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DR Wakefield – March 2016 Newsletter

Welcome to DR Wakefield’s March 2016 newsletter. With various trips in the pipeline and some seriously impressive new coffees arriving, we’re confident that this month will be a good one! 

DR Wakefield: Where we’re going, and where we’ve been…

We know we gave it a plug in last month’s newsletter, but we’re doing the same again…because we’re excited! Not long to go now until the London Coffee Festival, and we’re currently putting the final touches to our programme for this year. We’ll reveal it in due course…

In other news, Santi is preparing for his trip to Central America this month: he’ll be spending time in both Honduras and Guatemala. We’ll share his experiences on the blog when he returns…

New arrivals:

Brazil Fazenda Aracacu Natural

This third generation farm is owned by Carmen and her sisters, although Carmen is the most actively involved in the running of the estate. A psychologist by trade, she considers coffee plants as humans and treats them accordingly – probably why they produce such great beans! Each variety is processed separately, before being carefully blended to create a wonderfully complex cup full of sugar cane sweetness.

Colombia Las Acacias Estate RFA Certified

Antioquia is a region of Colombia that continues to produce top quality coffee. This single estate, located in the ‘La Linda’ community in Antioquia, is full of ripe red cherries and caramel. With its silky and syrupy body, it works perfectly for espresso and is equally good as a juicy filter option. With a body this good, we daresay it may work just as well as a cough medicine! 

Peru Café Femenino Fairtrade, Organic & Bird Friendly

It’s always a pleasure to cup Café Femenino coffee from the Cecanor Co-operative, and this special shade-grown lot is also certified by the Smithsonian Institute as bird-friendly. We love this project, and we love their coffee: creamy cocoa powder and chocolate-covered hazelnuts with hints of citrus to liven it up make this delicate and eco-friendly coffee a winner in our eyes.

Coffees to get excited about:

Nicaragua Rancho Alegre Single Estate

This single estate Nicaragua blew our minds on the cupping table. We had high expectations before the samples arrived, but weren’t expecting such lofty levels of complexity and sweetness in the coffee. Blackcurrants and floral notes abound, with a sweet maple syrup finish. Great for espresso, pour-over, cold brew or filter – in fact, just about any extraction method you want to choose. This is certainly a spring winner.

Ethiopia Bench Maji Natural

We’re proud of Bench Maji and how they strive to preserve heirloom varietals that are under threat from the more fashionable varieties, such as Geisha, being replanted in Ethiopia. Bringing this coffee into the UK makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and with a cup that is packed full of ripe British strawberries, Cornish clotted cream and caramel, we’re already thinking about summer. Find out more about this special coffee here. 

El Salvador Jasal El Molinito Estate RFA Certified

One of the original farms of the Salaverria family, this farm has been at the centre of the Jasals’ approach to quality and sustainability for years. Situated in the heart of the Apaneca Ilamatepec mountain range, this estate produces a fantastic coffee which is perfect for espresso. Full-bodied with caramel sweetness and hints of fruit, this coffee is a must for any roaster’s inventory. It’s RFA-certified too, so you can follow the frog with it! 

Water shortage to hit Vietnamese robusta crop

The Vietnamese Coffee and Cocoa Association has warned that predicted dry weather in May and June in the central highlands of Vietnam will affect the country’s robusta crop this year.

Forecasts suggest a drop in river levels of 60-80% between January and April this year, and of 30-50% from May to June. While the Association has not yet forecasted the potential crop losses for this harvest, there remains plenty of robusta stock in Vietnam: farmers have been holding on to their robusta stock, waiting for higher prices, meaning that any shortfall in this harvest should hopefully be covered.

Indian coffee exports down in revenue, but up in volume

Data from the Indian Coffee Board has revealed that green bean coffee exports between January 1st and February 19th 2016 have shown volume growth on the previous year – a figure of 30,100 tonnes this year compared with 23,930 tonnes in the same period in 2015. 

With the rupee depreciating against the dollar, however, many buyers are trying to renegotiate their contracts. This means that this year’s prices, to date, are lower than those of last year: 6,000 rupees a bag for washed robustas, compared with 6,500 in the same period last year, and a maximum of 2,850 for arabica, compared with last year’s figure of 3,000 rupees.

New “Hot Coffees” BBQ coal created from waste coffee grounds

Waste coffee is being used to create all manner of items, from furniture to coffee cups. Now, a company based in Cambridgeshire has launched a brand new recycled product, using waste coffee grounds to create barbecue fuel.

Hot Coffees are coals fashioned by refining, agitating and drying coffee grounds. The oil is removed, and the remains of the grounds are pressed into barbecue coals. Expected to be on sale at petrol station forecourts later this year, Hot Coffees will apparently reach the perfect temperature for cooking even faster than charcoal. Sadly, though, the inventor says that there is no real discernible coffee smell…

 Students choosing coffee shops over bars

New research suggests that today’s students are a very different breed to those of the past. The NUS have released figures that show that both packaged and draught beer sales have fallen in student unions across the UK – while coffee sales have risen by 11% in the last 12 months.

A survey conducted by YouthSight and the NUS asked students to name the most useful services that their student union provides – and while 43% cited cafés, only 37% named the union bar as the most useful service for them.

Coffee shops and cafés were also named as the most used service (87%), while only 74% use their student union bar.

New device prints images onto coffee froth

Could the Ripple Maker be set to make waves? This new product, created by a pair of industrial designers from Israel, personalises the coffee drinking experience by printing the drinker’s choice of photo, logo or message onto their coffee froth. 

The device connects to the internet and is Wi-Fi enabled, using coffee extracts to print any message or image from a computer file onto the top of the coffee froth. It’s currently being used by airlines, specialty coffee shops, restaurants and more – and these businesses don’t charge extra to their customers, instead seeing it as an engaging enhancement to their existing offering. 

European Coffee Trip team visit DRW

We recently announced our sponsorship of online specialty coffee magazine, European Coffee Trip, and we had the honour of hosting Ales and Radek in our London offices over Christmas. You can read about the day experience here or check out the video below…