What it’s really like to be a professional coffee buyer (and taster!)

Posted by
Hannah Keegan
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Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Meet Freda Yuan, who’s the green coffee buyer at Caravan Coffee Roasters.

Yuan, 33, lives in north-east London. Here, she talks us through her daily diary.

My alarm goes off…

At 5am. I get up and go for
 a 20-minute run along the canal next to my flat. Then I shower 
and get dressed. Since I’m handling coffee all day, I wear black to avoid stains, usually Topshop jeans and a Caravan branded T-shirt. I make a smoothie with banana, protein powder, oat milk and berries for breakfast. 
I leave the house at 7.15am 
to get the Tube to work.

I’m responsible for…

Controlling the quality of our roasted coffee and buying in green coffee, which means in its raw, unroasted form: the bean is literally green. I’m involved with everything from travelling to buy the coffee from the farmers to refining 
its taste in the roasting lab. It’s my job to make sure we translate the coffee’s unique heritage, which we call its terroir. 

” I say hello to the roasters, pick up the batches of roasted coffee and head to my lab”

My most memorable work moment…

Was winning the UK Cup Tasters Championship in 2017 and then again this year, making me third in the world. It felt f*cking awesome. It helped me to believe in myself. 

The worst part of my job…

Is too much caffeine! 

The best part of my job…

Is the variety of people I meet. I’m involved with everyone from the farmers to the consumers. 

After work…

I relax on my balcony overlooking the canal. Then I’ll make dinner, perhaps a lentil soup, and watch some TV (right now I’m enjoying Suits). Before bed, I do a guided meditation and perform reiki on myself to relax. I’m asleep by 10pm. 

My Plan B: Flight Attendant 

I’ve always loved travelling around the world and it was my dream to become a flight attendant when I was younger. So, if I wasn’t globetrotting to buy coffee, then I’d probably be working for an airline somewhere doing that. 

Images: Gemma Day