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Coffee and a Chat with Priscilla, Senior Trader

This month we spent time getting to know our very own Priscilla. Borm in Nantes, France, she has been with DRW since 2010 before which spent time living in Colorado, New York and Costa Rica.

Tell us about your role and long you’ve worked at DRW?

I am a Senior Coffee Trader and have been working at DR Wakefield for the past 10 years!

What does a typical day look like…

Nothing is typical. every day is different and that is why it makes the job exciting and challenging at the same time. But here’s a bit of a taster… I always start my morning with a cup of coffee reading various coffee reports (technical on NYC and Liffe future, origin focus and forex). I will then read my emails, check our stock and future positions as well as answering phone calls.

In the morning, I am usually more focused on Asia Pacific and African customers and suppliers. In the afternoon I will work with Central and South America suppliers and my main customers. Apart from Covid time, I cup coffees 2-3 times per day to evaluate offers as well as preship or landed samples, alongside with the Quality Team.

For the past year, it has been quite different since working at home and I do miss the interaction with the whole team. We do replace cupping by reading reports from our Quality Team and we sometimes go to the office to keep our palette trained ????.

Since we cannot travel yet, phone calls, zooms meetings and webinars are how we get in touch with each other internally with of course a few cuppings taking place to keep the coffee connections.

What inspired you to become a coffee trader?    

My experience in Costa Rica with a coffee exporter “Café Coop R.L” managed at the time by Sebastien Lafaye.

I discovered the complexity and all the different aspects of “COFFEE AT ORIGIN”.  From growing the plant, processing, milling and exporting. All of it required knowledges in agronomy, organoleptic properties, logistics, sciences of roasting, chemistry of brewing. Of course, we had to trade and market each of these qualities under commercial or specialty range. I was impressed on how the job of trading coffee has an impact on the grower’s life, local economy and biodiversity. I can also state that Costa Rica as coffee growing origin is in my view one of the most sustainable thanks to Icafe and the government involvement in the industry.

It was from this experience that I had the idea to become a coffee trader or a green coffee buyer, but for an ethical company where I could guarantee that everyone in the chain benefits from the grower to the roasters. Trading a coffee by paying farmers at the right price for the “quality” allowing roasters to build his coffee range to get the best for their customers.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Trading with our partners from all over the world. Customers from Australia, South Africa, Europe and suppliers in Asia, South America, Africa. Understanding challenges but also opportunities on both sides of the supply chain. My role has so many different parts, which is part of the attraction.

  • To make the coffee unknown, known, that is the most important thing!
  • To create a demand to ensure coffee finds the right place and its own value.
  • To source new coffees, working on new projects along with our partners at origin and finding new coffee and projects for our roasters.
  • Cupping and marketing coffees to our customers who will make their best to please final consumers.
  • Being part of the journey of a product from the tree to the cup.

What have been your biggest learnings over the last year?

I should say that I had to learn to communicate differently with DRWakefield internally. Instead of our instant communication in the office and our open desk environment, I learnt more how to work more on a virtual environment and keep the interactivity needed between traders.

Share a bit about your life pre DRW

Depending how far you want to go back and what you want to know about my life ???? you can just go on my LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook to know more about me. However, you’ll not find much as I am quite passive on social media. I’m graduated from La Rochelle Business School in France with a Master in Economics and Finance. I spent 2 ½ years abroad where I studied for a year in Colorado, USA, 6 months working for SipaPress agency in NYC, USA. I finished my international experience in Costa Rica where I worked with CafeCoop R.L and fell in love with the coffee industry. After being graduated in France, I worked in Paris for 2 and a half years in the E-commerce industry as a Buyer for “Brandalley” and then Head of European  E-commerce for a fashion brand “Ed Hardy”..

I always had coffee in my mind and wanted to have more meaning in my career. My two main goals were:

To work in an industry where you have many hats in the job. Always learning the overall part of what I do.

Be in an ethical business that sources transparently and where sustainability is achievable and could be reinforced year after year. And so I joined DRWakefield in London in October 2010.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at DRW?

As a child, of dreamt of being a ballet dancer or dolphinologist. As a teenager a photographer or ethnologist. Then as a young adult a travel critic / blogger or working for a coffee export or import business ????

Do you have any hobbies?

Learning piano, dancing, running, yoga and acting. I have also developed the following interests as a mum – positive education, NVC, reiki energy, naturopathy and wellbeing. And last, but not least travelling!

What’s been keeping you grounded?

Every day I thank the world for the chance I have. I’m lucky to have a loved family with a healthy little boy. Thinking that life is what you want to make out of it. In summary: my family, friends and running my personal projects.

Where did you grow up? 

Nantes in Brittany, France where the famous writer Jules Vernes was born.  I recommend visiting this city in summer when there is the festival event “Le voyage a Nantes” when culture and art diversity are spread throughout the city and its surroundings.

And where do you live now?

I live for the past five years in west London, in the lovely Chiswick neighbourhood.

What’s your favourite thing about living where you do? 

There are many parks closed to my home, I’m only a 10min walk from Kew Gardens, 5 min for Chiswick House Garden, 2 mins from strand on the green path on the Thames. There is a real sense of community with our neighbours. I feel like I’m living in the countryside but I am still in London. A great balance especially when you live in a capital with a kid.

Do you have any local tips? Maybe there’s a hidden gem you’d like to share?

Chiswick market every Sunday where I can find great local produce including Chiswick Limoncello! Charming Gastro pubs such as Duke of Wellington or City barge on the Thames where you can eat outside – a super tasty Sunday roast or Chicken Kiev. Chiswick House & Gardens. Paddle boarding and kayaking on the Thames. But I can say since I am a mother, there are plenty of playgrounds close to where I live too.

 Where do head if you have time off? 

Always a new place in Europe, either to meet my friends, or to discover new cities, beaches, mountains, countryside. I love travelling, meeting new people and discovering new cultures.

Are you reading anything you’d like to recommend? 

“Big Magic” – Be on your creativity and keep it! And « Pour une enfance heureuse » – Goodwill and positive education based on the latest neuroscience studies.

 What’s the best film you’ve seen this year?

J’accuse – Roman Polanski and La Belle Epoque – Nicolas Bedos

Do you have a mantra you live by?

Many mantras again depending on different moments in life.

Except nothing appreciate everything. You were born to be real, not to be perfect. Live. Protect. Respect.

And finally, how do you take your coffee?

V60 or French Press depending on my mood and which coffee I drink. Every morning I have a ritual with my little boy who is nearly two and already loves grinding the beans to the last step which is pouring the water.