UC Davis' 'The Design of Coffee' is an introductory chemical engineering course that puts the rigors of academia to an unusual subject. The semester-long course, which counts as a full credit for UC Davis undergrads, delves into key chemical engineering principles through the lens of coffee.
The Design of Coffee lets students experiment with coffee to learn about things like material balances, chemical kinetics, mass transfer, fluid mechanics, conservation of energy, and colloidal phenomena. The final project is a competition in which students work to create the tastiest java with the least amount of energy.
Scientists know surprisingly little about coffee, especially considering that it is among the most popular beverages in the world. For instance, no one is even sure whether coffee beans are fermented before being roasted. On top of The Design of Coffee, UC Davis is set to open a coffee lab to study these technical aspects of coffee production.