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DR Wakefield – October 2015 Newsletter

Where we’re going, where we’ve been and where we are right now

Where have we been? Well, we ventured into our own back garden for beers, beans and a cracking BBQ on September 17. Thanks for everyone who made it down and experienced the sterling grillmanship of Will, not to mention the awesome Brazilian coffees we cupped from Mantiqueria de Minas. Great day. We’ll do it again next year for sure.

After the grand opening of our new Eastern European warehouse last month, Will and MT have headed even further east to say приветствие to the Moscow Coffee & Tea Expo which runs from today to the 8th. We’re looking forward to seeing what gems they return with.

On October 14 we’ll be hosting a Swiss Water Decaf (SWD) roasting presentation by David Kastle, VP of trading at SWD, explaining how to get the best out of their decaf beans. The talk will kick off at 2pm and we’ll be holding a Q & A session afterwards. Drop us a line at trade@drwakefield.com if you fancy joining.

Coffees to get excited about:

Malawi AB Phoka Co-operative – Want to add a little spice into your range? This unique coffee has a rich body, moderate acidity with cocoa and spicy flavour notes. It’s been a favourite on our Espresso machine all week.

Brazil Paraiso Estate – Priscilla and Simon visited the Paraiso Estate in August and this season’s crop is amazing: a lovely creamy body with hazelnuts and a twinge of citrus. The quality of Paraiso continues to get better and better.

Colombia Excelso Organic – Creamy hazelnuts with a super sweet and juicy finish with undertones of grapefruit throughout: this is perfect for espresso or filter. Arriving towards the end of the year, the perfect festive brew.

New Arrivals:

Ethiopia Guji Grade 2 – This coffee almost exploded from our cupping table this week – one of the best we’ve had all year. It is phenomenally juicy exhibiting blackcurrant and tangerine flavour notes with a sweet caramel finish –  perfect for that mid afternoon pourover.

Papua New Guinea Elimbari A – The exotic flavours of this coffee match its exotic origin. With papaya and mango in abundance; this is the type of coffee that will convert any cynic on the possibilities and wide range of flavours one can get in coffee.

Peru Grade 1 Triple Certified – Passion fruit – and tonnes of it. This surprising, lively and exquisite coffee jumped out at us on the cupping table and we can still taste its fruit flavours now. Make sure you don’t miss it, there are only 5 bags left!

World Coffee Day

We don’t have to tell you it was World Coffee Day on October 1, the first annual celebration of the planet’s favourite hot brew (or was is Sept 29?). Either way, hope you all celebrated in suitable style. While we’re always dubious about the increasing number of ‘important’ days in the calendar (don’t forget today is ‘Name Your Car Day’ readers) there’s little doubt that coffee is more deserving of its own day than most.

We particularly liked the fact that a lot of brands, roasters and traders used the day as an opportunity to educate people about better farming practices and sustainable production. At risk of sounding mawkish, the thing we love about coffee is the relationships we’ve built through it; there’s a real sense of community that you simply don’t get with other industries and we love working with our suppliers and customers in equal measure. On that note, if you ever want to come and meet us, we’re always up for a cupping session, get in touch. And come play ping pong with us.

We need another Brazil

Global coffee consumption will increase by a third to 200 million bags by 2030 and, globally, we’re not producing enough to handle the demand. Low prices and exchange rates are dissuading growers from growing coffee, while climate change is impacting heavily on production. Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of coffee, is still recovering from the 2014’s droughts, while farms across South and Central America are facing huge potential problems unless they adapt. As study in May this year by International Center for Tropical Agriculture suggested producing areas may need to shift from Central America to the Asia-Pacific region or eastern parts of Africa, where crops can be grown at higher altitudes.

Despite increasing consumption, green bean sales are actually down currently, as the trend for fresh coffee grows and more people move away from instant. The reason? Less waste. While around 20% of beans are wasted in the production of fresh coffee, the rate is around 40% for instant. But the drop in waste by no means makes up for the potential deficit – estimated at 3.5 million bags from 2015-2016.

Silicon coffee

In an industry not necessarily renowned for its technological prowess or progress, the coffee scene is ripe for innovation from techie boffins (or whatever they’re called these days), not just in coffee shops, but more at the source. In Ethiopia, for instance, traceability has become muddled and confusing following the establishment of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) in 2008. The centralisation of coffee production has made it more difficult to maintain relationships directly with farmers, making it harder to source quality coffees. 

The ECX is finally listening and has enlisted the services of tech firm Frequentz to implement a supply chain traceability solution meaning coffees from the country will each be given a serial number or barcode which will track the beans from plant to the roaster. 

That’s us done for another week.

We’ll catch up with you next month.