
If heaven exists, what do you think it is like? Peaceful, restful, a place where there are no broken relationships between man and God.
Do you have siblings? I am the oldest of 8 – 3 brothers and 4 sisters. Some live here and some live in Brazil.
What is your favorite memory of childhood [something specific]? Going camping on the beach in Brazil. I liked to go to Guaruja beach, near our home in Sao Paulo.
If you had to choose between one week traveling around the USA by car, or one week traveling around Europe on a train, which would you choose and why? I have already traveled in Europe, so I would like to see more of this country, especially the western United States.
What inspires you? My work, because I have forged solid relationships with suppliers and customers over the years. Relationships are key to my business.
Which holiday do you prefer, Christmas or July 4th? Christmas. July 4th is too hot! [But a perfect occasion to drink iced coffee, I think…]
What project or idea are you most passionate about, right now? The iced coffee products we’ve developed at Blue Donkey have become very popular in the last few years. We have many flavors, including almond, raspberry, pumpkin, espresso, among others. We’ve also developed iced coffees without sugar, like Blue Donkey light.
Here’s the Blue Donkey iced coffee story in a nutshell, from their website: Blue Donkey’s product is composed of three ingredients: coffee, milk and natural cane sugar. The family-owned business prides itself on producing the first all-natural iced coffee drink bottled in Georgia. By sourcing ingredients from a family-owned Georgia dairy and roasting the carefully selected Arabica coffee bean themselves, Blue Donkey has produced a unique iced coffee drink that has garnered a loyal following from the local food markets crowd.
[Note: my favorite of the iced coffees is the imaginatively-named Tear Jerker, for folks who REALLY need a pick-me-up…]
Do you know how to cook? Yes
What is your favorite thing to cook/eat? A Brazilian barbeque, churrasco. [A type of grilled meat which originated in southern Brazil]
If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, for 2-4 weeks, all expenses paid, where would you go and why? I would love to see the Rocky Mountains, specifically Montana and Wyoming.
Who do you love the most in the world? My wife Lynn; we’ve been married 34 years.
What question has nobody ever asked you, but you wanted to answer? My favorite coffees are the Brazilian – very mild, sweet coffee, and the Ethiopian which is a robust and rich brew.
below, Ed and his wife, Ed's son, the Blue Donkey logo