For more than a century, UC Davis has been studying beverages — from milk to wine and beer, and most recently tea and coffee. Students and faculty have improved production and processing, and examined nutritional benefits — enabling better living through liquids.
The UC Davis brewing science program is the oldest and most highly acclaimed in the United States and provides undergraduate and master’s-degree education and training in malting and brewing. Research focuses on challenges in the brewing industry, ranging from flavor and foam stability to beer chemistry and nutritional content. Students have gone on to positions in the brewing industry around the nation.
The UC Davis Dairy Teaching and Research Facility on the main campus continues to be used for teaching, research and outreach. And since the university’s founding, UC Davis scientists have been making discoveries about how the milk of cows and goats is produced and the important similarities between those milks and human breast milk. The Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare also provides expanded dairy production medicine experience.
UC Davis is taking a team approach to examining this age-old beverage through the new Global Tea Initiative for the Study of Tea Culture and Science. The initiative is exploring the ways in which tea influences everything from ceramics to gender roles and health practices around the world. Future plans include teahouses in the UC Davis Arboretum, Chinese- and Japanese-style gardens, endowed professorships, and courses and workshops.
Coffee is a fairly recent addition to UC Davis’ beverage portfolio. A popular undergraduate class, “The Design of Coffee,” teaches the basics of chemical engineering through the study of coffee. Now, plans are in the works to establish the first-of-its-kind UC Davis Coffee Center devoted to post-harvest coffee research. A $250,000 gift from Peet’s Coffee supports a pilot roastery, complete with an experimental green-coffee storage facility, a sensory analysis laboratory and more.
Today, UC Davis is the premier university wine science program in the United States, with graduates making, selling and teaching wine all over the globe. The campus winery has the first wireless fermentation system in the world because of a private gift, and work is underway to provide sustainable solutions for the challenges facing California’s epic wine industry. In September, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation enabling UC Davis to sell its wine.