So, what’s your major? Coffee

That headline may one day become true. No foolin’.

Last week, the extremely good folks at UC Davis — the ones who already have studied the benefits of wine and beer — announced they plan to turn their research eye to humanity’s greatest beverage of all: coffee.

The Sacramento Bee gave this a nice, lengthy story. From the piece:

On March 11, a roster of eight UC Davis scientists will come together for a research conference run by the school’s recently founded Coffee Center. At the conference, the scientists and coffee industry stakeholders will gather to plumb such diverse topics as the genetics of coffee and the sensory perception of coffee drinkers.

It’s the first step in an effort that some on campus see as leading to a dedicated coffee research study center akin to the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, said J. Bruce German, director of the Foods for Health Institute at UC Davis. He also suggested the school could eventually offer a major in coffee science.


Coffee is certainly a powerhouse commodity. It is the largest food import in the U.S., and the world’s most widely traded tropical agricultural commodity, according to the International Coffee Association. Worldwide coffee production is growing along with coffee consumption. In 2012-13, production is expected to hit a record 148 million bags.

Right now, the new UC Davis Coffee Center is being run on an ad hoc basis, without a dedicated home, and funded by the Foods for Health Institute. German said that the funding model will evolve once the coffee industry begins to partner with the university. After early-stage research is funded, German said, he expects the school to develop a coffee science major.

“What we’re looking to do is start a relationship with coffee and move knowledge of all aspects of coffee forward,” German said. “That knowledge will be driven by scientists and industry, and will explore issues of high priority.”

Davis isn’t the first one to the cafe: Texas A&M and Vanderbilt University both have coffee research facilities.

As you probably are suspecting, the coffee industry is behind this; those of you who know your wine-in-America history probably are having a case of the deja vus. Yes, this rings similar to what Robert Mondavi did (at UC Davis especially) in pushing research into the health benefits of vino.

More info on the coffee center can be found right here.

And we studied English and things like that in school. Sheesh.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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