SCAA’s New Chemist Cooks Up A Quiz

Peruse yonder to the SCAA Chronicle, where Emma Bladyka, their resident Coffee Science Manager, has some surprising results from a recent Chemistry Questionnaire.

The idea behind this questionnaire about chemistry and coffee was to assess the level of understanding and interest within the SCAA community. In the future, we have the opportunity to incorporate more or less chemistry into our class and certification materials, depending on what we hear from our members. This questionnaire allowed us to understand the average introductory level of content we should incorporate as well as your opinions as to if or where it would be helpful for your business.

In total, 434 people at least looked at this questionnaire. Nine of these never answered any questions, and about half of them didn’t answer any questions past the demographic info. For those questions actually dealing with our opinion on chemistry and how it may or may not help our understand coffee in the future, an average of 158 people answered, about 36%. Of these, about 72% were baristas and 30% were roasters, 30% of which were also trainers and cuppers.

Most of those who answered the questions about basic chemistry (around 150) remembered:

That a pH below 7 was acidic (72% answered correctly)

Covalent bonds are considered strong (82% correct)

How to draw molecules (53% knew that there were 6 carbons in the benzene ring)

The water molecule (89% correct)

Generally, what a volatile molecule was (62% correct)

That water goes from a liquid to gas phase when boiled (83% correct)

An isomer is a different structural configuration of the same molecule (25% correct)

A carbohydrate is made up primarily of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms (21% correct).

Many more (34%) knew that carbohydrates were generally known as sugars.

Finally, perhaps because we are biased, 67% recognized the caffeine molecule.

We hear that Bladkya is finishing up a hard-hitting review of current studies on coffee staling, and we are edging with anticipation. Keep up the excellent work, Emma!

 

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