Peet’s Donates $250K to UC Davis Coffee Program

Peet’s Coffee’s quarter-million-dollar pledge to advance coffee research and education at UC Davis


San Francisco Bay Area-based Peet’s Coffee announced today it will donate $250,000 to the University of California at Davis’s coffee program to fund the Peet’s Coffee Pilot Roastery. UC Davis’s elective class, “Design of Coffee,” has garnered national attention as the first of its kind at the famous agriculture university, and is known on campus as the most popular class for undergrads.

œWe are extremely grateful to Peet’s Coffee for the company’s vision in supporting the Pilot Roastery,  said Bill Ristenpart, professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis, who will direct the Coffee Center and Peet’s Coffee Pilot Roastery, sharing duties with two colleagues: Tonya Kuhl, professor of chemical engineering, and Jean-Xavier Guinard, professor and sensory scientist in the department of food science and technology. œUC Davis already has tremendous expertise in a variety of disciplines that pertain to coffee, and now the Peet’s Coffee Pilot Roastery will provide a physical infrastructure to help focus that expertise on cutting-edge coffee science and education. 

The Peet’s Pilot Roastery will be located in a first-of-its-kind Coffee Center to be built on the UC Davis campus. The center, which aims to lead the nation in coffee science education, will focus on post-harvest coffee research and engineering.

UC Davis's undergraduate elective, "Design of Coffee," was voted the most popular class on campus in 2015. With the Peet's UC Davis p;lans to establish itself as the globe leader in coffee research and education.
UC Davis’s undergraduate elective, “Design of Coffee,” was voted the most popular class on campus in 2015. The $250,000 gift from Peet’s Coffee will fund a Pilot Roastery in UC Davis’s first-of-0its-kind Coffee Center, which will be developed to be the global leader in coffee research and education.

œWith this gift, we are firmly following in Alfred Peet’s footsteps and maintaining his belief in mentorship,  said Doug Welsh, vice president for coffee, Peet’s Coffee, in a statement issued today by UC Davis. œBy joining forces with UC Davis on the innovative Coffee Center and Peet’s Coffee Pilot Roastery, 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. 

This gift will allow UC Davis’s now famous coffee curriculum to expand as demand has dictated. UC Davis’s  undergraduate class, “Design of Coffee,” now offered every quarter, enrolled more than 1,500 students during the 2015 “16 academic school year, and was voted the best course on campus in 2015. The class has the highest enrollment of any elective course offered at UC Davis.


œThe 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 College of Engineering, in the statement. œWe are proud that Peet’s Coffee is one of our founding partners in this bold initiative. 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. 


As the Coffee Center will be the first multidisciplinary university research center in the nation and the world devoted to post-harvest studies of coffee, UC Davis expects to host large numbers of both undergraduate and graduate students eager learn more about the art and science of coffee. The Coffee Center will also collaborate closely with the Specialty Coffee Association of America to support graduate research fellowships and to offer technical short courses aimed at people in the coffee industry.

In addition to offering opportunities for privately funded company research, public research released by the UC Davis Coffee Center will range from the microbiology of green coffee fermentation, to the chemistry of roasting and brewing, to sensory and consumer science. The center is the first step in establishing a Global Coffee Institute at UC Davis.

œThis is an invitation to the entire coffee industry,  said Doug Welsh. œIt is about opening the door, but also about setting the bar for all of us to learn more together and advance the industry. Given how fundamental it is to our lives, we should invest in an understanding of coffee as profound as our enjoyment. 


The founding gift from Peet’s Coffee will enable UC Davis to help renovate a 6,000-square-foot building for the new Coffee Center.  The one-story Center will be located 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 Institute will include the Peet’s Coffee Pilot Roastery, an experimental green-coffee storage facility, a sensory analysis laboratory, advanced analytical labs, as well as meeting and office space.

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