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New investment boosts California coffee research hub

La Marzocco becomes latest firm to invest in 1,800sq m coffee research facility at the University of California
The UC Davis Coffee Centre received a major boost this month after espresso machine manufacturer, La Marzocco, pledged to donate $750,000 to the project. The contribution will reportedly fund the creation of a ‘Brewing and Espresso Laboratory’ and follows $250,000 pledges by speciality roaster, Peet’s Coffee, and equipment manufacturer, Curtis, in 2017.

The research hub will be the first post-harvest coffee research facility in the US dedicated to the exploration of applied science and coffee research. Its development comes as California’s handful of coffee growers seek to step up production and create a home-grown speciality industry.

The University of California described the project the “first multidisciplinary university research center to address the challenges and needs of the coffee industry through a holistic approach to coffee science and education."

Announcing the funding pledge, La Marzocco’s international CEO, Kent Bakke, said that promoting progress in the coffee industry was at the “core” of the company’s mission.

“We believe the Coffee Center at UC Davis represents a renewed focus on understanding the science behind coffee that will lead us to better practices for growers, importers, roasters and cafes,” he added.

Professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis and Coffee Center director, William Ristenpart, said that the facility would aid the “science underlying the creation of high-quality espressos.

“We are very excited… to both advance the state of espresso science and to develop curricula focused on teaching the next generation of coffee science professionals,” he said.

Researchers at the University of California recently announced that they had produced the first public genome sequence for coffea arabica, the species responsible for more than 70 percent of global coffee production. It is hoped that the research will aid the development of disease-resistant and climate change-adaptable strains.
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