One of the things I enjoy about my job is how much variety there is in my role – one day I could be having a chat with a farmer sitting in their home in Rwanda and the next I could be back at our roastery in Harrogate tasting a new blend of coffee. When you work in coffee and sustainability, no two days are the same.

A Day in the Life of on Female First

A Day in the Life of on Female First

In my role as the Sustainable Sourcing Manager at Taylors of Harrogate I focus on working closely with our coffee suppliers to develop long-term solutions to the pressing issues they face. From lack of healthcare to climate change, there are so many social, economic and environmental challenges facing tea and coffee growing communities.

At Taylors, we pride ourselves on our passion for delivering quality products and this passion also translates into the work our team do – we want to make sure that the people who grow our coffee have a good quality of life too.

I spend a lot of time travelling to the countries our coffee comes from, visiting our suppliers, farmers and their communities – from East-Africa through South-East Asia to Central and Latin-America – meeting and building relationships with people from all walks of life, learning about the day-to-day challenges they face as well as the aspirations and dreams they hold for themselves and their families.

When I’m at a coffee origin, my day tends to consist of visiting the coffee farms and surrounding communities, checking on live or completed projects, speaking to farmers and workers out in the field, having discussions with our suppliers on how to increase the impact of our investments and of course tasting some incredibly delicious coffees our growers are rightly proud of.

I feel lucky to be able to have conversations with so many remarkable people from around the world and building human connections is probably what I enjoy most about my job.

We have over 60 projects that we are continuously investing in across the world but we know we can’t do any of this on our own. Cliché or not, sustainability is truly a team effort – both internally within our business as well as within our broader industry - to create meaningful and lasting impact, you need to find a way to collaborate and to be willing to see the world through someone else’s perspective. This is why we partner with a variety of NGOs, participate and lead discussions at an industry level and beyond, help lobby governments when policy change is needed.

When I’m not traveling to coffee origins, I’m back home in Harrogate. On an office-based-day, I set my alarm for 5am. I’m one of those annoying ‘early birds’ who likes to rise with the sun – often going for a run before work or doing yoga or meditate by watching the sunrise from my terrace.

When I get into the office I’ll be speaking to our suppliers, NGOs or other industry partners thinking about how we can deliver more impact through the projects we are investing in, but another part of my role is also being on-hand to support the coffee buying team when needed with tasting new samples of coffees from the producers we work with. I’m a qualified Q grader which means that I have a widely recognised qualification when it comes to tasting coffee.

You have to complete some intense training to become a Q grader. The process involves passing around 20 exams and tasting hundreds of cups of coffee each day, in a process called cupping – many of my colleagues in the coffee buying team still taste around 250 cups per day. Thankfully they don’t ingest them all, we all like to sleep at night!

While I now only cup once or twice a week, having this qualification has proved hugely beneficial for me in my current sustainability-focused role. Having an in-depth understanding of the coffee quality and the market, its production process and flavour profiles means that when I’m speaking to our suppliers and producers, I’m speaking their ‘language of coffee’. This helps build trust and a common understanding around the foundations of sustainability.

Before I started working at Taylors over six years ago, I was doing my PhD focusing on researching sustainability issues and solutions in the coffee industry. While doing academic research inevitably makes one become more critical and, in some ways, ‘knowledgeable’ about certain issues, I feel that through the practical work I’ve been doing while working within the industry, I’ve become much more humbled by the complexity of sustainability issues our industry is facing.

My days in the office can be quite intense, but when I’m back at home I make sure I get outdoors as often as I can – I live close to the Yorkshire Dales so breathtakingly beautiful countryside is always on my doorstep. While watching sunset out on the hills is a great way to wind down – depending on the weather, of course – reading a book on the sofa at the end of a busy day often does the trick.

Taylors of Harrogate is a Yorkshire-based coffee company devoted to delivering downright decent coffee. The brand has six Q Graders in total, more than any other roaster in the UK. The coffee team regularly visits its suppliers, building strong relationships and supporting important projects that improve lives and livelihoods in their communities.

To find out more information about Taylors sustainability projects, visit:

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