Business & Real Estate

Peet’s pledges $250,000 for roastery in planned UC Davis Coffee Center

Brandon Lew takes in the aroma of the coffee he brewed for an experiment in his Design of Coffee class at UC Davis on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014.
Brandon Lew takes in the aroma of the coffee he brewed for an experiment in his Design of Coffee class at UC Davis on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Special to the Bee

Peet’s Coffee & Tea on Wednesday announced a $250,000 pledge to UC Davis to fund the Peet’s Coffee Pilot Roastery in a new Coffee Center on the college campus.

Officials at the Emeryville company said the Coffee Center and roastery will be the site of post-harvest coffee research and engineering, with an overall goal of making UCD a leader in coffee science.

The center, officials said, is the first step in establishing a Global Coffee Institute at UC Davis.

“By joining forces with UC Davis…Peet’s and other partners will foster the next generation of coffee experts, encouraging unique research paths and roasting approaches that will have market-ready application and industry-wide influence,” Doug Welsh, Peet’s vice president for coffee, said in a statement.

“The Coffee Center will generate unparalleled teaching, research and collaborative opportunities for our students, scientists and engineers, as well as for industry partners and visitors from around the world,” said Jennifer Sinclair Curtis, dean of the UCD College of Engineering. “We fully expect the center will do for coffee what the renowned UC Davis wine and brewing programs have accomplished on behalf of those industries.”

Bill Ristenpart, professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis, will direct the Coffee Center and roastery.

The founding gift from Peet’s Coffee will enable UC Davis to renovate a 6,000-square-foot building for the new Coffee Center. The one-story center will be on the north side of the UC Davis Arboretum, in close proximity to the campus winery, pilot brewery and food-processing facilities at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

When fully equipped, the center will include the roastery, an experimental green-coffee storage facility, a sensory analysis laboratory, advanced analytical labs and meeting/office space.

Officials said the Coffee Center also will collaborate with the Santa Ana-based Specialty Coffee Association of America to support graduate research fellowships and to offer technical short courses aimed at people in the coffee industry.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea was founded in 1966 in Berkeley.

Longtime Mockingbird Cafe barista Laura Hurt demonstrates how to make latte art, which is a manipulation of the steamed milk to create pictures on the top of a latte.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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