Founded in London in 1970, DRWakefield was founded by Derrick Wakefield, father of the current owner Simon Wakefield. Derrick wanted to supply both specialist and regular grade coffees to the UK trade, small private roasters and large multinational companies alike and build strong relationships to understand their needs. We still live by this philosophy today, providing our customers across the globe, with the right coffee for their needs from our London and Vilnius offices and European warehouses. We are still independently owned and financed.
Experience and expertise
We know and love coffee! Many of us have lived at origin, and worked in coffee for many years, it becomes a lifestyle as much as a job. We also embrace learning and gaining new skills; as much experience as we have there is always room to learn more.
We have long-standing relationships with producers in origin and these have been cultivated for many years. We take regular trips to visit them and have worked with some since they began. Traceability is important to us, and our relationships with suppliers enable us to have full traceability – our open policy develops a sense of loyalty throughout the supply chain. See our page on social responsibility to read more, and click here to read our field trip reports.
We cup at origin, pre-ship approvals and landed samples, as well as regular redraw samples from our warehouse to check on the quality. We have six qualified Q-graders operate in both the Quality and Trading teams who are dedicated to establishing the quality of the coffee we buy matches what is delivered. For a more detailed look inside our quality department controls and procedures click here.
In order to help create a more sustainable coffee industry all three pillars of sustainability must be considered; economic, social and environmental.
We pay fair prices for the coffee we buy, and source from the same producers year after year to provide them with a regular income they can rely on. We also work with them to improve their coffee quality and standards. They can then invest into improving coffee production and in their family and communities.
We help our customers build up their businesses, using our industry knowledge and coffee expertise to advise on the coffee that suits their business.
We use renewable and ethical products in our office whenever possible, like our bio-degradable pens, our business cards made from recycled t-shirts, our ethically produced tote bags…the list goes on.
In 1994, we were the first independent coffee importer in our sector to actively fight for a Fairtrade licence and the first to gain a European Organic licence. In 2003 we were presented with the Rainforest Alliance’s prestigious “Corporate Green Globe Award” for introducing and promoting their programme into the UK.
We started ‘Project 121’ in Honduras, then extended it into Peru and Colombia. This project links up the farmer with the roaster, building a relationship between the two and is mutually beneficial – the farmer gets a guaranteed income for at least two years, the roaster gets maximum traceability.
We embrace change and keep on top of the latest trends in the industry, in 2018 Priscilla and Phil became some of the first people in Europe to pass the Coffee Quality Institute’s Q Processing course and the team have a whole host of other certificates between them.
We have warehouses in the UK, Republic of Ireland and mainland Europe. Our committed team makes sure your coffee reaches you in the best condition possible.