University of California Davis Coffee Center opens with La Marzocco support

Italian espresso machines manufacturer La Marzocco has supported the opening of the University of California Davis Coffee Center, the first academic research and teaching facility in the United States entirely dedicated to studying coffee.

“We’re proud to help the UC Davis Coffee Center bring their excellent focus on agriculture and engineering to espresso,” says Guido Bernardinelli, CEO of La Marzocco.  

La Marzocco partner Kent Bakke adds that he truly appreciates the important component of the Coffee Center being the precious human element at every point in the chain from seed to cup. 

Tim O’Connor with La Marzocco partner Kent Bakke (right) at the opening event. Image: La Marzocco.

“We are inspired by the UC Davis Coffee center, its purpose, the creative students and its faculty. A mutual collaboration with coffee that we believe will be a benefit to all of us within the coffee sector,” says Kent. “We are honoured to be a part of this adventure as the Coffee Center has always taken espresso coffee seriously from an engineering and sensory standpoint.”

The 7000-square-foot facility is a cross-departmental research building dedicated to coffee agriculture, green coffee storage, brewing laboratories – of which La Marzocco has specially assisted with – sensory laboratories, chemical and analytical laboratories, and even a roastery. 

The coffee center’s roots date back to 2013 when William Ristenpart and Tonya Kuhl first offered the course “The Design of Coffee,” which taught students chemical engineering through the lens of coffee science. 

La Marzocco has supported the opening of UC Davis Coffee Center’s dedicated espresso laboratory. Image: La Marzocco.

In 2015, with support from La Marzocco, among other sponsors, the class offerings were expanded to include sensory science, agricultural studies, and the first version of the brewing lab. Now with a permanent home, the Coffee Center has a broad-scope approach to bringing academic research to coffee studies.  

“The UC Davis Coffee Center opens a massive door for bringing the credibility of academia to coffee,” says Tim O’Connor, a La Marzocco partner who assisted with the early days of the Coffee Center’s founding. “I learned about espresso from the ground up. I was lucky enough to meet some of the masters of espresso at the time, but now the Coffee Center broadens access to institutional coffee knowledge to a much wider audience.”  

Supporting the UC Davis Coffee Center is an extension of La Marzocco’s commitment to coffee education, mirroring the company’s own Accademia del Caffè Espresso facility in Pian di San Bartolo, Italy, which also features sensory and brewing labs to support coffee education growth.

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