Ben Masino, Gaia Coffee

For great tasting coffee, the journey from bean to cup is unique, and one the Owner & Roaster of Gaia Coffee Co., knows intimately. Get to know the man behind the Lewes-based, small-batch roastery and mobile espresso bar. 

What does Gaia mean, anyway?

Gaia translates to Earth, Mother Earth, Mother Nature. For us, it refers to the Gaia hypothesis or theory that Earth is a self-regulating organism that helps to maintain and perpetuate life. We see this in the coffee supply chain by giving back to the producers. You help sustain their farms, land and coffee plants, which gives us, the consumer, better and better coffee with sustainability and lasting relationships in mind. 

How did you get into the coffee business?

In 2017, I took a trip to Costa Rica and ended up working on a coffee farm for about a month. Eventually, I bought their coffee, brought it back to the states and started roasting it. 

“I am able to meet my producers, shake their hands and then serve that coffee to the customer.”

What do you love about the flavors of the Costa Rican beans?

They have great citrus and caramel notes. Every time I have Costa Rican coffee, I’m transported back to that coffee farm.

What do you love most about your job?

What I love most is that I’m able to connect the producer and the customer. I am able to meet my producers, shake their hands and then serve that coffee to the customer. I think just being able to connect those dots between the person who grows our coffee to the person who is actually drinking it, we can make the giant supply chain more transparent, or just be able to make it shorter so people realize the work that goes into this small cup of coffee.

Where does the magic happen?

I currently roast out of my house in Lewes, but I am looking to buy a larger roasting facility. I also have a mobile espresso bar. I just did my first wedding event last month and it was perfect.

Where can people buy your product?

I am doing three farmers markets this year: The Rehoboth Beach Farmers Market on Tuesdays, the Historic Lewes Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Lewes Farmers Market on Wednesdays at Crooked Hammock Brewery.

Out of all your varieties, do you have a favorite?

Yes, I love the Don Eli. That’s the name of the coffee farm where I got my start. The tasting notes are vanilla and watermelon and it’s very velvety.  


  • Beach The Forgotten Mile
  • Lunch spot Frank & Louie’s
  • Happy hour Henlopen City Oyster House
  • Beach read Roast magazine
  • Ice cream spot King’s
  • Live music scene Rehoboth Beach Ale House.
  • Sunset spot The lighthouse in Dewey
Ben in his Lewes home.
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