La Marzocco Pledges $750,000 to UC Davis Coffee Center

La Marzocco’s $750,000 donation will represent the largest gift to the UC Davis Coffee Center, the first research center in the world devoted to coffee science and education.


Photo courtesy of UC Davis

Today, La Marzocco announced that it will be donating $750,000 to the UC Davis Coffee Center, the first university research center devoted to solving the problems of coffee through science and education. Coffee companies including Peet’s and Wilbur Curtis have also donated to the research facility, and this gift of $750,000 will represent the largest donation to the center to date.

The partnership between UC Davis and La Marzocco, one of the biggest espresso machine companies in the world, represents a dedication to innovative research on the part of the coffee industry. “The science underlying the creation of high-quality espressos is notoriously complicated because of the interplay between fluid flow and extraction under high pressure and high-temperature conditions,” says William Ristenpart, professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis and director of the Coffee Center. “La Marzocco has decades of experience in espresso, so we are very excited to work with them to both advance the state of espresso science and to develop curricula focused on teaching the next generation of coffee science professionals.” The donation will be used “to investigate a host of post-harvest research topics under carefully controlled and measured conditions to facilitate discoveries and innovations similar to those that have advanced the wine and beer industries,” a press release states.

The UC Davis Coffee Center was born out of a popular elective course, The Design of Coffee, taught by William and Professor Tonya Kuhl in 2013. Around the same time, the university brought together faculty interested in coffee and launched a “Coffee Initiative.” Since then, the Coffee Center has expanded to two undergraduate courses, a summer extension course, and a dedicated 6,000-square-foot facility that includes a pilot roastery, a green bean storage laboratory, a sensory and cupping laboratory, an advanced chemical analysis laboratory, a classroom, and an outdoor event space. With this donation, the center’s main laboratory will bear La Marzocco’s name, and La Marzocco will donate a fleet of espresso machines for the laboratory.

“The forward motion of the coffee industry has always been the core of our mission at La Marzocco,” shares Kent Bakke, international CEO for La Marzocco. “We believe the Coffee Center at UC Davis represents a renewed focus on understanding the science behind coffee that will lead us to better practices for growers, importers, roasters, and cafés. Our international team is expanding our research and educational initiatives, and we hope UC Davis can be a partner in this effort.” With climate change threatening the future of coffee growing, La Marzocco recognizes the need for innovative and cutting-edge research and centers dedicated to finding and promoting sustainable practices.

To learn more about the UC Davis Coffee Center, visit its website.

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