Juliet Han

By Ed Murrieta 

DAVIS — At the University of California campus where coffee beats sex and beer as the most popular undergraduate elective, last month’s news that Blue Bottle Coffee, the third-wave specialty roaster that’s owned by world’s largest food and beverage company, has moved all of its West Coast production from Oakland to a state-of-the-art facility 12 miles down the road from this agricultural college was preceded by another Yolo County coffee coup:

UC Davis’ Coffee Center has hired Juliet Han, Blue Bottle’s former head roaster, to manage the undergraduate coffee laboratory, where she’s already roasted the center’s first batches of beans that will be used in first-of-their-kind research projects the university hopes will do for coffee what UC Davis’ industry-supported viticulture and brewing programs do for wine and beer.

My story will report on UC Davis’ Coffee Center —  founded in 2016 with a quarter-million-dollar grant from Peet’s Coffee to study post-harvest aspects of coffee production, from on-the-farm processing to roasting to brewing to sensory analysis — and profile Juliet Han, the center’s first hire who oversees its flagship chemical engineering course, The Design of Coffee, a hands-on elective which attracts more students than Human Sexuality or Introduction to Brewing and Beer.