The Design of Coffee: An Engineering Approach by W.D. Ristenpart and T.L. Kuhl (2015).
Learn the principles and practice of brewing a truly excellent cup of coffee, while earning course credit and also getting an introduction to chemical engineering: UCD undergraduates can do all this by enrolling in ECM 1 “The Design of Coffee”!
The Design of Coffee (ECM 1) provides a non-mathematical introduction to chemical engineering, as illustrated by the roasting and brewing of coffee. Hands-on coffee experiments demonstrate key engineering principles, including material balances, chemical kinetics, mass transfer, fluid mechanics, conservation of energy, and colloidal phenomena. The experiments lead to an engineering design competition where contestants strive to make the best tasting coffee using the least amount of energy – a classic engineering optimization problem, but one that is both fun and tasty!
We first taught ECM 1 as a freshmen seminar in spring of 2013 to 18 students. The Design of Coffee is now the most popular non-required elective course on campus: we taught over 1,500 students during the 2015-2016 academic year. (For comparison, U.C. Davis enrolls about 6000 freshmen every year.) In spring 2016 the students voted The Design of Coffee as the best general education class on campus.
Each week begins with a 50 minute instructor-led discussion about a different chemical engineering principle, with a focus on how that principle is manifested in the production of coffee. We then go into the laboratory to perform experiments to test those engineering principles – and of course to taste the resulting coffee! The core component of this class is in fact the weekly 2-hour lab session, where you will do experiments involving coffee. (Note you can still take the class if your choice is decaf or if you don’t drink any sort of coffee).
What others are saying about ECM 1
Good Day Sacramento: Major in Coffee (video part 1) (February 5, 2015)
and Studying the World of Java (video part 2)