Always close to coffee

Adorned with a new brand identity, DRWakefield continued to grow both in size and in turnover in the past year, expanding its capacity and concentrating on ensuring its sustainability

Today’s world can justifiably be defined as one in which everyone has become obsessed with information. This claim is particularly pertinent to the food and beverages industry, where consumers are increasingly showing an interest in the provenance of certain products and their characteristics. Unsurprisingly, coffee lovers are not an exception. Simon Wakefield, Chairman of DRWakefield, observes: “Buyers continually ask for more information about where their coffee has been grown, who has grown it, and the general stories behind the coffee.”

Fortunately, DRWakefield has in its DNA this very same infatuation with coffee origin and properties that has driven the merchant for almost 50 years in its attempts to provide every individual client with the right coffee. Boasting extensive knowledge and, more importantly, invaluable first-hand experience gained by visiting, and sometimes having lived in producing countries, the company’s team rightfully regard themselves as real coffee people.

Closely related to the heightened interest in the technical details of a product, is the hot topic of sustainability, as businesses are beginning to pay more attention to maximising efficiency in their operations. “We use a lot of coffee grinds in our quality department and recycle them with bio-bean who manufacture a range of biofuels from waste coffee grounds. We also source many of our own materials from sustainable sources as we can. For example, our business cards are made from 100 per cent recycled t-shirts, our notebooks are printed on paper from sustainable forests, and the pens we use are bio-degradable.

“Over the years, we have also established long-standing relationships with farmers all over the world. Working with the same people for years makes it much easier for both parties to collaborate in producing the best quality cup of coffee, and it is more sustainable for the producer to have a reliable regular income. The mutual trust we have built facilitates the open communication we hold and enables us to clearly mediate what a customer wants, thus helping the producer understand what exactly is expected of them,” Simon discusses.

Growth trajectory
Earlier in 2018, DRWakefield underwent a rebrand, changing its logo to better reflect the company’s philosophy. “Our logo is primarily based on the coffee flavour wheel, the characters in the industry, the people, the climate, the range of coffees and so forth. Additionally, it also looks a bit like a cog, which signifies the link we provide between the producers and customers, making the mechanism tick,” he analyses.

Firmly on a growth trajectory in the past few years, the business has grown again in size, in the past 12 months, recruiting new people to its marketing, logistics, and accounts departments as well as hiring Nick Thompson as Managing Director. Appointing Nick Thompson as Managing Director to take care of daily business, strategy and people, gives time for Simon to get more involved with customers and the coffee. It has always been a source of pride for DRWakefield that its profile is shaped by young and dynamic individuals, capable of energising the atmosphere and contributing fresh ideas that take advantage of the technological advancements of the day. Simon comments: “We have taken to strengthening our marketing department, as we intend to focus on expanding our social media presence and developing digital marketing strategies that will help us move closer to current and potential customers and enhance our brand identity.”

One of the benefits of working with young people is their insatiable desire to learn and build an expertise in their chosen field. This being said, it seems all too clear that DRWakefield has assembled a conscientious team of motivated professionals, hungry to develop their knowledge. How would we otherwise explain the remarkable milestone two of its employees – Priscilla and Phil, achieved in late June, when they became two of the first people in Europe to pass the SCA Q Processing course? Focusing on standardising vocabulary around coffee processing and describing the scientific fundamentals behind good quality processing practices, this level also analyses and interprets certain myths about processing. Both Priscilla and Phil agreed that what they learned will be of use in their everyday work and is a great addition to the Q grading qualifications they and three other members of the team already have.

Ideas exchange
“In addition, we are now an SCA Premier Training Campus, having received the certification last month. This is a fantastic confirmation that our activities are all performed ‘by the book’, and that we undertake our work within a set of measurable, reliable standards. It also means that we can rent our space out to people who want to do training courses in sensory skills development, green coffee and Q grading. Furthermore, we plan to run our own courses here, too,” Simon adds. This year, DRWakefield also hosted its first Full Circle event, which brought producers together along with roasters for them to exchange ideas, learn innovative farming techniques from each other, and gain insights into coffee production. The gathering proved an immense success and the company is now looking to establish it as an annual event. Export accounts for a respectable portion of DRWakefield’s turnover and the continued growth in overseas sales achieved by the business has been impressive enough for it to be included on the Su day Times International Track 200 list for a second year in a row in the 2018 edition of the table. Currently, the company supplies 32 countries, including the USA, Australia, and Scandinavia, with its international revenue growth amounting to 41 per cent over the last two years.

“We are on track to register even better results this year and growing in Europe is certainly one of the top priorities for DRWakefield. We have a European warehouse and are planning to expand this offering, as well as opening a European office and attending a number of events on the continent where we can showcase our capabilities. It is an exciting period for us and we just need to continue doing what has made us so successful,” Simon concludes.