University in China Brews Up a Caffeine Hit With Country’s First Coffee Science Major

China’s first university major in coffee is now accepting students, following its approval by the Ministry of Education in March. Yunnan Agricultural University’s College of Tropical Crops is offering a four-year undergraduate degree in coffee science and engineering, with students set to earn a degree in engineering. The major will cover subjects such as coffee flavor chemistry, processing, quality and safety testing, factory design and environmental protection, world coffee trade, engineering principles, and nutrition and health.

China is the 13th largest coffee producer in the world, accounting for only 1.1% of global production, or around 1.8 million 60kg bags of coffee a year. Around 98% of that coffee is grown in Yunnan province, which has become China’s main coffee-growing base due to its climate resembling Ethiopia, known as the birthplace of the bean. In 2022, Yunnan had 84,600 hectares under cultivation for coffee, and its annual output of 114,000 tonnes of raw coffee beans was valued at 41.8 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion).

Yang Xuehu, dean of the College of Tropical Crops, said that the biggest drawback for farmers hoping to expand production was a lack of talent and technology. Only through professional intervention of education in colleges and universities and the continuous strengthening of the quality training of new coffee farmers can their planting, management, harvesting, processing, and other aspects improve.

Students will learn techniques like how decaffeinated coffee is made as part of the degree. China is not the only country offering specialized coffee-related higher education. In Switzerland, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences offers a certificate of advanced studies in coffee excellence, while in the United States, the University of California, Davis opened the country’s first coffee research center in May.

Read More @ SCMP

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