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SCA Enlists University of Oregon Team for Espresso Extraction Research

espresso research SCA Simonelli

Image courtesy of the Specialty Coffee Association.

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has announced it has enlisted researchers at the University of Oregon in Eugene to lead a four-year project on espresso extraction.

With financial support from Italy-based espresso equipment company the Simonelli Group, the research project was announced last October as an initiative of the SCA and the aligned Coffee Science Foundation (CSF).

The groups say the research, under the name “Towards a Deeper Understanding of Espresso Extraction,” will be used to develop formal guidelines for extraction parameters while creating the first espresso brewing control chart. The SCA already maintains a brewing control chart for filter coffee, although that, too, is in the process of being revised through scientific research.

Leading the University of Oregon team in the espresso research will be chemist Christopher Hendon. That name may be familiar to coffee professionals given Hendon’s influential past work involving coffee and water, and improvements to ground coffee particle size consistency through chilling. Hendon was recently part of a team of researchers challenging traditional guidelines in espresso extraction.

espresso extraction

Image courtesy of the Specialty Coffee Association.

Also leading the research will be Oregon State University professors Michael C. Qian and Elizabeth Tomasino. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth (UK) will also be participating, according an SCA announcement of the funded research. The research proposal can be found in its entirety here.

The SCA said the research team will comprise sensory scientists, chemists and mathematicians who will investigate how espresso brewing parameters effect chemical, sensory and hedonic properties.

The SCA expects an outcome of the work to be “a suite of new tools that promise to transform the way espresso is measured, including creating an apparatus for rapidly assessing coffee chemistry and flavor.”