In the quiet agricultural counties of California’s Central Coast – within a short drive of Los Angeles County’s sprawl – producers are cultivating coffee beans. Working with University of California researchers – including Juan Medrano from Davis and a team from UC’s Cooperative Extension – farmers are learning more about coffee production. And researchers hope to learn more about the genetic make up (including disease resistance) of coffee beans. You can learn more about the University of California’s research efforts by visiting the UC Davis Coffee Center here.

NPR reports:

“Medrano is part of a new coffee center at UC Davis that is bringing together people who study food science, genetics, marketing and the social aspects of coffee. Despite coffee’s status as the second most widely traded commodity in the world, there hasn’t been much scientific research devoted to it anywhere.

“Hundreds of millions of peoples’ livelihoods depend on coffee,” Medrano explains. Additionally, the coffee crop is confronting some serious threats — mainly climate change, disease and quality.”

You can read the NPR piece by clicking on this link. The piece is part of California Foodways, a hyper-local series exploring the intersection of food, history, culture and economy. The California Foodways project is funded in part by Cal Humanities.