Friday, August 26, 2016 marked a momentous day for us here at Mercanta. It was the day we bid ‘adieu’ to the inimitable Coffee Hunter, Raphael Prime. The occasion was both sad and happy, admittedly. As of August 29, 2016, Raphael Prime will be joining Dormans Coffee, based in Nairobi, Kenya, in the role of Specialty Coffee Trader. Rapha’s contributions to the Mercanta team over the past three years have been great, and his friendship (and cheeky wit!) is valued by staff and customers, alike. However, his move to Dormans’ Nairobi office (where he begins work on August 29th) will mean that he remains by our side and will have the opportunity to work with us, albeit in a new capacity!
Rapha’s last day coincided with our most recent Invitational Cupping Day, which was well-attended by our friends and clients from across Europe, many of
whom were pleased to take advantage of the opportunity to bid our friend ‘bon voyage’ and ‘bonne chance’. After three tables of diverse and excellent coffees, we finished the day with drinks and nibbles, with Stephen Hurst congratulating Raphael and wishing him the best of luck in his new role. The day finished off with drinks at Rapha’s favourite ‘Beer Boutique’ in Putney, with many friends dropping by to wish him well.
Raphael left his small hometown of Paris, France, ten years ago to live and study in Australia. He immediately fell straight into the rabbit hole of OZ specialty coffee and has since tunnelled around the world learning more about what the industry has to offer.
Soon after graduating with a degree in Business from Bond University and entering the professional world, he left his life Down Under to escape to Brazil. Most people would have bummed out on the beach: not our Rapha. Instead he spent 2 years under the hot Brazilian sun picking coffee cherries, green grading and cupping, cupping, cupping.
After certifying as a Q-Grader in the U.S he ran into the Mercanta team in Boston at 2013’s SCAA Event. Never one to hesitate when it comes to quality, Mercanta picked him up immediately and a few weeks later appointed him to the Seattle office.
Shortly after, the UK Office stole him away, as we decided the US office already had enough swagger of their own. During his time in the UK, he worked to reach out to roasters on the continent and helped oversee our sourcing in Rwanda and Tanzania for 2015 and 2016.
Mercanta and Raphael have been in conversation with Dormans since a crucial role in their Nairobi operation became vacant earlier this year. Raphael was ideally suited to the position, having widespread sourcing experience from time spent in Brazil before joining Mercanta and as a Coffee Hunter responsible for sourcing from East Africa, where he has traveled extensively. Raphael also had managed a number of our key roaster customer accounts and has a very skilled capacity as a coffee cupper, including participation on Cup of Excellence international juries.
These attributes will provide Dormans with an excellent human resource and will provide Mercanta with a friend and ally in a key producer region.
Mercanta wishes Raphael all the best in his new role, and we look forward to building an increasing presence in a key producer region. He has contributed a great deal to Mercanta over the years, both as a Coffee Hunter and an Account manager. He will be missed by our team, but our loss is Kenya’s gain!