Dude, You Might Be Able to Get a Degree in Coffee

Get your snide remarks ready because UC Davis is mulling over a new major focusing on … coffee. Yes, coffee, the stuff that drives humans to doom and mania if they don’t get their fix first thing in the morning or that crucial hour in the afternoon. As alma maters go, I’m glad mine is front and center on this, anything to get away from that whole pepper spray thing, amirite?

"There aren't a lot of things that so many people consume several times a day, every day," says J. Bruce German, who directs of the Foods for Health Institute at Davis. … There's a lot we still don't fully understand about coffee, German says. What's the best way to treat the beans while they're still green? What's the most environmentally friendly way to roast them? And why are we so obsessed with how it smells?

All good questions, so German and two professors in the chemical engineering department put together a non-mathematical chemistry seminar called “Design of Coffee,” writes NPR. The class taught the basics of how chemical engineering creates the perfect cup of crack, er, coffee and what began as a one-off seminar became the toast of campus when the following quarter 300 students clamored to take the course.

Now, UCD has opened a really official sounding Coffee Center to investigate the science behind that magic bean and it even held its first research conference this week. I hear "the chemical and physical properties of milk" was a hot topic.

Still there’s no official coffee degree yet, but if a heavy-hitting beverage company provides the funding — Hellooooooooo Starbucks! — this new fangled curriculum could become a real option. And if a student can major in wine or beer production, why not coffee? One question though, is there a course on pizza making, because I'm pretty sure Woodstock's would sponsor that.

Image via UCD.