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Celebrating 50 years of relationships

1970

DRWakefield was formed in January 1970 after Derrick Wakefield saw an opportunity when his role at Tetley was relocated outside of London.

Originally a tight-knit team of three including his wife Sylvia, they handled everything from trading and quality through to logistics and accounts from their office at London Bridge.

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1971

Coffee is being purchased from Kenya and Papua New Guinea.

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1973

We move to our second office, number 6 Lloyds Avenue - in the heart of the City of London.
We start buying direct from Costa Rica.

1975

We sold tea from Argentina, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

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1979

We added Rwanda and Brazilians coffees to our range.

1981

Simon (Derrick’s son) commenced his commodity career. He joined the cocoa logistics desk of a commodity trader and progressed to the LIFFE trading floor. 

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1984

Simon (19) leaves his job to go to Papua New Guinea and work for Angco (an exporter) to learn all things coffee. 

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1985

Derrick establishes Rosemount Estate in the UK. 

1986

We move to larger premises on Mitre Street – just a few minutes away from Lloyds avenue.
Simon moves to Australia to learn all things wine, working at Rosemount. However, his passion for coffee is stronger, so he returns to the UK in October to join the business full time.

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Late 80’s - early 90’s

We start to focus more on traceability, quality and consistency of supply.
We now have over 100 customers.

1994

We are the first independent coffee importer to gain a Fairtrade™ licence, the first coffee is from Costa Rica.
First to gain a European Organic licence in the UK.

1995

Highland Organic Agriculture Cooperative (HOAC) became Fairtrade Certified™ an organisation who we started working with in 1971 and continue to work with today. 

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1997

We launch our first website and our first logo. 
New origins include Sumatra and Ethiopia.

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1998

We become pioneer members in creating the Speciality Coffee Association Europe.
Simon is on creation committee and first UK Coordinator and Board Director. 

1999

We started taking multiple customers to origin on coffee safaris, the first being Kenya. 

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2000

We became Swiss Water official UK agent.

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2003

We introduced Rainforest Alliance certification to the UK and are presented with the Rainforest Alliance’s prestigious “Corporate Green Globe Award”.

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2004

We become the exclusive UK partner for Daterra in Brazil.
The team of seven move into Thompson House, Southwark – our current home.

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2005

We become Utz Kaph certified – a sustainability program for coffee, cocoa and tea.

2007

Simon is interviewed for the docu film ‘Black Gold’ following Ethiopian Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union Manager as he travels the world to obtain a better price for his workers’ coffee beans.

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2008

We start to work with Cafe Feminino; focusing on helping women and their families in coffee communities. The first coffee was from Union Pro Agro in Peru.

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2009

Nick joins the business as part time FD and sets up the first accounts team.

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2012

The logo is revamped.
We establish further supply taking the number of origins to 25 and greater stock selection.

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2013

We set up Project 121, beginning in Honduras, with the aim of creating, promoting and providing direct channels between roasters and coffee farmers.
We start working with Cafe Granja La Esperanza

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2014

Project 121 is extended to Peru.
We exhibit for the first time at the London Coffee Festival.
We open distribution hub in Lithuania.

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2016

The team is now 16.
We update our quality control lab to SCA standards.
We take a sourcing trip to Myanmar and a cupping tour of Czech Republic.
We exhibit at the Vilnius Coffee Festival in Lithuania.

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2017

We are ranked 107 in the Sunday Times International Track.
We begin sending coffee grounds to Bio Bean to be made into fuel logs.
Nick becomes Managing Director and Simon becomes Chairman.

2018

The Quality Lab is certified by the SCA as a training campus.
We evolve our branding and the office.
Launch our annual roasting competition.
We hold our first Full Circle event bringing roasters and producers together.
We take a second cupping tour to Eastern Europe.
Priscilla and Phil are the first in the UK to pass the new Q Processing Generalist course.

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2019

Diana (our Head of Quality) is crowned UK Roasting Champion
The first Swiss Water ‘DRW Sourced collection’ arrives.
We receive 62 coffees for the 2nd year of our roasting competition
We establish DRWakefield (Europe) with an office in Lithuania and a warehouse in Dublin.

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2020

We are 50 years old.
The team grows to 22.
Sourcing over 1,000 coffees from 35 origins and trading across the globe.
We continue our mission to “do the right thing” and develop a sustainable, progressive and open approach to coffee; fostering strong relationships with roasters and producers.

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2021+

We will continue to expand our knowledge, expertise, relationships and look forward to what the future will bring.