This is the golden era of coffee research. Whether it be developing newer, more resilient varieties, experimental processing methods, effects on human health, or even novel uses for spent coffee grounds, the science of coffee has become prodigious and multi-disciplinary. And with the official opening of the Coffee Center at the University of California, Davis campus, the academic study of coffee has a new home in the US.

Opened Friday, May 3rd, the Coffee Center is the “first academic research and teaching facility in the U.S. entirely dedicated to the study of coffee,” according to the announcement by UC Davis. Part of the university’s College of Engineering, the 7,000-square-foot facility features dedicated locations for pre- and post-harvest coffee sciences, green storage, brewing, sensory, and cupping laboratories, a chemical and analytical lab, and a pilot roastery.

coffee center grand opening

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The Coffee Center has been over a decade in the works. It began in 2013 with a single undergraduate elective course, “The Design of Coffee,” offered by chemical engineering professors William Ristenpart and Tonya Kuhl, who are now co-directors of the Center. Two years later, the Coffee Lab was established, with donations coming from coffee companies like La Marzocco, Curtis, and Peet’s over the coming years. Then in 2021, the Coffee Center secured a location and began construction the following year.

Today, the Center is home to over 50 UC Davis experts comprising a broad range of fields of study. Per the press release, the Center will leverage “a multidisciplinary, holistic approach to coffee science and education to address the needs of the coffee industry. Through the center, students in engineering, food science, agricultural economics and several other disciplines receive valuable training to become future leaders in the coffee industry.”

coffee center grand opening

To celebrate, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on May 3rd that was attended by over 200 individuals, with student research displays and roasting and espresso brewing demonstrations occurring at the event.

“Think of this center as a hub of all things coffee,” Chancellor Gary S. May stated at the ribbon cutting. “Together, we bring rigorous coffee science and cutting-edge technology to the world stage.”

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Photos provided by the Coffee Center at UC Davis