Already renowned for cutting edge gastronomy, brewing and wine programs, the University of California Davis has launched a coffee center and pilot roastery in partnership with Peet’s Coffee, one of the pioneers of the West Coast’s craft coffee movement. According to Jennifer Sinclair Curtis, dean of the College of Engineering,“The Coffee Center will generate unparalleled teaching, research and collaborative opportunities for our students, scientists and engineers, as well as for industry partners and visitors from around the world.” 

With rockstar chemical engineer and food science techies leading the center, the bar has been set, and anticipation is running high to see the same kind of success cultivated with its wine and brewing programs. The Coffee Center builds upon Design of Coffee, developed by chemical engineers Bill Ristenpart and Tanya Kuhl. Voted the best course on campus in 2015, it has the highest enrollment of any elective class on offer, creating a passion for engineering through coffee amongst a divergent community of students. As the Coffee Center will be the first integrative university research center in the country and world devoted to post-harvest studies of coffee, the college is preparing to absorb the uptick in undergrads and graduate students excited about coffee science. The Coffee Center will also be joining forces with the Specialty Coffee Association of America , offering short term courses for industry professionals, as well as aiding support and structure to graduate research fellowships.

“In addition to offering opportunities for privately funded company research, public research released by the UC Davis Coffee Center will range from the microbiology of green coffee fermentation, to the chemistry of roasting and brewing, to sensory and consumer science. The center is the first step in establishing a Global Coffee Institute at UC Davis.
“This is an invitation to the entire coffee industry,” says Doug Welsh, vice president for coffee at Peet’s Coffee. “It is about opening the door, but also about setting the bar for all of us to learn more together and advance the industry. Given how fundamental it is to our lives, we should invest in an understanding of coffee as profound as our enjoyment.”