Crashing the Classroom: Coffee From the Ground Up

April 11, 2024

Using food and agriculture as a basis, AGRO 1921 explores aspects of coffee production.

From supply chain to roasting to consumption, Prof. Rex Bernardo's course AGRO 1921: Coffee From the Ground Up, takes a closer look at the coffee production process.

This freshman seminar is all about coffee: its history, geography, biology, breeding, production, processing, economics, sustainability, and brewing. Through team exercises, students will discover how measurable qualities of a cup of coffee are influenced by factors such as species, type of roast, grind size, brew ratio, temperature, and brewing method. The class culminates with a team competition judged by a panel. Students develop skills in oral and written expression, working with others, and solving problems in a manner that combines science and art. Overall, the course helps students discover and appreciate how something that seems so simple is the product of a creative and complex process.

"To use coffee as a vehicle to introduce students to a little bit of agriculture—I think it opens their eyes and makes them appreciate more where the food that they eat every day comes from," said Bernardo.

AGRO 1921 is offered each fall as a freshman seminar, open to all majors.