Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Things got going right away after we each stuffed a piece of Dan- ish or fruit in our mouths and found seats in the small theater: World Coffee Research Communications Director Hanna Neuschwander kicked off the fi rst full day with a fascinating presentation about the multi-location variety trials that the WCR has fi nally begun after years of preparation, negotiation, and not a little bit of perspiration. The trial is a long-term experimental relocation of 31 genetically pure varieties of coffee into 23 (soon to be 27) countries that have agreed to plant them in environments that match what the WCR has identifi ed as the six coffee-hospitable climate types. Tracking these varieties in their new and different homes—recording growth rate, yield, rust and drought resistance, and so on—will help both WCR and individual countries' national coffee institutions to make informed decisions about what plants are best shared, distributed, and encouraged in each place. We then tasted coffees from two dif- ferent trial sites to see whether nature (i.e., genetics) or nurture (i.e., terroir) have impact on coffee profi le: two genetically identical Gesha coffees, one grown in Ethiopia and one in California; and a Caturra that was grown on that same California farm. After a brief coffee break and stretch-your-legs, we were right back in the theater for the second session in the day's programming: "The Science of Coffee Freshness," presented by Professor Chahan Yeretzian, head of the Coffee Excellence Center at the Zurich Univer- sity of Applied Sciences. Prof. Yeretzian outlined the diffi culty of qual- ifying freshness due to the diffi culty that exists in quantifying it: How do we "measure" freshness, exactly? He examined a few possible units of this measure, such as the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that are released from the beans after roasting, and the amount of CO 2 gas expelled over time as well. "Coffee is intrinsically not stable," he said as he worked through the possible tools and readings, and offered the statistically staggering fact that "when you grind fresh-roasted coffee, you lose 60 to 70 per- cent of the aroma compounds during the process of grinding alone." (Jaws dropped.) The best thing about many of the presentations over the two days— including this one—was that they raised at least as many questions as they sought to answer, which inspired lots of pencil-scribbling in notebooks and animated conversations during the coffee breaks. You could practically see the gears of invention and thought turning around the room. Lunch was a welcome break to discuss what we'd learned in greater detail, and afterward we walked back to our seats and braced for more game-changing and thought-changing classes. Next up was "New Frontiers in Coffee Sensory Research: Physical and Sensory Measures of Coffee Brewing," led by Coffee Center graduate student researcher Mackenzie Batali, and Coffee Center Director William Ristenpart, who is also a professor of chemical engineering at the university. Mackenzie and Prof. Ristenpart spoke about some of the research and analysis they've done on the Presenters over the course of the weekend included World Coff ee Research Communications Director Hanna Neuschwander, who shared information about a multi-location variety trial that WCR has employed in 23—soon to be 27—coff ee- growing countries around the world.

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