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A Brazilian coffee showcase: DR Wakefield’s latest cupping event

DR Wakefield hosts regular cupping events, at which roasters are invited to our London offices to sample some of the coffee market's latest offerings. One such session took place on Wednesday September 24th, following a brief hiatus, making it a highly-anticipated occasion. For those considering attending one of our cupping events in the future, our coffee trader Priscilla Daniel, who helped to organise the session, has provided an insight into what happened on the day. Visit to origin The main focus of the event was to showcase the coffees sourced during Priscilla's recent trip to the origin of Brazil to roasters based throughout the UK – although one travelled to DR Wakefield's offices for the occasion all the way from Lyon in France! Priscilla went to South America at the end of July, returning to the UK in early August. As Brazil is the world's largest coffee-producing country, harvesting in the region of 50 million bags of beans annually, this was an exciting opportunity for DR Wakefield to get its hands on some of its best-quality coffee. In her field trip report published upon her return, Priscilla explained: "The overall quality is higher than last season, where I discovered some incredible flavours out of some coffee cupped more like East African or Central coffees. "The time when Brazil was led by volume is over and now, a new specialty range of coffee led by quality is reborn. "The challenge is to make our roasters aware of these new trends and forget about the Brazil [aspect of the coffee] as just a commercial quality." With this in mind, DR Wakefield couldn't wait to show off the coffees it had sourced during the trip to its roasters. Priscilla explained that with Brazil's coffee harvest set to be shipped out over the coming weeks and months, and an auction led by Daterra of the special masterpiece coffees taking place on December 2nd, this was the perfect opportunity for roasters to get an idea of what they might like to sell on to their customers. The cupping session As the 30 or so attendees arrived to our offices on the day, they were greeted in true DR Wakefield fashion – with a cup of coffee. Priscilla explained: "We made a cold brew with one of the cups we are promoting, sourced from an estate in Brazil that we've been working with for the last ten years." Then, the guests were shown a video featuring highlights from Priscilla's trip to Brazil, before she carried out a presentation explaining what would be showcased on the day. With the turnout for the event much higher than expected, the roasters were split into two groups for the cupping session, in which they had the opportunity to taste a variety of beans, that had been roasted beforehand and ground just before testing. The attendees then sniffed and slurped the different types of coffee – which Priscilla explained included natural, pulped natural, yellow bourbon, yellow Catuai, laurinas and icatu varieties – to assess their aroma, acidity, sweetness, body, flavour and aftertaste. Cupping also provides an opportunity for any defects in a batch to be identified. Priscilla added: "The event was all about showcasing specialty coffee. This time, we had coffee from single, smaller holders which work with a cooperative in Carmo de Minas and belong to the Geographical Indication of Mantiqueira de Minas, which guarantees a minimum quality of coffee." Altogether, around 20 different coffees were available for cupping at the event, showcasing a wide variety of beans sourced during Priscilla's trip to Brazil, which involved her visiting larger bean plantations, as well as smallholder-run micro lots. Priscilla concluded that the event was a success, adding that she hoped another will take place within the next few months, as not only do the sessions allow our roasters to assess new coffees, but also provide them with the chance to socialise with others in the industry, building strong relationships centred around a love of coffee.