By Noah Pflueger-Peters
The UC Davis Coffee Center is pleased to announce the hire of its first full-time staff member, Juliet Han. As Probat Roasting Fellow, Han will serve as head roaster for the UC Davis Coffee Center and manage the undergraduate coffee laboratory. Her first day will be August 19.
Han brings with her 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, including five years as the head roaster at specialty coffee roaster Blue Bottle Coffee. She has over 7 years of roasting experience and is a certified Q Instructor by the Coffee Quality Institute.
“I’m stoked to have an opportunity to work among a ton of super smart people,” she said. “I hope to enable my experience to make it relevant and whatever the department needs.”
Han will serve as a representative of the Coffee Center both within and outside the UC Davis community, performing outreach, instructing students and researchers on how to use roasting equipment and communicating with interested faculty, community members and coffee industry representatives.
She will also oversee “The Design of Coffee” (ECH 1), the center’s flagship course and one of campus’s most popular electives, along with managing all roasting for both research and education. She is excited to approach coffee from the academic side and to take on the challenge of teaching the role requires.
“I feel like this is the future,” she said. “UC Davis is really at the forefront of coffee research and I’m excited to contribute to the future of coffee, not just in technology, but also in sustainability.”
Han got into the coffee industry somewhat on accident. She thought about going to culinary school growing up, but ended studying music as a first-generation student at UC San Diego, looking to get into music policy. After college, she moved to Washington, DC for an internship and wound up taking a second job at a specialty coffee shop. From there, her career snowballed and she eventually became a roaster.
“I won’t call myself a chef, but there’s a lot of similarities in the nuances that you have to pay attention to,” she said. “It’s kind of funny that my life came full circle like that.”
The opportunity at the Coffee Center came full circle for Han as well.
“I’ve been pretty much following the UC Davis Coffee Center since it started,” she said, remembering emails she exchanged with director William Ristenpart back in 2016 looking for opportunities to contribute. When the position opened up, she applied and Ristenpart remembered her and her enthusiasm for the industry.
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “I don’t know what the future’s going to bring, but I really hope that the industry picks up on what we’re doing.”
The Probat Roasting Fellow position was made possible by the support of Probat, a leader in state-of-the-art coffee roasting equipment, who funded the position for three years and donated roasting equipment to the Coffee Center facility.