Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2018

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ident of coffee, says the company was compelled to get involved to remedy the dearth of scientifi c information available about coffee, and they chose to support the roastery because of its foundational role in coffee research. "Before you can study any of the extraction, the fl avor development, or the freshness properties of coffee, you need to have roasted coffee," Doug says. "Most of the functions we'll study at the center need coffee, and the pilot roastery, to get started." An additional gift of $500,000 came from a group of Nicaragua-affi liated donors including Edwin Rizo, Rizo-Lo- pez Foods, Bencafe S.A. Nicara- gua, Mercon Coffee Corp, Café Soluble S.A., and Cisa Agro S.A. A space ded- icated to studying the biological and chemical degradation of green beans will be named the Nicaraguan Cof- fees Green Bean Storage Laboratory in honor of this gift. Edwin Rizo, a 1982 graduate of UC Davis, brought the donors together to fund the space. "I have personally supported this proj- ect because I am a fourth-generation coffee grower and a UCD alumnus. Those are my roots and this is my legacy," he shares. Another early supporter of the Coffee Center was coffee-brewing equipment manufacturer Wilbur Curtis Co., which in August 2017 pledged $250,000. Brant Curtis, Wilbur Curtis Co.'s director of com- munication and innovation, says that after a tour of the UC Davis cam- pus, he and his brother Patrick were excited for the potential they saw in what the Coffee Center might accomplish in exploring the science of coffee. "We really enjoyed their outdoor area at the building, and they shared their vision of having it be a multi-use space," says Brant of Curtis' decision to name the Coffee Center's outdoor event space with their gift. "Students could do homework there or just hang out, and they could also hold social events and gatherings in the evenings. It's a beautiful space, and we're really excited it will have our name on it." In January, espresso-machine manufacturer La Marzocco pledged $750,000—the largest donation to the center to date—to name the Coffee Center's brewing and espresso laboratory through their sup- port. "Espresso in specifi c is a very complicated process," says Scott Callender, vice president of marketing and consumer strategy for La Marzocco USA. "Learning more specifi cally about the interplay of temperature, pressure, grind size, coffee density, water quality, and more is incredibly exciting." Scott adds that it's too early at this point to know exactly how the lab will be set up. "We will work with UC Davis to defi ne the equipment list once the building is closer to completion. The type of research that will be performed in the center will help us decide the best set of equipment for them," he says. Professor Ristenpart says UC Davis is continuing to accept pledges for the Coffee Center—and there are still naming opportuni- ties available—but the institution is confi dent it will receive enough funds to complete the renovation. He says once the funds are raised construction will start in 2019, but at this time there is no estimated date for its completion. Still, the UC Davis coffee program continues to operate in differ- ent facilities across campus, including a temporary lab for brewing research. UC Davis has been releasing initial fi ndings from this research, including a study presented at January's Sensory Summit (see page 24 for more on that event) that tested fl at-bottom and conical brew baskets to see if the shape affected coffee's extraction rate. The study found that extraction was higher but less even on the conical brew basket—a fi nding that Professor Ristenpart says was different from what he anticipated. For he and many others in the industry, testing long-held theo- ries—and potentially debunking them—is one of the most exciting prospects of the UC Davis Coffee Center. Joe Marrocco, a mem- ber of the Roasters Guild Executive Council and organizer of the Sensory Summit, says that while important research is being done on the producing side of coffee—led by World Coffee Research—he's excited to see research on the consuming side that the Coffee Center can help lead. "There's so much potential for specifi c research to be done on things like the physics behind proper extraction, which water is best, or what chemical reactions are taking place during the roasting process," Joe says. "We still have a lot to learn, and UC Davis is providing a space for this to be done." With the industry's support, the UC Davis Coffee Center is poised to serve as a breeding ground of crucial information that will make our industry stronger and smarter going forward. "Coffee is so com- plicated, and compared to many other products, it's very unexplored territory," says Professor Ristenpart. "That's the place a scientist likes to be. There's a huge need in the coffee industry for academic research and education, and we're really excited to make UC Davis the global destination for it." —Chris Ryan UC Davis undergraduate students explore engineering principles through roasting and brewing coff ee in the chemical engineering course, "The Design of Coff ee," which has been voted the most popular elective on campus. PHOTO BY REETA ASMAI/UC DAVIS 23 www.baristamagazine.com

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