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Coffee and a Chat with Thierry Akroman, DRW Quality Manager

Thierry Akroman is responsible for cupping every coffee that DRWakefield deals with!

He joined us in 2015 as a part of the Quality team.

Today he is an integral member of our team and has now been the quality manager for 7 years.

Thierry cupping coffee

Hi Thierry,

What is a typical day like for you in the lab?

Assessing coffees’ flavour profile and overall quality is a rigorous, time-consuming process, but an essential part of the coffee trade. I first roast the coffee, then perform multiple quality measures like grading, measuring moisture content and cupping the coffee to ensure that our clients are getting precisely what they’ve ordered and that our suppliers meet our high-quality standards.

What has been your journey in coffee and what were you doing before you joined DRWakefield?

I have been in the coffee industry for 16 years. I began my coffee journey with Twin Trading, dealing with the coffee aspect of a Rwanda project. I later moved into the quality team at Cafedirect and was responsible for the quality of their Coffee and Cocoa

Is there an element about your role that you enjoy the most?

What I enjoy the most is welcoming our customers to our lab and cupping coffee with them. I also enjoy communicating with shippers regarding coffee arrivals.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

The only I advice I would give someone looking towards a similar journey would be to be patient, prioritise learning and not take anything for granted.

What are the biggest changes in coffee you’ve seen over the years?

The biggest changes that I’ve noticed in coffee over the years are mainly to do with the processing methods. We used to mainly focus on natural and washed arabicas but over the years through innovation, there are more methods now like anaerobic, yeast fermentation, carbonic maceration and with a growing robusta market, we cup that too! More sophisticated notes to the flavour profiles as well as the evolution of different brewing methods has made a positive impact on customers perception of coffee further growing the specialty coffee market.

Do you have any favourite DRW coffees that you’re enjoying at the moment?

That would definitely be the Natural Sweet Valley from Café Granja La Esperanza, Colombia. The cherry for the sweet valley is fermented for 15 hours at a controlled temperature before being moved to a dehumidifier for another 72 hours until fully dried. This makes for great flavour and sweet notes that I enjoy in my cup of coffee.

What do you do when you’re not working in coffee? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?

Outside of coffee, I spend time with my family and my interests mainly lie in watching sports such as football and tennis.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in Abidjan, a city on the southern Atlantic coast of Côte d’Ivoire, in West Africa. Now I live in London.

Are you reading or listening to anything interesting at the moment?

At the moment, my daughter just turned one so I am not currently reading or listening to anything.

Do you have a mantra you live by?

The mantra I live by is having a humble approach to life.

How do you take your coffee?

I usually take it black but not exclusively!