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Coffee and a Chat with Hannah Wakefield

We’re delighted to catch up with Hannah Wakefield, who has joined the company this week as part of the Trade team. Hannah is the third generation of the Wakefield family to become involved with DRWakefield, having also worked in the DRW Quality department in 2018.

When asked about the exciting news of Hannah’s decision to join the company, Simon Wakefield said “I’m both very proud and very pleased that Hannah has chosen to join the family business. When we visited to tell Mum and Dad face to face, he was overcome with emotion that DRWakefield is acquiring a third generation”.

We had a chat with Hannah in her first week to find out what she has been up to since her time working with QC, discuss what it’s like to rejoin the family business and talk about what she gets up to outside of the office.

Hi Hannah! Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I studied English Literature at Bristol, but moved to South London a couple of years ago. I’ve done a fair bit of travelling in Europe & Central America. I lived and studied abroad in Sweden & Czech Republic as part of my degree, and also spent a few months living and volunteering in Uganda back in 2016.

What made you decide to join the family business?

I’ve grown up hearing about the business, with the odd trip up to the office and even a few visits to coffee farms whilst on family holidays. But it wasn’t until I started working in the quality team back in 2018 that I really got my first proper taste of the company and the coffee industry. I absolutely loved it but left after 5 months to go travelling. Fast forward to 2020 / 2021 and the Coronavirus pandemic. Like with many people I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands to do some proper soul searching and to think about what was important to me and where my interests lay, the answer being family and coffee!

What has been your favourite experience in coffee to date? 

When I was travelling in 2019 I was able to join a DRW origin trip to Honduras with Henry, Thierry and a few customers. I’d been to a few farms as a child with my dad but this time I had an understanding of how coffee was grown and processed from my stint in the quality team. The trip brought everything I’d learnt back in London to life and was absolutely incredible. It was definitely part of what swayed me towards my decision to join the family business, and I am looking forward to hopefully going on more origin trips in the future. 

How does it feel to be part of the family business which has been around for over 50 years? 

It feels pretty surreal to be joining the business after having grown up around it my whole life! But also very special to be a part of something my grandad started so long ago and couldn’t have imagined that one day his granddaughter would one day be a part of. I know he’s very chuffed that I have joined the business, and I’m very excited to be following in his and my dad’s footstep!

Tell us a bit more about the role you will be starting in 

I’m starting as an assistant to the Trade team where I’m learning the ropes and getting trained up to become a trader myself. 

What area of the business are you most excited to learn about? 

It’s a bit of a boring answer, but honestly, there’s so much to learn I’m excited about everything! 

What do you think your biggest challenge will be? 

As I only started on Monday it’s a bit hard to say at the moment! I’m sure I’ll face a lot of different challenges, but hopefully getting on with the boss won’t be one!

Do you have any interests or hobbies that you like to do outside of work? 

Over the past year with the series of lockdowns in the UK, I, like the rest of London it would seem, took up running. I got really into it and am “training” for a half marathon in the autumn, although it must be said, the reopening of pubs & restaurants has really put a pause on this! Another lockdown hobby I’ve taken up has been gardening. I’m lucky enough that my flat has a small garden and so I’ve been growing a variety of vegetables, to varying degrees of success. The result of which is I’m now being overwhelmed by a bumper crop of courgettes but don’t have much else to put them with, so if anyone has any good courgette recipes, or is in need of some courgettes themselves, let me know!

I also love travelling, and before the pandemic tried to do so as much as possible. From studying abroad and longer stints backpacking I’ve made friends from all over the world, so would try and visit them where I could. With the pandemic, of course, I haven’t been able to go abroad, so instead have been making the most of visiting different spots in the UK.

How do you take your coffee?  

In this heat, with ice!  But normally I would either have a black filter coffee or a flat white, depending on what mood I’m in and where I’m getting the coffee! 

What’s your favourite origin and why? 

Ethiopia and Colombia, I developed a taste for them during my time in the quality team and have kept an eye out for coffee from these origins ever since.