Skip to main content

Coffee Science Foundation and Ohio State Team Up for Sweet Science

Sweetness in coffee

The nonprofit Coffee Science Foundation (CSF) is partnering with Ohio State University (OSU) on a research project exploring sweetness in coffee.

One of the five basic tastes — along with salty, sour, bitter and umami — sweetness is a naturally occurring taste in coffee that is widely considered to be desirable.

Noting that naturally occurring sweetness in coffee may also provide an opportunity among producers, roasters and other supply stream actors in specialty coffee to capture more value, the Coffee Science Foundation is engaging with OSU’s Flavor Research and Education Center (FREC) for some sweet science.

“The CSF exists to leverage science and industry knowledge to help make coffee better and we hope that this sweetness research will help plant breeders, cuppers, roasters, and farmers produce higher quality, and therefore higher value, coffees,” CSF Executive Director Peter Giuliano said in an announcement of the research partnership late last month.

Research is already underway and the groups hope to produce results within this calendar year, according to the CSF announcement.


Launched in 2019 as a companion nonprofit to the Specialty Coffee Association, the Coffee Science Foundation has since engaged with a number of academic institutions for coffee-related research, while also turning to the coffee industry for funding support.

The group has partnered with packaging and design company Savor Brands for a research project on consumer perceptions. It is also currently involved in an espresso extraction research project led by researchers at Oregon State University with funding from espresso machine maker Nuova Simonelli.

Last November, the group put forth a groundbreaking study on cold brew flavor research led by a team at the UC Davis Coffee Center, following funding from cold brew systems maker Toddy.

The CSF’s first wave of research output came through a through a two-year research partnership with UC Davis following funding from coffee equipment company Breville.

Does your coffee business have news to share? Let DCN’s editors know here